Welcome to Lake Tahoe…
Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America and is only just behind the Great Lakes in terms of volume! Situated in the Sierra Nevada Mountains at nearly 2000m above sea level on the California/Nevada border, the turquoise blue lake has 72 miles of gorgeous shoreline for you to explore. The lake is surrounded by snow topped mountain peaks, thick lush forests, and sprawling meadows. Various towns and bays lie along the lake shoreline, offering some spectacular cabin rentals in Lake Tahoe. The whole lake area has so many activities on offer it’s a good job you can drive to anywhere along the lake within two hours of wherever you are!
Lake Tahoe has been described by Mark Twain as “The fairest picture the whole earth affords”. Now, if Mark’s right (which he probably is), you don’t want to miss out on the best activities while you’re visiting a spectacular place such as Tahoe. There’s a lot for you to get your teeth into below, literally when it comes to the food 😉
Tahoe is renowned for its biking trails!
South Tahoe is a bike friendly community so there’s plenty of stores that will rent you bikes and it will be super easy to get around town. Out of town, there are some super trails that lead you through the spectacular scenery and trails are available for all abilities.
The Fume Trail is 22 miles and offers great views of the lake. It’s in the Wests top 10 biking trails so it must be good 😉
Powerlines Trail is easily accessible from South Lake Tahoe and is great for beginners, its 6.5 miles long and takes you through the forests close to town!
Up for a challenge? the loop around the lake is 72 miles of the beautiful scenery overlooking the lake, snow capped mountains and the forests will surround you.
The Bench is a section of the Loop trail that rides above the treeline! It’s easy to ride but every now and then will throw up a rocky section. 12.5 miles.
I last visited Tahoe in the winter and it was a little too chilly and snowy for biking through the forests. However, during summertime the paths are clear and the heat is on! You can easily work up a sweat if you work at it and a refreshing dip in the lake after will cap off a great day of bike riding.
I personally become so frustrated with golf, mini golf I can just about handle, but a real golf course?! I’ll leave hitting balls with spectacular views in the distance down to you!
There is great golfing in both South and North Lake Tahoe. On the north shore, you have Coyote Moon, which seems like it’s the only place in Tahoe when you’re there, it’s so isolated! Old Brockway Golf Course is flanked throughout by tall pines and has beautiful views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the lake!
On the South shore, you have Edgewood Golf Course which plays host to the celebrity golf championships. Bijou Municipal Golf Course is another little gem on the south shore with 9 holes spreading across the areas meadows.
Emerald Bay State Park
Mark Twain clearly loves Tahoe, in another description of the area, he said “To obtain the air Angels breath, you must go to Tahoe” no wonder a major town on the lake is called Heavenly! However, another heavenly place on the lake is Emerald Bay, and you have to visit it to complete your Lake Tahoe experience!
The bay is in Emerald bay State Park on the south-west shore of the lake and can be reached along SR89. The bay is like a little perfect circular body of water jutting out from the main lake and contains turquoise-green waters that are perfect for kayaking in. The entire perimeter is surrounded by woods and the water itself contains many shipwrecks! Vikingsholm Castle is a 38 room Scandinavian castle that straddles the bay and guided tours are available in the summer months!
Now it’s hard to decide what to do in Tahoe as there’s just so much, but when it come to islands it is nice and easy to decide which one to visit – there’s only 1! Fannette island can be found In Emerald Bay State Park! You’re are not allowed to swim to the island but can boat or kayak and you will find the small remains of a stone building on there. The island is picture perfect sitting in the middle of the bay.
Lake Tahoe is situated in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and rests at 1,897m above sea level, the area is covered in lush forests with stunning views across the lake. With a setting like this, of course, there are going to be some great hiking trails! I’ve included 5 great hikes for you to browse over ranging from the ultra short to one that is 165 miles long! All come with spectacular views as standard!
- Bayview trailhead This is a pretty difficult trail but the rewards make it work it! The Hike is 1-5 miles depending on where you start and is steep all the way! Only after a few minutes you will see Emerald Bay, and at the top, you have a stunning view of the area!
- Stateline Fire Lookout trail This hike is a lovely easy one that will offer spectacular views of North Lake Tahoe whilst standing on the Stateline! 1.5-mile loop trail.
- Skyline trail during the summer months you can take the gondola to the high elevations where this trail starts. It’s relatively easy, 2 miles round trip and provides stunning views of lake Tahoe and Carson valley!
- Mount Tallac is the most spectacular mountain that surrounds Lake Tahoe and offers great views of the lake at 9’700ft! Prety hard hike that is 10 miles
- Tahoe Rim Trail, this is the big one! 165 miles around the lake that offer great views throughout. Can complete it all or a small section of it!
This is quite possibly my favourite activity on this list. Food is absolute heaven, and after a day exploring Lake Tahoe, what’s better than tucking into some scrumptious food!?
- Base Camp Pizza honestly makes the best pizza I’ve ever eaten and it’s all down to their cheese! It’s a four cheese blend that was probably sent from the gods. It gets super busy though so you should book!
- Sprouts Cafe is all about natural food that is wholesome! They prepare the food fresh every day and only use organic ingredients!
- Driftwood Cafe is your perfect breakfast, brunch and lunch stop serving eggs, omelettes pancakes, potato dishes and great soups!
- California Burger serves the best burgers in all of Tahoe – my personal favourite is the blues burger which is covered in blue cheese – ask for sidewinder fries instead of the regular – they’re refillable!
