Washoe Meadow State Park is a state park in the U.S. state of California, located 40 miles (64km) east of Lake Tahoe and 12miiles (19km) north of Genoa on State Route 50. The park’s main feature is meadow, which is used for grazing during part of the year.
It has many wildflowers and grasses that are grazed off or mowed into hay fields. During winter, up to 200 head of cattle are brought here from Nevada where there is no snow, to be joined by another 300 during summer months. This creates an open range with very few fences, allowing stock to run willy-nilly throughout the entire 2,400 acres (970ha). There are two entrances to this vast area, both located along State Route 50, one at Meyers Pass and the other about five miles farther east at the junction of Routes 50 and 70.
From each entrance, it is possible to drive onto the property and explore several different routes through the meadows as well as enter some of the numerous side trails leading away from the main roadways. These include North Point Trail, Cottonwood Trail, South Bay Trail, Willow Creek Trail, and Sunrise Trail. Because of its size, ease of access, and quality of scenery, this park was chosen by Robert Louis Stevenson’s father, Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne, to build his son’s home, “Silverado,” in 1879. Stevenson lived here between 1880 and 1884 when he wrote Kidnapped. He named the ranch “Washoe” after the tribe that inhabited most of the region before European settlement.