Summer has come to Tahoe, which means the temperatures are rising and the beaches are filling up. With 72 miles of shoreline, Lake Tahoe is without a doubt the biggest place to take a dip – but it’s not the only one! Lucky for us, Tahoe is surrounded by multiple lakes and rivers, and there are plenty of activities to enjoy while you’re cool off in them. Whether you’re ready to try out some new watersports or simply find a new place to take a dip, read on for our top picks of Water Activities to Keep Cool this summer!
Surf a Wake
Have you ever tried wake surfing? Quickly becoming the most popular boating sport, you’re bound to have seen many surfers riding waves behind boats on Tahoe. In general, wake surfing is a lot easier to do than wakeboarding or water skiing because it’s easier to get up on the board. Rather than being towed by a rope, you position the board on the wake put out by the boat, and get to ride an endless wave. If you’re ready to try, you can rent a boat complete with surfboards, tow lines, and all the safety equipment needed from Blue Wave Boat Rentals. They even have chartered boats available with drivers who know the best ways to teach newbies how to get up on the board, find their rhythm, and surf the wake like a pro in no time!
Dip a Paddle
Looking for some human-powered ways to get out on the water? Get out and test your paddle skills on a stand-up paddleboard or kayak. The Tahoe Water Trail is a 72-mile water route along the shoreline, complete with a guide to public launch and landing sites, wayfinding signage, paddle routes to match your ability and interests, navigation tools, and water safety tips to help you have a safe and fun paddle adventure. There is a section of the lake for all levels of experience – whether this is your first time or you’re a seasoned paddler. And there are plenty of places to rent gear from if you – or your rental house – don’t have your own. Check out Willards Sports Shop, or Tahoe City Kayak for all your rental needs.
Float the River
If you’re in the mood for a leisurely cool down, you can just inflate your favorite tube or giant floatie flamingo and let the ripples of the Truckee River take you away. The best section to float is from Tahoe City to River Ranch, a five-mile stretch with a few swift sections but no raging rapids. Make sure to drop a car at the end, where you can enjoy cocktails and fresh eats on the River Ranch Patio.
Take an Alpine Plunge
Is there anything better than jumping into an ice-cold lake after a long hike? We love the abundance of trails around the Tahoe basin, but summer heat can make for some sweaty summits. While Lake Tahoe is certainly the most talked-about lake in region, did you know there are actually hundreds of alpine lakes that span the Desolation Wilderness, State Parks, and National Forest Lands surrounding Lake Tahoe? If you’re looking for a day hike that ends with a great spot for swimming, check out Eagle Lake, which passes the famous Eagle Falls near Emerald bay, or from the East shore hike up to Marlette Lake, or even a loop to Spooner Lake. Remember to bring plenty of water and sunscreen before hitting the trail!
Memorial Day Weekend is often thought of as the official start to summer – and we are ready for it! The snow is (mostly) gone, the sun is shining, and the lake is looking pretty inviting! Here are some ideas for the best ways to spend Memorial Day Weekend in Tahoe!
Hit the Trails!
Hiking, biking, trail running – the options in Tahoe seem endless! The Tahoe Rim Trail has tons of options for all skills and ability levels of mountain biking, as well as great hiking sections. If you’re looking for epic views of the lake, head up Rubicon Peak – we especially love this trail because the dogs can come too! Keep an eye out for waterfalls and wildflowers this time of year.
Hang at the Beach
The days are warming up and the beaches are open. Whether you’re more into lounging, building sandcastles, or venturing out on a paddleboard, Tahoe beaches are famous for a reason. This time of year, the beaches are likely to start filling up early, so plan ahead and get out early to secure your spot at popular spots like King’s Beach and Sand Harbor. Bring plenty of food and water, and please take all your trash with you. We love the pristine Tahoe beaches, and everyone can do their part to keep them clean. And don’t forget the sunscreen! The alpine sun is already strong at this time of year, even if it doesn’t feel that hot.
