Lake Tahoe Destination Overview
Beautiful Lake Tahoe is a freshwater lake that rests in the valley of the Sierra Nevada mountain range on the border between California and Nevada. The area is a popular destination for outdoor adventurers, and presents visitors with a wide array of great year-round activities and excursions. Lake Tahoe was shaped during the ice ages of eras past, and is known for its crystal clear waters and a panorama of gorgeous mountain vistas. The region was first populated by Washoe Native American tribes, which later gave way to European settlers in search of precious metals encased within the surrounding rock formations. Today, the lakefront community's economy is driven by tourism, and the area is home to a number of palatial vacation homes which began to spring up after the end of World War II.
Lake Tahoe residents encounter temperate weather conditions throughout the year. Summer days are filled with warm weather and bright sunshine, while brisk winds and heavy snowfall can be expected from November to April. Travelers should be sure to pack light during the summer months, while winter visitors would be wise to bring warm sweaters, heavy jackets and a few pairs of long underwear to stay comfortable in potentially freezing conditions.
Warm Weather Activities
When temperatures are warm around Lake Tahoe, visitors will find a vast selection of excellent activities that allow them to take in the natural beauty of the landscape. Whether you're searching for a quiet trail to enjoy a leisurely trek along winding hiking paths or set on spending the day on exquisitely maintained fairways at a local golf course, Lake Tahoe has something for just about everyone.
Lake Tahoe Golf Course
This pristine golf course is located just minutes away from the southern shoreline of Lake Tahoe in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. The par-71 course was designed by acclaimed architect William Bell, and features a championship-style layout that is sure to test every facet of your game. An abundance of indigenous wildlife can be found throughout the wooded groves that surround each fairway, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a better view of the neighboring mountain range at any other course in the area. Water hazards and bunkered greens make shot and club selection a welcome challenge for many players, and expansive fairways provide ample space to utilize those long-ball driving skills.
Hiking and Running Trails
South Tahoe presents outdoor enthusiasts with a wide spectrum of hiking trails that range from leisurely strolls through the woods to challenging treks up glacier-carved granite slopes. Elephant's Back is a great option for visitors, and presents a number of breathtaking vistas the include hidden waterfalls, expansive mountain meadows adorned with vibrant wildflowers and gorgeous granite peaks. Along the trail, visitors will be able to see local landmarks such as the Carson Pass, Blue Lake, Round Top Peak and many others. Lose yourself within the confines of natural splendor as the majestic landscape of Lake Tahoe envelops you along every twist and turn of the trail.
If you're an outdoor adventurer seeking all the best thrills and spills Lake Tahoe has to offer, grab your bike and head over to the heart-pounding Saxon Creek Trail. Nicknamed "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride," this trail features a series of steep downhill runs that are sure to get your adrenaline pumping. If you're more interested in a leisurely bike ride, try out the the more mellow Flume Trail, which features excellent views of Douglas Fir groves, pristine mountain valleys and the deep blue waters of the lake. Rental equipment can be found at a number of establishments around town, such as Anderson's Bicycle Rentals on Emerald Bay Road, where friendly and experienced staff members are certain to outfit you with the best gear available.
Cold Weather Activities
When the temperatures drop around mid-November, the Lake Tahoe community transforms into a winter wonderland that presents guests with a number of opportunities to engage in some cold-weather fun. A wide selection of downhill slopes and cross-country trails are sure to delight skiers and snowboarders, while frozen ponds and sleigh rides allow for some more leisurely activities.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Winter sport enthusiasts should make their way to Sierra-at-Tahoe, the area's largest and most popular skiing and snowboarding facility. With more than 2,000 acres, 46 trails, 14 lifts and a child-friendly tubing area, Sierra-at-Tahoe presents some quality cold-weather activities for the whole family. The mountains' peaks provide a number of beginner, intermediate and advanced level slopes for downhill skiers and snowboarders along with extensive cross-country trails that meander through the breathtaking mountain scenery. Single-day, multi-day, afternoon and 3-Pak lift tickets are available, along with an in-house ski shop that allows patrons to rent any equipment necessary to enjoy a day on the mountain.
Heavenly Mountain Ice Skating
The outdoor ice skating rink at Heavenly Mountain gives guests the opportunity to take in the pleasant ambiance of this winter wonderland. The rink is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the winter months, and provides visitors with the opportunity to take a time-out from cutting and carving the freshly powdered slopes to glide gracefully over the frozen water. Rental skates are available to travelers in every size, in both traditional and hockey-style varieties. Local cafes and eateries are nearby to provide you with a piping-hot beverage or a hearty meal to melt away winter's chill.
Borges Family Sleigh and Carriage Rides
If you're interested in taking in the beautiful frozen atmosphere of Lake Tahoe in winter, schedule time for a ride with the Borges Family Sleigh and Carriage Rides. Thirty-minute and hour-long rides are available, where guests will be pulled by handsome 2,000-pound blonde Belgium draft horses. Bundled and blanketed inside antique European sleighs, patrons will be whisked over mountain meadows and through wooded groves to enjoy some of the spectacular views presented by the lake and the surrounding Sierra Nevada Mountains. Sleigh rides are offered from 10 a.m. to sunset, which usually occurs around 4:45 p.m. during the winter months.