Located on the California/Nevada border in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Lake Tahoe offers a wide selection of things to do and places to explore and any time of year is a good time to visit this very special destination. On one hand there is the legendary nightlife, serving up casinos aplenty and an entertainment scene that ranges from hit stage shows from across the globe, to big name singers and bands. And on the other an amazing natural landscape to discover - Lake Tahoe is the second largest alpine lake in North America and boasts the largest concentration of ski resorts.
The lake itself is 22 miles long, 12 miles wide and 72 miles around, and at an average depth of 949 feet, it never fully freezes.
A trip to Tahoe is simply a slice of heaven. The pine-shrouded alpine lake truly earns the title of ‘Jewel of the Sierras’. Crystal water shines brightly all winter and summer long inviting visitors to relax and enjoy the beauty. Visit beautiful Carnelian Bay and perhaps stop at Alpine Meadows, a popular ski area. Host of the 1960 Winter Olympics, the place remains the most popular area for both summer and winter sports.
Take a high speed boat ride across the lake or walk where the Pony Express once rode. Go dinner dancing on a paddlewheeler or floating in a hot air balloon. Lake Tahoe abounds with activity.
Considered one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in North America, Vikingsholm castle sits on the shore of Emerald Bay with astonishing views of Lake Tahoe. Built in 1929, and modeled on a Norse fortress from 800AD, Vikingsholm represents unique blend of art and history.
The Tahoe Maritime Museum features interactive exhibits and is reminiscent of an old boathouse, showcasing the history of boating in Lake Tahoe. Several historical watercraft, including the Shanghai, an 1890’s excursion, and Redskin, a rare 1912 Canadian-built displacement boat, are on display.
Visit Sand Harbor, the beautiful home of the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, or go to the Ponderosa Ranch, a great place for the entire family to spend the day and see where the television series, Bonanza, was filmed.
Before you board the Gondola at Heavenly at South Lake Tahoe, prepare yourself for the extraordinary! You will be exposed to breathtaking views that are normally reserved for hawks and eagles. You’ll get stunning views of Lake Tahoe below, Desolation Wilderness to the west, and an endless line of snowcaps to the south. And at the top you’ll find a bar and grill, picnic tables and – in case you have an urge to go even higher – a climbing wall.
If you’re a bit of an adventurer then maybe Lassen Peak is for you. This active volcano climbs to a 10457 foot summit and is best appreciated from the top! It’s been over 90 years since the last big pop. Because of its relative isolation, Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the nation’s least crowded national parks. That translates to untrammeled paths leading to mud pots, stunning lakes, steaming fumaroles and the centerpiece and namesake to this technicolor escape, Lassen Peak.
The DL Bliss and Emerald Bay State Park offers the most breathtaking views of the lake, the mountains, and Tahoe's only island - Fannette Island, while at the other end of the scale, Desolation Wilderness is a 63475 acre wilderness area with hundreds of glacial lakes, sub-Alpine forests, valleys and granite peaks.
Whether you’re a fisherman or not, treat yourself to an unforgettable experience and take a fishing trip on the lake. If the fish aren’t biting it won’t matter as the surrounding environment provides a feast for your senses.
As you would expect you’ll find watersports for all ages and interests. Everything from river rafting the Truckee River, para-sailing for the more adventurous, to pedal boats for a more relaxing and quiet afternoon. Of course there is waterskiing, wakeboarding, kayaking, jet-skiing, canoeing, float planes, windsurfing and more.
Golfers will also be delighted, not only because of the beautiful courses on offer, but also because at 6000 feet elevation, your golf ball is likely to travel around 25 yards further on a drive! Perfect conditions for that golf shot you'll remember for a lifetime.
Of course, Lake Tahoe is just as famous for its winter fun with over 17520 skiable acres on offer. There are 535 groomed trails, 125 lifts and 21 terrain parks offering skiing for beginners through to advanced. Add an average of 300 days of sunshine per year and an average annual snowfall of 420 inches, and you’re in skier’s paradise.
However, what makes Lake Tahoe different from other ski destinations is the lake. Lake Tahoe's natural surroundings, features and depth put in line with some of the top tier lakes of the world such as Crater Lake in Oregon and Lake Baikal in Siberia, and its water is as pristine as that found in Yosemite. With that in mind, no effort is spared in protecting the clarity and beauty of Lake Tahoe and ensuring its surrounding environs are protected for generations to come.