Webber Lake is the headwaters of the Little Truckee River, the largest single tributary of the Truckee River, and critical habitat for a number of threatened or endangered species. In October 2012, the Truckee Donner Land Trust acquired the 3,000 acre property from its owners, Clif and Barbara Johnson. Until TDLT’s acquisition, the property had been closed to the public for close to a hundred years. The property consists of Webber Lake and two large meadows, Lower Lacey Meadow and Upper Lacey Meadow, which are separated by about three-quarters of a mile of forest. Lacey Creek meanders through the entire property. David Webber’s hotel, build in 1860, still stands, the only original stagecoach hotel (out of about 30) remaining on what is now Henness Pass Road. Additional History.
The Lacey Valley Trail extends through both Lower and Upper Lacey Meadows. Both meadows and the forest connecting them are home to numerous wildflowers and birds, some of which are rare and endangered. It once was the main access route to Summit City, an old gold mining town that in the 1860s boasted a population of over 4,000.
What to Do There
The Lacey Valley Trail, a little over three miles long, offers an easy hike from the parking area through both meadows. For part of its route, it closely follows Lacey Creek. The meadows offer spectacular wildflowers in spring and summer and are host to over one hundred species of birds, including rare and endangered species. There are two picnic tables along the trail and there are fun opportunities to explore Lacey Creek.
The trail begins at the parking area and in about a half mile it enters Lower Lacey Valley and crosses Lacey Creek. There is no bridge, and for most of the summer, your feet will get wet if you wade across it! The Trail continues across the meadow for another third of a mile and enters the forest. In about three-quarters of a mile of gradual ascent, the Trail reaches Upper Lacey Valley. Directly across the lower end of the meadow from the trail is a low rock outcropping next to Lacey Creek, which is a beautiful spot for a snack or lunch. Following the creek through the forest between the two meadows instead of using the trail is particularly rewarding in terms of wildflowers and birds.
The trail continues along the edge of the Upper Valley for about three-quarters of a mile where it splits away from the meadow and enters the forest. In a little less than an additional mile, the trail comes to the upper gate and the boundary of the property. At this point the trail intersects Meadow Lake Road (Forest Service Route 86). The distance from the parking area to the upper property boundary along the Lacey Valley Trail is about 3.4 miles.
How to Get There
From Hwy 89, about 17 miles north of Truckee, follow Jackson Meadows Road west about 8 miles to the sign for Webber Lake. Turn left and proceed down a dirt road for about a quarter mile. At a closed gate, the road forks to the right and in about another quarter of a mile is a dirt road to the left and a sign pointing to the TDLT Lacey Meadows parking area. Follow this road for about 0.6 mile to the parking area, interpretive kiosks, and maps of the area.
Rules, Regulations, Good to Know
Lacey Meadows is open to the public from dawn to dusk. Camping, fires, and motorized vehicles are prohibited on the property. Dogs must be under voice command and not endanger wildlife. The area immediately surrounding Webber Lake is closed to the public until 2017.
Sheep graze in the meadows from late summer to early fall. Please check the TDLT website to determine if sheep might be in the meadows during your planned visit.
Other Land Trust Properties in the Area
Webber Lake / Lacey Meadows is one of five properties in the upper Little Truckee River watershed that has been conserved by the Truckee Donner Land Trust and its conservation partners. Click to view the Little Truckee River Watershed Map.