My friend and I visited in September and we found this was a great time to visit. The weather was chilly a couple of days especially by the water but on other sunnier days it we quite warm. It wasn't very crowded and we had a very nice time.
Located on the border of California and Nevada, this is the largest fresh water lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains. At 6200 feet, it's also the highest alpine lake in North America as well as being the largest. At over 1600 feet, it is second deepest to Crater Lake in Oregon. Formed 2 million year ago, it is currently known best as a ski resort but it is a great area for both hiking and mountain biking as well. This was a day trip from my cousin's house in Sacramento in 1994. Gas was so high in 2008, we met him and his family along the coast instead as they were camping there over the 4th of July weekend.
Lake Tahoe is a quick diversion from Reno, being only 30 to 60 minutes away depending on your destination. Here you have gambling, skiing, boating, beaches, and more.
Just over 1/2 the lake is in California while the rest fo the lake is in Nevada. When crossing the border into Nevada, you will notice a bunch of casinos and such. Kind of spoils the scenic beauty of the lake!
Lake Tahoe itself is 1,645 ft deep, America's second deepest lake, behind only Crater Lake in Oregon. Annual precipitation ranges from 55 inches to 26 inches depending on the location around the lake, making for excellent ski conditions.
There's plenty of peaks in the Sierra mountains by the Lake Tahoe region. I've hiked to the peak of a few of them and it's very exhilirating! The view on top is breathtaking, definitely worth every aching muscle in my legs! ;o) There are also some short hikes with amazing views like the short hike to Eagle Falls (trailhead is right across the Inspiration Point Vista (Emerald Bay vista point). The hike probably takes only about 30 min to the falls. See pics included.
Lake Tahoe has some of the best recreational opportunities available. The lake offers a variety of summer recreational activities. The surrounding mountains are great for hiking and camping. Skiing in the area is fantastic. Skiing here is worth it for the views alone. Casinos in Stateline and North Shore offer twenty-four hour gambling and some great live shows.
Lake Tahoe is about a four hour drive from San Francisco, where you can drive east over the Bay Bridge and follow Highway 80. At Sacramento you would take Highway 50 that will take you to the south shore. For the north shore, you would continue on Highway 80 to Truckee where you would take Highway 89 to the lake.
Beware the winter storms. The passes can become a mess quickly and even close. Be sure to carry tire chains in the winter.
California has many gems, but Lake Tahoe is, arguably, its crown jewel. It is the largest alpine lake in North America. Lake Tahoe has an average depth of 989 feet and contains enough water to cover the entire state of California to a depth of about 14 inches.
Many Californians can quote those statistics to you, but no one can describe the shimmering crystal beauty of this impressive body of water. It is a sight you must see for yourself, especially on one of the frequently sunny days.
The region is basically divided into two parts, much like California itself. The south shore, which is not my favorite, houses casinos and fast food restaurants en masse. The quieter North Shore is more scenic, cozy and charming. The area can be enjoyed year round with many activities, both lake-centered and not.
For more information, feel free to browse my Tahoe pages.
Desolation Wilderness is a relatively small 63,500 acres wilderness southwest of Lake Tahoe. It offers some spectacular scenery, solitude (not much though), and an escape from the overdeveloped area of South Lake Tahoe. Numerous trails lead into the wilderness. Day hiking requires a free permit that can be filled in at the trailhead; overnight backpacking requires a fee permit that must be obtained at a wilderness center.
There are a number of good, short day hikes from Ca Hwy 89 into the wilderness. The most popular is Eagle Lake trail, a very short 2-mile round trip that sees 50,000 hikers annually. The lake itself is very pretty, but you won't be alone.
We attempted another longer but unsuccessful hike in the wilderness. This hike started at Lily Lake and was supposedly a 5.1-mile round trip to Grass Lake. As it happened, we got 2 miles from the trailhead when we reached a snowmelt-swollen stream that had a rather narrow log leading across... not on the safe side. We turned back.
For more on Desolation Wilderness see my South Lake Tahoe page.