Get Your Feet Wet
The water is still cold this early in the season, but the water also tends to be calmer, which means it’s a great time for kayaking, paddleboarding, or even wake surfing. Getting out on the water offers a different perspective of the lake, and some incredible views of Tahoe’s deep, clear water. You can rent kayaks and paddleboards from Willard’s Sport Shop, and boat rentals are available from Blue Wave Boat Rentals – you can even add on water sport accessories with your rental! Whenever you’re out on the water, don’t forget to wear your life jacket, as conditions can change rapidly, and the water is very cold. Enjoy your time on the water safely, so you can come back time after time and enjoy it again!
One of the things we love most about living in Tahoe is the abundance of adventures available all-year-round! With the end of the ski season comes hiking and biking, then beaches and boating, or kayaking or paddleboarding as we head into summer. Right now, the snow is melting, the streams are running, and it’s waterfalls and wildflower season! Here are our top five spring hikes to enjoy this season!
Nestled along the north side of Squaw Valley, Shirley Canyon Trail follows Squaw Creek through the woods and up the canyon and continues all the way up to High Camp. It’s a great hike in the spring when the waterfalls are flowing. Depending on the snowpack, you might not be able to make it all the way up the trail until later in the season, when all the snow melts. It can get busy during the high season, but it’s a popular hike for all ages. Kids love scrambling around the large boulders along the edge of the stream, and dogs love splashing in the many small pools along the way.
Tahoe Rim Trail
There are plenty of spots to access the Rim Trail, the 165-mile loop around Lake Tahoe. There are so many options for day hikes, ranging from easy meadow strolls to more strenuous climbs. This time of year, the waterfalls are sure to be flowing, so check out McCloud Falls or The Galena Waterfall Hike. You can see all the waterfall hike options here. If you’re heading out later in the season, early summer is the best time for beautiful wildflower viewing. The best wildflower hikes can be found here. Some sections of the Rim Trail also allow mountain biking. You can check the website for updated trail conditions and information.
Cascade Falls Trail
This popular trail near Emerald Bay climbs up to Cascade Falls and offers gorgeous views of the Cascade Lake and Lake Tahoe. This relatively short hike is great for kids, and there is plenty of space to spread out and enjoy a picnic lunch near the falls. You can also continue along the trail to the top of the falls for even more incredible views. There is limited parking near the Bayview Campground, which closes seasonally, but you can walk through the campground to access the trail.
Eagle Lake Trail
Another family-friendly hike near Emerald Bay, Eagle Lake Trail follows Eagle Creek past Eagle Falls to Eagle Lake. It’s a well-marked trail that can be quite popular in the summer months, and parking can be limited due to variety of trails and viewpoints in this area. If you head out earlier in the season though, you might have the trail to yourself, and you might even encounter a little snow! Make sure to check out Lower Eagle Falls on the other side of the road before you head home!
Who says après is just for skiing? With plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy this spring, and long afternoons perfect for soaking up the sunshine, we’re convinced you can après-anything! It seems only fitting Read on for our favorite places to sit back, relax, and enjoy a well-deserved cocktail.
Pioneer Cocktail Club
If you’ve been missing exciting combinations and artistic cocktails with unique, fresh ingredients, then head over to Pioneer Cocktail Club. They are famous in Tahoe City for their seasonal cocktails, offering winter warmers like the Hot Buttered Rum, made with homemade “Brown butter batter,” and summer refreshers like the Oaxacan Old Fashioned, made with Mezcal. They also have a delicious food menu full of updated bar eats, from sassy wood-fired pizzas (try the Green Meanie or Nice Hawaiian Punch) to Lemongrass Chicken Wings and Cauliflower al Pastor. Check out their dog-friendly patio (complete with heaters), or enjoy limited capacity service indoors.
