Nestled between Nevada and California, Lake Tahoe offers awesome recreation year round. Whether your idea of fun is venturing out onto the crystal-blue waters of one of the most beautiful lakes in the U.S., or heading into the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to experience some world-renowned skiing, Lake Tahoe has what you’re looking for. No matter the season, people flock to this gorgeous destination for so many reasons. Let’s explore the wonders of Lake Tahoe in any season!
If you’re a lover of all things snowy and white, then Lake Tahoe should be high on your list of winter destinations! With your skis, snowboards, snowshoes, or ice skates in hand, head to North Lake Tahoe, where the majority of the winter fun can be found. With a snowstorm just last week dropping 90” of snow in the area, there’s never been a better time to wax up your skis and head to Tahoe!
One of the reasons North Lake Tahoe is one of the preferred winter destinations for skiers and snowboarders alike is that it has the highest concentration of ski resorts in all of North America! You’ll find 12 downhill resorts and 7 cross-country resorts, all featuring slopes from beginner to double-black diamond, but each with its own personality.
If you’re planning a family ski trip, the Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Area would be a great place to visit! Voted the best family ski resort on the West Coast by Liftopia at the end of 2016, this small resort offers personalized attention and ski lessons at a great value! This resort caters to the family who has little ones new to the slopes. The only resort in the area that starts kids as young as 3 years old, Tahoe Donner has a popular Learn to Ski program that’s affordable and effective! With 120 skiable acres and 15 total runs, the whole family can enjoy a relaxed, low-key day here!
If you’re looking to elevate your ski vacation, head to Mt. Rose, the highest of the Tahoe ski resorts. Soaring to 8,260’ above elevation, this awesome resort offers the best views of Lake Tahoe hands down! Take in the panoramic views of the beautiful blue waters and then head down one of the 60+ trails covered in fresh powder. There are 3 terrain parks, 8 chairlifts, over 1,200 skiable acres, and lodges where you can warm up and grab a bite to eat.
If you think Tahoe caters only to skiers and snowboarders, think again! A new sport has made its way to Tahoe and it has people doing a double take! Bikes on snow! That’s right, people are biking the trails of Tahoe in the winter on bikes outfitted with fat tires. No longer restricted to the summer months, trail biking is fast becoming a great way to explore the hidden beauty of Tahoe in the winter. You’ll also see families sledding or hitting the dog-friendly meadows to have a fun time with their four-legged friend.
And when it’s time to take off your boots and just sit back and watch for a while, you can catch the Audi Fis Ski World Cup at Squaw Valley in March. See Olympic champions like Lindsay Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin compete in slalom races for the first time in Tahoe in 19 years.
With over 22,000 acres of a skiing and snowboarding playground, nine world-class ski resorts, and amazing activities going on every day, the possibilities for winter fun in Tahoe are endless!
Fun in the Sun
The fun doesn’t end in Lake Tahoe when the snow starts to melt! In fact, it’s just getting warmed up! Trade in your skis and mittens for hiking boots and sunscreen and get ready to explore some of the most gorgeous terrain in the country!
An abundance of trails can be found throughout Lake Tahoe and vary in difficulty from easy to strenuous. One of the most popular trails in Tahoe is the Tahoe Rim Trail that offers panoramic views of the breathtaking blue waters below and the valleys that surround it. Hikers choose this trail for its solitude and beauty. This 150-mile trail, which includes an equestrian trail and passes through six counties in two states, is planned and maintained by an all-volunteer organization. It is generally moderate in difficulty and ranges in elevation from 6,300-9,400 feet.
A popular hiking activity in and around Lake Tahoe is to go on wildflower hikes! During the late spring and early summer, the wildflowers of Tahoe are at their most beautiful and abundant, making these hikes exciting and picturesque. Bring your camera along so you can capture the blooming beauty of pink monkey flowers and red alpine paintbrush along these hikes: Big Meadow, Frog Lake, and Winnemucca Lake (South Shore); Marlette Lake (East Shore); Cascade Falls to Snow Lake, Eagle Lake, Velma Lake, and Fontanillis Lake (West Shore); Donner Lake, Donner Pass-Pacific Crest Trail, Mt. Rose, and Squaw Valley (North Shore). These easy hikes are generally between 2-6 miles long and are great for a family activity.
Divided into four quadrants (North, South, East, West), Lake Tahoe has a multitude of hiking trails to choose from. Many have free telescopes for use, self-guided tours, and history of the area.
For a less-strenuous activity, head out into the azure-blue waters of Lake Tahoe and drop your line. Filled with Brown and Rainbow Tahoe Trout and Mackinaw and Kokanee Salmon, your odds of bringing home a tasty meal are pretty good! There are several charter fishing companies that know exactly where to go to ensure success! Or head to a local stream or river for some shore fishing instead. Sauté your catch of the day back at your campsite or take it to one of the local restaurants where they’ll gladly prepare it to your liking.
If your idea of a good time is strapping on a helmet and hopping on your bike, then you’re in good company in Tahoe! Whether you go road biking or backcountry mountain biking, there’s plenty for you to choose from. Families can enjoy leisurely bike rides with gorgeous views of the lake, or die hards can connect trails to reach seven summits in one day. The famous loop around the lake is an ambitious one at 72 miles long, but with all the gorgeous scenery to distract you, you might forget how tired your legs are. And with Lake Tahoe beaches located just off the trails, you can take a dip to cool off and relax whenever you want.
Hit the Links, Casinos, or Shops
As if you need any more reasons to start planning your trip to Lake Tahoe, you can also play a round of golf during the day and then hit the blackjack table at night for some tee-to-table fun! Or cap off a fun day of shopping with a relaxing massage. This spectacular outdoor playground offers some of the most amazing year-round recreation and magnificent views you’ll find anywhere!
Have you visited Lake Tahoe? What’s your favorite time of year to go? Tell us in the comments! We want to hear from you!