Few lakes can claim to be as blue or as deep as Lake Tahoe. 12 miles wide and 22 miles long, Lake Tahoe is the third deepest lake in the United States and also one of its most beautiful. However, that is slowly changing; rampant development continues on the south shore, where the lakeshore has been altered and sewage and pollutants are slowly entering the lake. It was once possible to see almost 90 feet down into the lake, but that has been reduced to 50. Casinos are sprouting up in the Nevada side, and the entire south shore becomes continuously commercialized.
But there's still plenty to see. On the west shore there is the famous Emerald Bay and Fanette Island, and on the east shore, Cave Rock State Park offers an outstanding view across to the Sierra Crest peaks.
To see more concerning Lake Tahoe check out my South Lake Tahoe page.
Tahoe has a lot of great ski resorts ! It's about 2 hours drive from San Francisco. This is one of the great things living in/around San Francisco - it doesn't snow but if you want to ski/snowboard, all you need is about 2 hours drive and you can have all the snow that you want! Then you come home, and won't have to think of shoveling snow out of your driveway! :o)
Unbelievable how quickly the weather conditions can change. One moment the skies are blue and the sun is shining. The next moment.... SNOW!
I was nearly in Lake Tahoe, but I still had to cross the pass. The radio was warning that the pass could close any moment for everyone that didn't have snowchains. And of course I didn't... it was my summer holiday! I didn't expect to need snow chains! I was in luck and I passed the checkpoint just in time. A lot of cars drove into the ditch because of the slippery conditions, but I got through in one piece... I could continue my trip!
Lake Tahoe is located in the High Sierras in northeastern California at the border with Nevada. This area has something for everyone, whether you want to go hiking, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, sailing, water skiing, rafting, fishing, biking, simply sitting by the clear blue lake and enjoying the view and yes even gambling (hey, it's bordering Nevada ;-)). Besides the beautiful crystal-clear blue lake, the landscape is filled with mountains, covered with snow most of the year, and green forests. The western shore of the lake is dotted with small towns boasting quaint bed and breakfasts and cafes. If you're here on a short trip I recommend taking the 72 miles drive around the lake. There are some wonderful turnouts at vista points where you get spectacular views of the lake. Emerald Bay, on the west side of the lake, is spectacular in every season. Also, there are many smaller lakes all around the Tahoe basin - all of which have great picnic areas and hiking trails.
If you're into skiing, Tahoe has arguably some of the best skiing in US. The 1960 Winter Olympics were held here at Squaw Valley. Heavenly, Alpine Meadows and Kirkwood are other great ski resorts in the Tahoe area. A good website for researching ski information is: http://www.skilaketahoe.com.
I never had any intention of visiting Lake Tahoe, for one thing, I had never even heard of it! However, I needed to break my long journey somewhere between Portland and LA, and Sacramento/Lake Tahoe seemed to be the obvious choice - and what a good one it was (thanks to Phil and Deni x x ).
The photo is of the East lake, just west of Stateline, the gambling centre here. You can see the tall buildings of Stateline, in the middle distance of the photo. Really, I had left insufficient time to see the lake in all its glory (too much time in Nevada!), but it is certainly beautiful.
(Without bad traffic and weather) Lake Tahoe is a short 4-hour jaunt from San Francisco. Where, during the summer, you can fish the lake or nearby streams or maybe mountain biking thru the mountains is your cup of tea. In winter, trade in the bike and fishing poles for either a snowboard, or if you are a traditionalist like me, some skis, and have a pick from SEVERAL first rate ski resorts surrounding this pristine lake.
Rumor has it, that they have not found the bottom of this lake. I don’t know about that, but with the casinos close by, you can place your wagers on it there. And those are open all year long, 24hours a day.
Lake Tahoe has a surface elevation of 6,229 ft, is 22 miles long, 12 miles wide and has a shoreline 71 miles in length. With a surface area of 193 sq. mi. and an average of depth of 989 feet, the total capacity of Lake Tahoe is 122,160,280 acre-ft water! Surface lake temperatures range from 68 ° F in the summer, to 41 ° F during the winter. The only outlet is the Truckee River at Tahoe City.
When we found this place at the Hyatt at the Northern end of Lake Tahoe, we kinda' wished we'd stayed there.
Didn't want to move. Open fire, great view, tall drink, really pleasant staff.