The Curtz Lake Environmental Study Area on the east side of the Sierra Nevada near Markleeville in California features three interpretative trails: Vegetative Trail, Soils Geology Trail and Aquatic Trail. Along these trails you'll find interpretative signs describing plants, geological features and ecological points of interests. The Bureau of Land Management has placed a wooden board next to Airport Road across Curtz Lake, describing area use and history:
This study area was developed by the Youth Conservation Corps and the Bureau of Land Management during the summer of 1972. The trails will be used extensively for outdoor education programs by schools in the region and are open to the public for self-guided tours.
The map on this board (right picture) is sketching out the configuration of the three trails: the black line is Airport Road, southwest of which is the Vegetative Trail loop. After hiking (and studying!) about three quarters of the loop, you'll get to the Soils Geology Trail connection. After crossing Airport Rd. the trail takes you to interesting rock formations to your left (seen in the back of above's picture), while Curtz Lake can be seen through the trees. Depending on the season, aquatic trail takes you through the wet or dry land along the shore of Curtz Lake, where, for example, an interpretative sign informs about the pacific tree frog, an amphibian observable in the study area.
Getting to Curtz Lake in the Indian Creek Recreation Area
The Curtz Lake Environmental Study Area is about an hour drive away from South Lake Tahoe. From Reno/Sparks via Carson City and Minden, it takes about twice as long to get there. On Highway 88 in Woodfords, turn south towards Markleeville. Just before getting to the entrance of Turtle Rock County Park, turn left at the sign for Airport Rd. Follow this road for a few miles until you see Curtz Lake to your left and the wooden board of the study area to your right, where you'll also find a small parking area and the trailhead of the Vegetative Trail.
Curtz Lake Environmental Study Area: www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/carson_city_field/blm_programs/recreation/indian_creek/curtz_lake_environmental.html.