If the local’s bar is more your scene, then you’ll feel right at home at the Bridgetender. Famous for their burgers and Bloody Marys, “BT” as the locals say, has a large selection of beers on tap and generous portions of pub fare. Located right on the Truckee River at Fanny Bridge, their outdoor patio is the perfect place to soak up the afternoon sun. After a long day on the slopes or an epic mountain bike ride, we love to share the Totchos – tater tots smothered with nacho toppings!
If you’re more of a wine drinker, there is no better spot to peruse and sip on unique blends than Uncorked. With multiple locations in the Tahoe area, Uncorked focused on limited
production wines that are farmed mindfully from key regions and appellations around the globe. Enjoy a large selection of unique wines and extremely knowledgeable staff to help you pick out a bottle, or perhaps sample a few different varietals with a flight. And if you need some cheese to go with your wine, never fear, the Charcuterie Plate is divine.
Boasting locally sourced, seasonal ingredients and a rotating selection of house cocktails, Fat Cat is a casual bar, famous for its burgers and hometown feel. If you’re in the mood for a view and good people-watching, grab a seat on their pooch-friendly patio – they even have pup patties you can order for them!
Tahoe Tap Haus
Famous for their wide selection of local brews, Tahoe Tap Haus has 16 beers on draught and at least 8 are always from breweries within 100 miles. Their dog-friendly patio is the perfect spot to enjoy their selection of fresh California Pub Fare after a hike or bike ride along the Truckee River Path.
Tahoe is famous for many things, but one of our favorites is Spring Skiing! With plenty of sunshine followed by epic snow dumps, spring in Tahoe is famous for bluebird pow days – we call it Miracle March for a reason! Ski resorts in Tahoe have received up to 44″ of fresh snow in March alone, with another 12-17 inches projected in the next week! If you’re ready for a quick escape to the mountains, come experience why spring is the best time to ski Tahoe!
So Much Sunshine
Longer days mean more hours of sun to enjoy the slopes – and your après! Did you know? Tahoe typically receives about 300 days of sunshine a year? That means you’re 76% likely to see the sun during daylight hours – those are pretty good odds if you’re looking for some springtime sunshine! Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen to the slopes – the alpine environment combined with the reflection off the snow can sneak up on you quick!
The Tahoe region averages over 35″ of snowfall in March – making it similar to December and February in terms of new snow. As an added bonus, all this new snow is on top of the great base that’s been building up all season long, so you’re bound to find plenty of snow when you visit in the spring. The storms in this area generally roll in and out quickly, meaning conditions can transform overnight. Waking up to feet of new snow is more the rule than the exception in Tahoe!
That’s right, after those storms roll out, we are blessed with blue skies! No lingering gray days here – we’re spoiled by all the bluebird powder days we get in Tahoe. The conditions are also perfect for enjoying your lunch outside or taking a beer break when your legs get tired from endless runs.
If this season has taught us anything, it’s that après outside is just as fun! From parking lot basecamps to extended outdoor seating at resorts, enjoying snacks and drinks outside after skiing is only getting more enjoyable as the weather warms. Take advantage of the sunny afternoons and pack a cooler and some camp chairs to set up a car bar, grab a table at one of the restaurants now open for limited dine-in, or enjoy some local brews back in the comfort of your vacation rental hot tub – book one of our many homes with hot tubs here.
Although it’s still winter, we are seeing beautiful, sunshine-filled days in Tahoe, and many restaurants are open for outdoor dining and takeout. We love supporting the local businesses that are working hard to provide quality food and service during these trying times. If you’re visiting Tahoe this season, our local and shops and restaurants need your support! Here are our favorite spots to dine outside in Tahoe these days.
With some of the best views in Tahoe City, Za’s Lakefront overlooks the Tahoe City Marina and offers breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe. Their patio is now open for outdoor dining from 11:30 am – 8:00 pm daily. We love their delicious thin-crust pizzas and nightly specials: Prime Rib Sundays and Fried Chicken Tuesdays never disappoint! They also have a wonderful selection of hand-crafted cocktails and an extensive beer and wine list. Check out their website for current specials.
