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The North Tahoe Demonstration Garden – Is it Worth a Visit?

The North Tahoe Demonstration Garden is a free-to-enter community garden, built with the purpose to educate on the local ecology and the gardening and conservation techniques to best care for the Tahoe environment. It’s a great spot to learn about the environment, and how to work with the natural ecology to create beautiful and sustainable gardens. 

entrance building to the north lake tahoe demonstration garden at the uc davis science center

Where Is The North Tahoe Demonstration Garden?

The North Tahoe Demonstration Garden is located in Incline Village, on the University of Nevada, Reno at Lake Tahoe campus. The university campus is just next door to the Incline Village Recreation Center and Park. The university campus sits between Tahoe Blvd and Incline Way to the North and South, and Country Club Dr to the east. 

The garden is on the SNC trail, which runs along the western side of the campus, down to Incline Way. You can access the garden by the trail from Incline Way or Tahoe Blvd, and turn west across the bridge that crosses Incline Creek. The parking lots at the campus are permit parking only, but there is parking available at the Incline Village Recreation Center

rock lined forest path leading into a community garden in tahoe nevadaWhat is the North Tahoe Demonstration Garden? 

The North Tahoe Demonstration Garden is a community garden and educational project about the local ecology, and methods of gardening that “promotes lake-friendly landscaping and conservation planning to help preserve our unique and fragile alpine environment”[2]. The garden houses informational plaques about the local natural environment, information on methods of environmentally responsible gardening, and examples of these methods being put to use. It is open to the public in hopes to educate the community about land stewardship and responsible gardening. 

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plaque about native and invasive plant species at the north tahoe demonstration garden in incline village nevada

The History of the North Tahoe Demonstration Garden

The garden was initially donated by the Sierra Nevada College and formally opened in 1994[1] with the purpose of educating the public on conservation and methods of gardening that are beneficial to the local ecosystem. Since 2019[1] the garden has been under the care of the UC Davis Environmental Research Center, the Sierra Nevada College, and the Incline Village General Improvement District, and it is preserved to continue its educational purpose. 

plants in a raised garden bed with a rock pattern design in the soil

What Will You Find at the Garden? 

Native Plant Species

Taking a stroll around the garden you’ll see tons of native plant species growing in garden boxes. These include flowers, ground cover plants, shrubs, and more. There is also a pollinator garden filled with pollinating plants to help the bee and other pollinator populations. On the east side of the garden is also a group of raised garden beds growing fruits and veggies! 

garden bed with trellace at the north tahoe demonstration garden in incline village nevada

Educational Information

There are informational plaques all around the garden with information about native plant species and gardening practices. On the north end of the garden is also a display of the best management practices. 

information plaque at the north tahoe demonstration garden in incline village nevada

Walking Trails

In the area, there are lots of beautiful forested walking trails. You can start on Lakeshore Blvd and make your way up the trails through the Incline Village Fitness Course. Then you can explore the trails near the Incline Village Recreation Center, or make your way east down Incline Way to the Stream Environment Nature Trail. Cross over the bridge to the SNC trail and then to the garden! 

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bridge across incline creek at the north tahoe demonstration garden at the uc davis science center in nevada

Picnic Area

At the center of the garden are several picnic tables. Bring a packed lunch and enjoy it in the garden, or simply stop and take a few moments to enjoy nature. 

snc trail through the forest in northern tahoe near the uc davis science center

Is It Worth the Visit?

If you are a total gardening nerd, or you live in the area and are looking to learn about the most sustainable gardening practices for your home, then I’d say it’s worth the visit. If you are a tourist visiting the area and are just looking for something fun to do outside, then I’d say it’s not quite worth the visit, especially if you’re coming from far away. It’s not a big botanical garden or touristy area. It is a humble community garden, with the purpose of education. If you’re expecting an intricate and well-kept botanical garden then you might be a bit disappointed. 

garden box filled with native plant species and flowers at the north tahoe demonstration garden in incline village nevada

With that being said, however, I do think it’s a great place to bring kids and educate them on environmental stewardship, gardening, and the ecology of the Tahoe area. There are plenty of informational plaques to read and learn tons of information about the Tahoe area. Kids might have more fun checking out the native plant species growing, and the homegrown fruits and vegetables planted in the garden boxes. 

garden boxes at the north tahoe demonstration garden in incline village nevada

FAQS About the North Tahoe Demonstration Garden

Is the garden free to enter?

Yes, the garden is completely free to enter. 

Is there parking at the garden?

The parking lots at the university are permit only, so there is no parking directly at the garden. However, there is public parking at the Incline Village Recreation Center just next door. 

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Article Sources:

  1. Tahoe UC Davis. “North Tahoe Demonstration Garden
  2. Tahoe UC Davis. “Tahoe City Demonstration Garden and North Tahoe Demonstration Garden