I recently visited my mom and sister and we took a day trip to Lake Tahoe, mostly on the Nevada side, with our dogs. It was a bit hazy due to the various wildfire’s smoke blowing into the area. Tahoe is a tourist trap with the crowds to go along with it. Also due to road construction, there was 5 to 10 minute delays in a few different spots. They also have issues with garbage bears. Overall it’s a pretty and fun place to visit.
Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America and its depth is 1,645 feet, making it the second deepest in the United States after Crater Lake in Oregon which is 1,945 feet. Whether you swim, fish, sail, or simply rest on its shores, you’ll be impressed by the overwhelming beauty of Lake Tahoe. Famous for its cobalt-blue water and surrounding snow capped peaks, Lake Tahoe straddles the state line between California and Nevada. The border gives this popular Sierra Nevada resort region a split personality. About half its visitors are intent on low-key sightseeing, hiking, camping, and boating. The rest head directly to the Nevada side, where bargain dining, big-name entertainment, and the lure of a jackpot draw them into the glittering casinos.
Before John C. Fremont found Lake Tahoe in February 1844, the alpine mountain lake was known only to nomadic Native American tribes who journeyed to Tahoe to collect medicinal plants, fish the cool blue water, hunt and gather materials for tools. Then Fremont sighted Tahoe while making his way west, marking Tahoe as a crossing-over point in the Sierras for explorers, settlers and revelers. In the 1860s, though, that all changed. When silver struck in nearby Virginia City, a vibrant lumber community prospered along the shores and into the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe, with settlers cutting timber, processing it in the lake and then shipping it via flume and later rail to Virginia City. The first car made it through the pass in 1905. In 1913, the Lincoln Highway crossed the Sierra as part of the first coast-to-coast paved route. Though replaced by US 40 in 1930, sections of Lincoln Highway are open during the summer as scenic, historic drives. The winter Olympic Games were held in Squaw Valley in 1960 and world-class attention was focused here. Today Lake Tahoe attracts visitors from all over the world to enjoy all of the many activities that are offered here.
To explore the lake area and get a feel for its many differing communities, drive the 72-mile road that follows the shore through wooded flatlands and past beaches, climbing to vistas on the rugged southwest side of the lake and passing through busy commercial developments and casinos on its northeastern and southeastern edges. Another option is to actually go out on the 22-mile-long, 12-mile-wide lake on a sightseeing cruise or kayaking trip. One area I visited on my trip to spend time with my mom and sister was a place called Chimney Beach. You have to drive a little further South of Sand Beach to get to Chimney Beach. Chimney Beach offers a place away from some of the crowds and is a great beach. Chimney Beach is part of LakeTahoe Nevada State Park. Another area I spent time at while I was visiting my mom was Incline Village. Incline Village at Lake Tahoe is named for the Great Incline Tramway built by loggers in 1878. Today, Incline is home to some of Lake Tahoe’s most stunning mountain retreats.
—- Location —-
Lake Tahoe straddles the border between California and Nevada. From the North, I-80 travels close. Exit 185 off of I-80 to get on California Highway 89 and follows signs to the West side of the Lake. From the Northeast side of the Lake, get off of I-80 onto I-580 in Reno, Nevada. Follow I-580 to Carson City, Nevada and exit off onto US-50 (where I-580 ends). Follow US-50 West till you get to the Eastern side of the Lake you want to go to. There are additional ways to get to Lake Tahoe, depending on which direction you are coming from.
—- Park Camping —-
In the Northeast quarter of Lake Tahoe, there are 3 campground areas that are a part of Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park. In the Spooner Lake and backcountry area, there is camping that is allowed in three primitive, walk-in campgrounds: Marlette Peak, Hobart, and North Canyon. Each campground has a restroom and campsites with picnic tables, fire rings and bear-resistant food and trash storage boxes. While camping, store food and trash in these boxes. Pack it in, pack it out: when you depart, remove all food and trash from the boxes so they are available for use by other campers. Dispersed camping is not allowed around Marlette Lake or anywhere else within park boundaries.
—- Free Camping —-
Based on https://freecampsites.net/#!Carson+City,+NV,+United+States there are 11 free campsites within 30 miles of Carson City Nevada.
—- Area Camping —-
—- Hiking & Biking & Horseback riding —-
In the Northeast quarter of the Lake Tahoe area, there are three outstanding hiking trails. The first is the Mount Rose 10 mile trail. As one of the tallest peaks in the Lake Tahoe area, Mount Rose towers over Reno and the North Shore of the lake. The trailhead is located at the highest year-round pass in the country (8,900 feet) on Highway 431 and climbs to 10,776 feet. The second trail in the area is the Spooner to Marlette Lake 9.5 mile loop trail. To access the beautiful fish hatchery of Marlette Lake, start at the Spooner Lake parking lot and follow the North Canyon trail through aspen and pine trees. The trail is popular with mountain bikers, so keep an eye out for them as they zoom down the trail. The third trail is the Tahoe Meadows Interpretive Trail which is a 1.2-mile loop. This short and easy hike is great for families with small children or people with disabilities.
—- Things to do —-
Visit Sand Harbor which is one of the best beaches on the Northeast quarter of Lake Tahoe. It has several small but beautiful beach areas, with one cove that has access to the rocks and boulders. Spend hours climbing over the submerged boulders and climbing on the exposed ones. There are sizes and depths for all ages to enjoy. Chimney Beach is down a mile farther to the South from Sand Harbor. You’ll have to hike to get there but it is not as crowded as Sand Harbor and a very nice beach. If you get a chance go and see Incline Village. This Eastern North Shore area has some of the areas most relaxing beaches and a laid-back approach to Lake life. In summer, theatergoers congregate to see the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival at nearby Sand Harbor.
—- References —-