A longtime local’s favorite for a burger and a beer, The Bridgetender has converted much of their parking lot into outdoor tables and set up a number of heaters. They have a killer happy hour and are famous for their Bloody Mary’s, so it get’s busy during peak times, but it’s worth the wait! The menu is full of classic bar food, perfect to fill up on after a day out skiing or playing in the snow. Open from 11 am daily.
Tahoe House is a quaint little bakery and café famous for their amazing pastries, fresh-baked bread and cookies! You can count on them for a morning pick-me-up, and enjoy your breakfast or lunch on their outdoor tables or take it with you for a stroll along the West Shore Path. We love the croissants and scones for breakfast, fresh made sandwiches for lunch, and always pick up a pie to take home! Open from 6 am – 4 pm weekdays, and until 6 pm Friday and Saturday.
Moe’s Original Bar-B-Que
A no frills BBQ joint with amazing views of Lake Tahoe – what could be better? Moe’s dishes up classic BBQ meats with an amazing assortment of sides s. You can order a family platter or smaller plates, and enjoy them on the picnic tables outside, or take them down to Common’s Beach for a picnic. They even have live music outside sometimes, so check out their website for updates.
Now that the stay-at-home order has been lifted across the state, and certain businesses are reopening in Tahoe, travelers are returning to the area to experience the beauty of mountains in winter. We are happy to be able to offer safe accommodations to guests, and want to remind visitors to travel smart, and visit safely this winter. Plan your Tahoe visit with us – we’re committed to enhanced cleaning protocols and doing everything we can to make your visit safe. Here are more ways you can visit and enjoy Tahoe safely this season:
1. Abide by the California Responsible Travel Code
There are a million reasons to visit California, and whether you are coming from near or far, we ask that you respect the environment, local culture and all the different kinds of people who visit our state. The California Responsible Travel Code was developed to help promote the safe and respectful travel throughout our state. It’s important to know and understand what it means, as well as familiarize yourself with local guidelines before visiting. As the state reopens, different counties may have different rules. Please be sure to check CDC Guidelines and local restrictions to ensure you abide by all rules and regulations when traveling. You can find state-wide updates and county by country specifications here.
2. Ski Safely
Resorts in Tahoe are open for skiing and snowboarding this season, with varying adjustments to ticket sales, reservations, and enhanced safety protocols. Skiing and riding is an inherently safe, socially-distanced form of outdoor recreation – and staff and operations teams at the resorts are working hard to keep the slopes open this season. All guests are required to wear a mask when in public areas – this includes lift lines, bathrooms, and on the chairlift. Make sure to check with the resort ahead of time to see if you need to purchase tickets in advance. Some resorts are requiring reservations, some are limiting day tickets, and others may only allow those with a season pass. With a multitude of ski resorts in the area, it’s best to check with each one directly to make sure you know the rules and are staying up to date on current weather and mountain conditions before you go!
3. Eat Local
Restaurants have re-opened in Tahoe for outdoor dining and take-out, and ordering from local businesses is a great way to support our small mountain towns when visiting. Many restaurants are offering special to-go items, like family dinners or batch cocktails. Even in the middle of winter, Tahoe is blessed with plenty of sunny days. Why not order lunch from Moe’s BBQ and enjoy a picnic on the beach? Or cozy up under one of the many outdoor heaters at Za’s Lakefront! Enjoy some of the best views of the lake and their famous pizza, open for lunch and dinner on Saturdays & Sundays!
4. Take a Walk
The Truckee River bike path is fully paved and plowed, and meanders along the crystal blue waters of the Truckee River all the way from Squaw Valley to Lake Tahoe. Put on some warm layers, bring a thermos full of cocoa, and enjoy the snowy scene without the hassle of shoveling or struggling with snowshoes! The river path is the perfect stroll for families, dogs, or anyone just wanting to get out and enjoy nature.
