Travelers speak of an incredibly blue lake that straddles the California and Nevada state lines, only a few miles from Reno and Carson City. Sandy beaches beckon summer visitors to the water to swim, sail and kayak. In the winter, as snowflakes pile 600 inches deep, 24,000 acres of surrounding terrain lure skiers to its shores. Home to the Winter Olympics in 1960, it evokes an allure of prestige far from its shores. It is the incredible Lake Tahoe.
6,229 feet above sea level, with an average depth of 989 feet, Lake Tahoe contains 122,160,280 acre feet of water within its 72 miles of shoreline. Those acres represent enough water to cover the states of California and Texas more than 6 inches deep. With average water temperatures ranging between 41-68 degrees Fahrenheit, Lake Tahoe attracts visitors from throughout the United States.
Not everyone jumps into the water, however. Some come for the nightlife that can be found in the many casinos that surround the lake, such as the Eldorado Hotel Casino, the Grand Sierra Resort & Casino, Harrah’s/Harveys, the Montbleu Resort Casino & Spa, the Peppermill Hotel Casino, the Silver Legacy Resort Casino, the Atlantis Casino Resort-Spa and the Cal Neva Resort Spa & Casino. If the lure of easy money alone is not enough, there is always the attraction of concerts with major entertainers. The Eagles, Chris Isaak, Paul Simon, Toby Keith, Sammy Hagar, Widespread Panic, Rascal Flats and John Mellencamp have all played at Lake Tahoe.
In the winter, the area surrounding Lake Tahoe offers lessons in downhill and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, x games and wilderness cabins, in addition to the annual SNOWfestival Winter Carnival held in North Lake Tahoe. Inventors test launch “snow-mobiles” off the ski jump at the Diamond Peak Ski Resort and professional skiers compete in various North American and national championships. With more than twice the average winter snowfall found in the Rocky Mountains, skiers traverse trails that include the 1,200-foot canyons at Heavenly and The Chutes at Mt Rose-Ski Tahoe. Winter visitors to Lake Tahoe can also participate in the Mardi Gras celebration at the Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort or visit Squaw Valley USA, host of the 1960 Winter Olympics.
Farmer’s markets and many celebrity golf tournaments happen around Lake Tahoe during the summer months. Golf courses include the Bijou Municipal Golf Course, the Carson Valley Golf Course, the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, the Genoa Lakes Golf Resort, the Montreux Golf Course and the Tahoe Paradise Golf Club. Arts festivals appear, such as the Italian Street Painting Festival, the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, the Lake Tahoe Festival of Fine Arts and the Valhalla Arts & Music Festival.
After attending the rodeo that occurs in Truckee, many summer visitors return to the water of Lake Tahoe for lessons in water skiing, sailing and wakeboard. Fishing and lake tours are offered, in addition to a 2-3 hour, 5-mile self-guided float on the Truckee River. The M.S. Dixie II and the Tahoe Queen paddle wheel boats have scheduled cruises. Also available are rentals of aqua cycle trikes and paddle boats.
Disembarking from watercraft, visitors to Lake Tahoe are able to participate in an interpretive walking trail that leads to an underground chamber and offers a view of the Taylor Creek stream environment, or they can take to the air in hot air balloons. Visitors can also join guided horseback trail rides or hop a ride on a hay wagon or carriage. If they still need to unwind, the Tahoe Amusement Park is open to visitors.
Since no trip is complete without shopping, Lake Tahoe offers a variety for visitors. From the Summit Sierra Shopping Mall in Reno to unique local shops to shopping at casinos and resorts, there are items of interest for most shoppers. When shopping is done, there is an abundance of dining choices to savor, from local entries to Starbucks.
Lake Tahoe waits to welcome visitors. Further information is available through the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. Visitor’s centers for the Lake Tahoe Region are also located in both California and Nevada.