Lake Tahoe is the kind of place that has a little, and a lot, of everything. In fact it’s the largest freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, straddling across the Californian and Nevada borders.
You’ll be familiar with the iconic pristine beaches. The most famous of these would have to be Emerald Bay with photogenic vistas from Inspiration Point. But Chimney Beach will also surely cast a spell over you. Laze on this undeveloped beach with giant boulders and glittering turquoise waters.
Tahoe’s best hike with historic mansions, waterfalls and even a lighthouse along the one way 4.5 mile (9 mile return) is Rubicon Trail.
Or for a more leisurely pace take in the gorgeous views from the many roadside viewpoints like Donner Pass, Mt Rose Summit Pass, or atop the Heavenly Gondola.
And if your preference is somewhere in between, the paved walking, cycling and wheelchair friendly East Shore Trail is the place to head.
Imagine how the rich and famous lived a hundred years ago at the historic Vikingsholm and Pope-Baldwin estates at the Tallac Historic Site or view collection of native basketry at Gatekeepers Museum Area.
You’ll find Lake Tahoe offers a lot to many!
Sacremento, Reno or Carson City
While you could tour in a single day, most will want to spend at least 2 days/nights.
It’s approximately 70 miles around the lake. Add another 30 miles for visiting Donner Pass and Truckee.
Lake Tahoe is the largest freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, straddling across the Californian and Nevada borders. It’s considered one of the purest large lakes in the world with iconic pristine beaches.
Tahoe is open year round, with the shoulder seasons bringing pleasant weather with average temperatures in the 60s and fewer tourists. Summer is the best time of year to lounge on beaches, float on paddleboards, and dip into the waters. Winter, of course, brings heavy snowstorms and lots of ski traffic on the weekends.
With summer air temps in the 80s and water temps in the 50s, swimming is always going to be a bit chilly in Lake Tahoe – however, it sure beats 100 degree days in the Central Valley!
Most Lake Tahoe visitors will want to spend at least two days and two nights here to get the most that Tahoe has to offer. For the full experience, four days is recommended.
In 2023, Nevada State Parks is implementing a day-use reservations system for select parks, including Sand Harbor. Visit the Nevada State Parks website for further details.