5. Enjoy a Scenic Snowmobile Tour
Have you ever felt the exhilaration of speeding through the wilderness on packed snow? Snowmobiling is a fun and exciting way to get out and explore the vast natural beauty of the Tahoe area. With trails through pristine meadows and up into the mountains, snowmobile touring offers a new way to explore the wilderness, and some epic views of Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe Snowmobiling offers exciting tours for all ages and ability levels. Zoom across over 100 miles of trails that travel through the pristine National Forest, and enjoy a warm drink and unbeatable views from the top of Mt. Watson. You’ll be sure to come home with lots of memories and gorgeous pictures to share.
We’re Open – and Ready for YOU!
Winter is in full swing, and we are ready to welcome you back to enjoy all that Tahoe has to offer! The governor has removed the stay-at-home order for the Greater Sacramento region, which allows businesses to re-open under certain regulations. Short-term lodging and vacation rentals can now be booked, and outdoor dining has been reinstated. You know the drill: practice social distancing, wear a mask, and wash your hands. You can read the updated county and regional guidelines here.
Enjoy Winter in Tahoe
What’s the best way to enjoy winter in Tahoe? Outside, of course! Tahoe is full of amazing adventures and ways to enjoy the snow, and full of delicious treats for après-activities! Here are our Top Five Winter Activities that easily lend themselves to social distancing.
Skiing and Snowboarding
It goes without saying Tahoe is known for it’s multitude of skiing and snowboarding options – and with 15 downhill resorts in the region, there is no end of gorgeous terrain. You can find the perfect run for anyone, from first-timers to experts, and plenty of local expertise if you need gear, guides, or lessons on the hill. Tahoe enjoyed some early snowfall in the end of 2020, and we’ve had a few minor storms in January. The days continue to be sunny and beautiful, and resorts are continually grooming trails and opening more terrain this week. It’s a great time to get your ski legs back, or try your turns on the mountain for the first time! You can check out all the resort snowfall, trail stats, and more here.
If you’re hesitant about skiing too fast, but still looking for a way to enjoy the snow, why not try cross-country skiing? It’s a great way to exercise, and Tahoe has some of the best views and highest-rated XC trails in the country! As an added bonus, dogs are allowed on certain trails at some XC Ski resorts. You can check out the fill list of groomed trail options here.
Turns out the joys of sledding down a snowy hill as a child is just as fun as an adult! If you’re looking for an easy, family friendly activity that doesn’t require much planning, sledding is the answer. There are plenty of options for sledding in Tahoe, ranging from free local hills where you’ll need to bring your own sled (and trek back uphill!), to expertly groomed terrain complete with tow ropes and even after-hours light shows! Here is a list of all the options for sledding in the region.
Ready for a more relaxing way to take in the sights? Since the roads are relatively clear of snow, it’s a great time to take a scenic drive around the lake. Tahoe has plenty of overlook pull-outs so you can stop and snap a picture, or even wander down a trail for a different view. Now that restaurants are offering outdoor dining, you can even stop mid-way for lunch with a view!
Although winter can often bring stormy weather to the lake, it can also offer some dramatically calm days on the water. If you time it right, you can even head out for a kayak paddle on the crystal clear waters and have the lake to yourself! If you decide to do this, be sure to check weather forecasts, as conditions can change rapidly in the mountains. Always wear your lifejacket, and never paddle too far from shore. If you are launching your own boat, it needs to be checked for invasive species before you can paddle in Lake Tahoe.
COVID-19 Policy Updates: Our Commitment to You
Although restrictions differ across the state, we are committed to following local county guidelines and updating our policies as necessary. As of this writing, we are continuing to provide enhanced cleaning between all rentals, and excited to accept new reservations! At this time, we are not changing our cancellation policy – please refer to your booking agreement for specific details. You can always check for more updates on our website.
