Lake Tahoe is a popular vacation and recreation region straddling the border between California and Nevada. The closest large city is Reno, Nevada. It is especially popular in the summer and winter.

The 1960 Winter Olympics, held at Squaw Valley, popularized winter sports at Lake Tahoe.

Things To Do In Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is a beautiful, deep blue lake nestled among mountain peaks. It has depths of up to 1,600 feet and the mountain peaks are in the 8,000 to 10,000-foot range.

During the summer, golfing, boating, camping, and hiking are popular activities. Winter sports are popular during the colder months (December-April). Winter activities include world-class skiing, snowmobiling and ice skating. Year-round activities include shopping, gambling, eating and taking in the scenery.

Enjoy the Lake View

See the views of the Lake from the Homewood Chairlifts.

Explore the Mountain Valley

See the mountain valley on the hike up the Emerald bay hiking trail.

Discover the Hillside Letters

See the hillside letters which are marked on several mountain ranges throughout Nevada. Closest is the ‘C’ in Carson City.

These letters are rumored to be used by pilots who are flying over the planes and use them as directional guides, but really they are a representation of many Nevadan school’s pride, who have placed these letters on hills for centuries.

Most of these letters still remain and have been taken care of by farmers.

Do Horseback Riding

There are many places to go horseback riding in Lake Tahoe. Below is a list of stables where they offer guided trails and tours of Lake Tahoe mountain ranges.

  • Camp Richardson’s Corral
  • Cascade Stables
  • Northstar Stables
  • Squaw Valley Stables

Go Skiing

There are many ski resorts in the Tahoe region for skiers and snowboarders. Lifts are open whenever the snows begin (usually around mid-November) and close when the weather becomes too warm and the snow stops (usually around mid to late-April).

Alpine Meadows (North Shore)

On Highway 89 between Tahoe City and Interstate 80; Alpine is one of the most well-established resorts in Lake Tahoe, it boasts a large network of new high-speed lifts and enough variety in its terrain to satisfy any level of skier.

Alpine also features ticket prices significantly lower than its competitors, while regulating the number of skiers on the mountain to limit crowds.

Homewood (North Shore)

On Highway 89/West lake boulevard Homewood is a large resort covering two mountains with variable terrain and many different ski runs, located directly on the lake and producing some of the best views of the lake, 6 miles south of Tahoe City. Typically, Homewood is the least busy resort, has cheaper tickets than most (including a $99 senior season pass).

The smaller crowds mean better skiing longer after storms and more relaxed attitude than some Tahoe areas. Its main downside is that it has no detachable high-speed chairlifts, although they have just replaced their oldest and slowest main double chair with a modern triple chair.

Northstar (North Shore)

Lifts open daily from 8:30AM-4PM (weather permitting). Northstar Dr. (off Highway 267, near Truckee), A popular beginner and family-friendly resort, with slopes much less steep than at most other major resorts.

Just built “The Village” at the base of the mountain with shops, restaurants, living spaces, and an outdoor ice skating rink. Expect large crowds on major holiday weekends.

Squaw Valley (North Shore)

On highway 89 between Tahoe City and interstate 80; Squaw is possibly the most well-known resort in all of California and the setting for the book Squallywood. A complete skier’s paradise- magazine favorite for its varied terrain, huge size, and massive high-speed lift system; and a former Olympic village.

Its oversized reputation also presents a downside: crowds that even on a mountain the size of Squaw can swamp the intermediate lifts and result in lines.

Heavenly (South Shore)

Owned by Vail Resorts, located on the state line (so half casinos, half not)and half the skiing in California and half in Nevada. Beginner and family-friendly with considerably more terrain than many area resorts have hosted World Cup ski races.

Kirkwood (South Shore)

About 45 minutes from South Lake Tahoe, it features one of the highest base elevations and most consistent snowpacks in the Sierra. Off the beaten path, but not as crowded as Sierra at Tahoe or Heavenly with a larger variety of terrain than either.

Sierra at Tahoe (South Shore)

Here the slopes are steeper than at Northstar and less well maintained, more of an adventurous place to ski than Northstar is usually not quite as crowded.

Diamond Peak (in Nevada)

Family-friendly resort with slopes for all ski levels. Great for beginners and kids and has convenient parking, easy, wide slopes and breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe.

Mount Rose (in Nevada)

Highest base elevation in the Tahoe Basin, and the closest major ski area to Reno it is a favorite of locals, and the site of some of the best chute skiing in Tahoe.

Beyond Donner Pass

If you are heading east from the Bay Area, you have some skiing choices. These resorts are all on Highway 80 going East before you hit Donner Pass.

Boreal Ridge

At the peak on the highway at about 7000 feet, usually one of the first areas to open every year, with extensive night skiing and snowmaking coverage, this area was one of the first to market with a snowboard terrain park.

Royal Gorge

A cross-country ski area.

Sugar Bowl

A resort that consistently among the ski areas with the highest annual snowfalls in the US, good varied terrain and an extensive network of high-speed lifts, they are also beginning to build a village at the base of Mt. Judah like that at Squaw Valley.

Soda Springs

A small area opens primarily on weekends near the Mt. Judah entrance to Sugar Bowl.

Go Hiking

There are several parks along the shore and nearby, including Bliss State Park and Emerald Bay State Park.

There are many trails in the nearby Desolation Wilderness including Mount Tallac Trail.


  • Sand Harbor, northeast shore
  • Chamber’s Landing, west shore, south of Tahoe City
  • Meek’s Bay, west shore, south of Tahoe City
  • Tahoe City, North shore, in Tahoe City
  • Emerald Bay, west shore, south of Homewood on 89

Boat trips

The Tahoe Queen at Ski Run Marina and the M.S. Dixie II at Zephyr Cove Resort are both authentic Mississippi Style Paddle-wheel boats. They offer daytime scenic sightseeing cruises to Emerald Bay in addition to dinner dance cruises.

Several charter services offer boat tours to the mansions that dot the lakeshore. Tahoe Keys Boat and Charter Rentals and Ski Run Boat Company offer guided boat tours of Lake Tahoe.


Gambling is a popular activity year-round, many other activities are seasonal. In the winter the skiing in the area is world-class and spread across many varied resorts, other winter activities are snowshoeing and snowmobiling.

Nearby Cities

  • Crystal Bay, Nevada – a town on North Shore with Casinos
  • Homewood – a quaint west shore resort town west of Lake Tahoe
  • Incline Village – a town on the north shore
  • Kings Beach, California – a town on the north shore; good places to eat
  • South Lake Tahoe – it’s near the border between California and Nevada. You can head up the road to gamble in Nevada
  • Stateline – it’s just north of South Lake Tahoe and spans the border of the two states. It gives you ‘walk-to’ access for the casinos
  • Tahoe City – on the northwest shore of Lake Tahoe. One of the two main towns on the lake (along with South Lake) this is a smaller more relaxed town with a slight, mountain hippy feel to it. Tahoe City is considerably less crowded and more relaxed than South Lake Tahoe
  • Tahoe Vista – a beautiful Lake Tahoe town on the North Shore
  • Truckee – a historic western railroad town northwest of the lake

August 14, 2019 1:50 pm Published by

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