The size of lake Tahoe offers a large array of water sports fro you to enjoy! You can take the leisurely option to kayak, row, canoe or paddleboard. Along the shore, you will see the different areas of wildlife along the lake, or you could take your craft out away from the shore to experience the feeling of total isolation and calmness. These types of craft are great as they are so quiet they let you creep up really close to any wildlife you see and will give you the true feeling of experiencing nature!
If you’re up for something a bit more fast-paced and exhilarating then you can either water ski, jet ski or parasail! Tours are available all across the lake, there are obviously parts of the lake designated for swimming or that are protected where you can not indulge in these high-octane activities. If you go through a tour operator they’ll inform you of these.
- Pope beach is located on the south shore and is the longest beach along all of Tahoe’s shore. The beach has beautiful beige soft sand and you’re allowed to bring alcoholic beverages – just no glasses!
- Kings Beach is on the North Shore and is 600ft of the beautiful beach made for sun worshipers. You can kayak and parasail along the waters next to the beach and there are restaurants close to the beach for a lunch break or a meal after you’ve finished at the beach!
- Kiva Beach is on the south shore and is a very long and thing beach backed up straight away by thick forests – there’s no gradual change it’s just a wall of beautiful trees! The beach is a beautiful beige colour and the sand smooth like silk.
- Sand Harbor is on the far northeast shore and possibly the most picturesque beach on the whole lake – the beach has great facilities to make your day at the beach hassle free such as toilets, showers, changing rooms, benches and BBQ’s! The Divers Cove is nearby which is just for scuba divers to explore!
- Commons Beach – is along the north-west shore and located near Tahoe City. The beach is not the best for swimming but hosts a tonne of free events all year round from music festivals to beach competitions!
- Cold Water Brewery and Grill is situated on the south shore serves handcrafted beers using all the grains possible and are brewed on site! the establishment serves IPA’s, Pale Ales, Stouts, and much more, all with the option to eat some Californian comfort food at the same time!
- Himmel Haus is a bavarian themed restaurant and bar that serves classic German and Belgian beer. They host a trivia night every Wednesday, serve classic german food and have live music. They are proudly ranked the 3rd best bar and watering hole in Tahoe!
- Gar Woods Grill and Pier Restaurant is situated within Carnelian Bay on the lake’s north shore. The establishment has stunning views over the lake that can be enjoyed through the floor to ceiling windows from the inside, or from the picturesque pier that extends from the restaurant out into the lake.
- Brooks Bar and Deck at Edgewood is nestled on the south lakeshore within the confines of Edgewood Golf Course. The building’s interior is stunning; with high wooden ceilings, stone columns throughout and a huge roaring fireplace to relax around. The interior is only rivalled by stone paved patio outside which has views over the golf course and lake!
- Mac Duffs Pub situated on the south shore comes with a slight English theme and is set in a cute cottage like building. There are plenty of beers on tap found here which can accompany the shepherd’s pie they serve!
- The Bar at Jimmy’s (pictured) is my personal favourite, and for very good reasons! The bar comes equipped with a wine cellar that contains over 2000 bottles of the adult grape juice, a lot of which you can see from the bar! My other favourite aspect of this bar is the staff they’ll talk to you all night long and will show you how there mum used to make certain drinks!
Lake Tahoe offers something for the thrill seekers out there or people looking to try something new! The Truckee River is situated just north of Incline Village on the North Shore and is the closest place to lake Tahoe where you can white water raft. The river runs from Pyramid lake in the north into Lake Tahoe itself! As you travel along its length, you will roar past the mountainous landscape that is covered in pine trees. You’ll probably be travelling too fast to notice them, but Beavers were reintroduced along the river and actively make dams in the area! 1/2 day trips are available through May- Sept and will cost around $70pp. The rapids are classes 2-3 which are perfect for beginner to intermediate levels.
Imagine standing on the Lake Tahoe shore, the vast lake expanding out in front you, the dense forests sprawling into the distance behind you, and the sun shimmering through the trees past you and onto the lake. Now imagine that whilst pulling on your fishing line to find out that you have caught a huge salmon from the beast that is Lake Tahoe – it’s more than possible! Lake Tahoe is home to many wild fish species such as Lake trout and Kokanee Salmon, ad there are many places you can fish. Here’s 5 of them.
- The Truckee River again provides another great activity for you to enjoy. Situated on the west shore of the lake and open from the 3rd Saturday in April it provides a large amount of Trout! The best spots are along highway 89 between Tahoe City and Truckee!
- Taylor Creek is in South Lake Tahoe and open from July 1st – Sept 30th. The visitor centre here holds the annual Kokanee Salmon festival which shows you this is the place ti be for the salmon run which happens just as the fishing season is closing at the end of September.
- Fallen Leaf Lake along 89 in South Lake Tahoe is the area where the once extinct cutthroat trout have been reintroduced alongside the already present rainbow trout. The lake itself is stunning and a great place to camp.
- The Lake Duh! Lake Tahoe itself is home to Salmon, Trout and Mackerel. Most of the fish will be in relatively shallow waters and you can hire equipment from the local shops or book onto a fishing charter that will take you to the best spots and provide you with equipment and food!
- Upper Truckee River in South Tahoe opens from July 1st to September 30th and will be less busy than other fishing spots as this part of the river is not specifically stocked with fish. There are still fish here though which you can catch and release back into the beautiful surroundings!
More info can be found at laketahoe.com