‘Tis the season for peace and joy, although it feels a bit different this year! Despite a year of adjustments and changes, there are plenty of ways to keep holiday traditions alive in a safe and cheerful way this season! Many of us are longing for connection with family and friends, and finding unique ways to do so while staying safe and socially distant. Today, we’ve rounded up our favorite ways to continue spreading holiday cheer, supporting small businesses, and staying healthy and safe this season.
Tune into a Virtual Chorus Concert
We love cozying up by the fire and listing to Christmas Carols. This month, Truckee Tahoe Community Chorus presents its premiere Virtual Chorus Video, “Here We Come A-Caroling” on Vimeo, streaming Dec 1-31, 2020. There is nothing quite like live music, and this holiday arrangement is sure to spark some festive cheer. Stream the video here! Arranged by Josh Sparkman, copyright 2017. Recorded with permission of Beckenhorst Press, conducted by Susan K. Horst and edited by Douglas DeVore and David W. Nelson.
Take a Snowshoe Tour
Snowshoeing is the perfect socially-distanced activity that is fun for the whole family. Tahoe Adventure Company offers a variety of snowshoe tours, from private guided treks, sunset tours, and even full moon snowshoes! They’re taking extra precautions to clean gear and rentals, maintain social distancing, and requiring everyone to wear masks when you’re not actively hiking. They are also limiting their tours to 2 parties per group, so you can enjoy the adventure and feel safe. Studies show that getting outside and being active helps combat stress, so what are you waiting for? Call to book your tour today!
Backcountry Safety Awareness Week
Shop Local and Win Prizes
Small businesses need our support more than ever this holiday season. As if the amazing collection of shops and locally made goods wasn’t reason enough to buy all your gifts locally this year, you can also win prizes just for shopping! North Lake Tahoe businesses have teamed up to make holiday shopping even more rewarding this year with a Holiday Scavenger Hunt. Win points for over 100 challenges – some can be done from home, others in North Lake Tahoe. You can join any time, compete on your own or on a team, and win weekly prizes leading up to the grand prize awarded January 3rd. It’s free to join, just download the free Goosechase App, and search for the North Tahoe Shop & Win Contest!
Please remember to adhere to all local guidelines while shopping small this season: maintain social distancing, be aware of limited numbers of customers allowed in stores, and wear your mask. Your patience and support is greatly appreciated by our community! If you’re looking for more ways to support local businesses without leaving the comfort of your couch this season, you can browse the online Gift Card Market or shop online at your favorite stores here.
Stream a New Film
Does anyone else feel like they’ve finished Netflix? If you’re looking for interesting and inspiring films you can’t find online, why not stream a special showing from the Tahoe City Art Haus Cinema. The cinema is a longtime local favorite for indie films and summer drive-ins, and although the theatre is currently closed it is offering a virtual cinema! You can choose from a variety of films and watch from the comfort of your own home. Check out what’s streaming here.
We’re heading into winter here in Tahoe, and with colder weather and new regulations at state and county levels, we are once again asking that everyone do their part to help our community stay safe, and continue to support local small businesses. You know the drill: practice social distancing, avoid unnecessary gatherings, wear a mask, and wash your hands. You can read the updated county guidelines here.
Ski Resorts are Opening!
The first storms of the season have blanketed Tahoe in beautiful white snow, and cooler temperatures mean the resorts are making snow as fast as they can. With some resorts already open, a large number are also planning on opening in the coming weeks. When visiting resorts, please remember to check ahead for important weather and occupancy updates – some resorts are requiring tickets to be purchased in advance, while others are limiting the number of skiers and riders per day. As always, practice social distancing, wear a mask, and please be patient – we are all navigating these new restrictions and undoubtedly there will be delays. Remember, ’tis the season of giving, and it costs nothing to be kind.
Lake Tahoe Ski Area Opening Days
Northstar – November 20
Heavenly – November 20
Boreal – November 23
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows – November 25
Kirkwood – December 4
Diamond Peak – December 10
Homewood – December 11
Sugarbowl – TBD
Mt. Rose – TBD