Lake Tahoe is a vacation for every adventurer – from the extreme to the mellow.
Whether it is a day trip or a long weekend, Lake Tahoe is one of the many escapes near Reno. From the Montreux community, the shores of north lake are just a 20-minute drive away. From family outings, diverse hiking and romantic getaways, the alpine lake has many activities to offer.
With some of the bluest and clearest water in North America, Lake Tahoe is also famed for its many sandy beaches. As you travel around the lake, you will find welcoming towns with a combination of mountain and beach feels. This year, there will be plenty of snow lingering on the surrounding peaks making for a breathtaking backdrop. True snow lovers should bring their snow shoes, as some of the higher elevation hikes may still have snow to play in.
The lake is about 70 miles all the way around. Take your time exploring the entire loop and see the beauty that Tahoe offers.
Donner Lake, photo courtesy of Tahoe Activities
Truckee and Tahoe City
Donner Lake: Enjoy early morning glassy waters on this hidden lake and take out a kayak or stand-up paddle board. Life jackets are available for rent in town.
Donner Memorial State Park: This beautiful state park is the perfect spot for trail runs or walking the dog. There is also a lot to learn from the local history and plenty of locals to chat with.
Pacific Crest Trail: Hop on this trail at Donner Summit and choose a direction. To the south is Mount Judah, a 5.1-mile loop, and to the north is Castle Peak, a 7-mile roundtrip. Either way you are sure to find an abundance of wildflowers, peaceful mountain streams and even some snow.
Five Lakes Trail Hike: Known as one of the most beautiful hikes in the Granite Chief Wilderness Area, this 4.8-mile trek is a great place to explore the terrain and discover the nearby lakes.
Emerald Bay has the only island in Tahoe, photo courtesy of Tahoe Activities
West Shore, Emerald Bay and South Lake
Sugar Pine Point State Park: Once a private residence, this park entertains beautiful views of Lake Tahoe. The well-kept 11,000 square foot Ehrman Mansion aka Pine Lodge has been open to the public since 1965 and is worth the visit.
D.L. Bliss State Park: Explore this beauty in the summer months, from May to September, where sandy beaches with clear waters and ancient rock formations abound at Calawee Cove and Lester Beach. Camp here or spend the day, including a watercraft launch for added fun.
Emerald Bay State Park: One of the most iconic and most photographed areas of Tahoe, it can tend to get a little crowded. If you can find parking off the side of Highway 89, it is worth the adventure to see. The southwestern corner of the lake is widely known for its clear emerald to azure blue waters, the long bay opening inside the narrow mouth of Emerald and Eagle Points. The park also contains a magnificent historic Scandinavian mansion that was turned into a museum.
Eagle Lake Hike: This family-friendly lake offers a view of Emerald Bay from above. Be sure to find Eagle Falls, this hike is just a mile long and rises gently as it follows the Eagle Creek drainage.
Rubicon Trail Hike: More on the moderate side, this 8.3-mile in and out hike takes you through Emerald Bay and D.L. Bliss State Parks. The trail is unique for its changing landscapes, following closely along Tahoe’s clear waters to elevated views along rocky precipices.
Mount Tallac: Enjoy the surrounding lakes and forests on this meandering trail at your leisure, just a little less than 5 miles long. As you reach the summit, climb bowls and ridges to nearly 3,300 feet above the trailhead. Take time to soak in the panorama at the summit and give yourself 6 hours to complete this 10-mile roundtrip hike.
Photo courtesy of Tahoe’s Best
East Shore, Incline and Kings Beach
Sand Harbor State Park: Widely known for its serene beauty and family-friendly environment, this beautiful beach also has a visitor center, kayak rentals and short hiking trails.
Tahoe Rim Trail: The Tahoe Rim Trail is a major thru-hike in the area, but you can hop on it at many points for a few hours. With stunning vistas of the lake and forests, the east shore hikes range from 1 mile at Kingsbury Grade North to Spooner Summit North at 12.4 miles roundtrip.
Speedboat Beach: Nestled between Kings Beach and Incline Village, this sandy beach is a beautiful place to relax and even launch your kayak.
Kings Beach: Kings Beach is a beach as well as a town and is a convenient stop for groceries, a bite to eat and many beach rentals.
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