At the eastern border of California and the western edge of Nevada sits the largest freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe. Surrounded by mountains and wilderness on all sides, the region is known for outdoor adventure. A handful of towns dot the water's shoreline, including Tahoe City, Kings Beach, and South Lake Tahoe, which offer a variety of lodging options, restaurants, shopping, and even casinos (on the Nevada side). Ski resorts are plentiful and you can take your pick from Squaw Valley, Northstar, Sierra at Tahoe, Heavenly, Kirkwood, Sugar Bowl, and more. Other Lake Tahoe attractions include Emerald Bay State Park, the 1929 Nordic-style mansion Vikingsholm, and Sand Harbor Beach, as well as trails like the Tahoe Rim Trail, Flume Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail.
The North and South shores of Lake Tahoe most easily accessible by driving from the San Francisco Bay Area to the west or Reno to the east. Interstate 80 borders the north near the town of Truckee and Highway 50 accesses the south, dumping right into South Lake Tahoe. The closest airports are in Reno and Sacramento and shuttles are available. Amtrak also offers service to the area along the California Zephyr Line. Once you are in the area, make use of a handful of bus lines if you'd rather not drive.
Things to Do
Ski or Snowboard: Grab your skis and boots and head to one of many ski resorts. Test your skills at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows or learn to ski at Sugar Bowl or Northstar.
Cross Country Ski: Take in the sights and sounds of the winter snowscape by cross country skiing along a national forest trail or at one of many nordic centers.
Snowshoe: Mix history and winter recreation by snowshoeing at the Historic Camp Richardson, offering stunning views of Emerald Bay.
Vikingsholm Castle: Take a tour of this 38 room medieval castle, located on the shores of Emerald Bay.
Desolation Wilderness: Head deep into the wilderness from a number of trails along the west side of Lake Tahoe, great for day hikes, mountaineering, or multi-day excursions.
Tahoe Flume Trail: A must do for any mountain biker, the Flume Trail is a picturesque and incredibly exposed trail that follows the edge of Lake Tahoe's eastern shore, but from a height of 1,600 feet.
Truckee River: Running from Lake Tahoe at Tahoe City, through Truckee and beyond, the Truckee River offers scenic tubing, mellow rafting, and great fly fishing opportunities.
Lake Tahoe Cruise: A beautiful way to experience the lake, hop aboard a Lake Tahoe Cruise.
Historic Virginia City: Just east of Lake Tahoe, this historic town offers a glimpse into history with original architecture, museums, mines, and a railroad.