Lake Tahoe is known to travelers all over the world. It is loved for its spectacular views, for which it is not necessary to go to the mountains for hours. At the same time, there are also precious places where people rarely wander. This mountain resort has a spirit of active recreation and unity with nature at the same time, which attracts millions of tourists every year. Read more in today's story from Travellizy.
American record holder
The lake is located at an altitude of 1900 m above sea level, and is the largest alpine lake in North America. Hidden on the ridges of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, it occupies several positions among the best of the best: the second deepest and in the top in terms of fresh water in the national list. The depth of Lake Tahoe reaches 501 m, and the first place is occupied by Crater Lake, which we wrote about in our article "Crater Lake: the deepest lake in the United States".
The size of the lake is impressive: 35 by 19 kilometers. To simply drive around Tahoe along the perimeter, get ready to travel about a hundred kilometers along narrow mountain roads with extremely limited parking.
Tahoe is split between two states
The lake sits on the border of two states: California and Nevada. Administratively, two-thirds of the Tahoe area belongs to California, and a third to Nevada. Distance to San Francisco is 330 km and is about the same to San Jose, the largest city of Bay Area. Driving from Sacramento is less than two hours (185 km).
Despite the remoteness from large cities, order and security are maintained here. Several different services at once control what is happening in the district, which helps millions of guests enjoy their vacation around the clock. Thanks to its protected status, the lake is famous for its purity: the chemical composition of the Tahoe water impurities differs only by thousandths of a percent from the bottled one in the stores.
From an industrial area to a resort
The development of the area began in the middle of the 19th century, when hunters for silver and other minerals rushed to these lands. At the same time, railway tracks began to be built here. The mines needed a tremendous amount of wood, and massive logging continued for decades. The mines quickly lost profitability, but the tourism business replaced them. Tahoe is California's most advertised mountain resort. The flow of tourists here is year-round, therefore, when traveling, book hotels and camping sites in advance.
Holiday for every taste
No matter if it's a small tent or a luxury hotel, whatever you choose, there are so many options to spend a good time around, that it's an embarrassment of riches. Quick access to skiing and snowboarding in winter, snowmobile rentals - and it's five hours away from the Pacific Ocean! In summer, travelers enjoy golf, fishing, boat trips, kayaking or windsurfing on the lake, or a relaxing beach holiday.
They often come here to hold solemn wedding ceremonies. There are many private breweries and distilleries in the area, so here you can taste rare local spirits. Almost every warm summer evening, small concert venues are organized throughout the town, where beer, cocktails, wine and simple snacks are served.
Camping sites and trailer parks
If you are tired of living within the four walls of an apartment and houses, then Lake Tahoe offers you an opportunity to change routine habits. Numerous camping sites await tourists with tents: they start the day by waking up at dawn, breathing in the clean mountain air filled with the scent of conifers. The California pine varieties common here are natural-born survivalists who calmly survive fires and droughts, unlike the locals.
Camping sites are in the forest or overlooking the lake, and they usually work only in the warm season: from mid-May to mid-October. Also, fans of autonomous recreation can come on their own or rented trailer (mobile home), and stay in recreation areas created specifically for this type of vehicle. It is called RV Park and such recreation is very popular among families with children and among pensioners: proximity to nature for children and the necessary comfort for the older generation. The best time for camping is late spring and summer, when the sun warms up the soil and you can walk along the trails.
Casinos and resorts for gamblers
Features of US law restrict gambling in California. Whereas Nevada, on the contrary, is historically famous for the fact that slot machines can be seen here at any gas station. Therefore, tourists from California who like to tickle their nerves with bets can walk a couple of hundred meters, cross the state line for a game or two of poker. The casinos are open 24 hours a day, so guests are always welcome, at least as long as they have money. Due to the status of the resort and the distance from the larger cities, there is a special atmosphere here. The city of Reno is located 80 km from the lake, where gambling people who cannot afford the resorts of Tahoe come. The city receives its main income from gamblers. The popular satirical series "Reno 911!" was filmed about police officers' everyday life in such towns. And we invite you to familiarize yourself with an excerpt from it.
Reno residents have a humorous attitude towards their status as the gambling capital of the Sierra Nevada. The sign at the entrance to the city reads: "The Biggest Little City in the World". The population of the city is 180 thousand people.
Blue or green?
The huge water surface of the lake reflects the sun rays and the color of the sky, so in the deeper parts, in good weather, the lake looks sapphire. But near the shores, where there is more mist over the water and where the water warms up more, the lake acquires emerald and turquoise colors.
A boat ride with the breeze!
To fully admire all the shades of Lake Tahoe, it is best to rent a boat and go on a boat trip. The rental offices are located near the embankment. To rent a boat, you must show your driving license (you can use the European standard) and be sure to undergo a little training with rescuers.
Bears love Tahoe too!
A huge part of the mountains around Lake Tahoe are rugged, steep rocks and forests. But what will stop an unprepared person is the natural habitat for bears, the most dangerous local predators. There are many bears in California, and their population is growing thanks to the work of ecologists and foresters. Do not think that you will see this adorable and dangerous animal only on the California flag, by no means. When visiting Tahoe, be prepared to meet this predator at any time! For example, in 2016, a family of bears came to a busy beach in the middle of the day. Surprised and enthusiastic vacationers shared a video on social media, in which you can see a mother bear and two playful offspring.
If you are driving to Tahoe from San Francisco or Sacramento, there are only two travel options. I-80 Highway will take you to the northern resorts and Highway 50 to South Tahoe.
Be careful when traveling here by car: these are mountain serpentines, where you cannot violate the speed limit and create dangerous situations on the road with thoughtless maneuvers. It is not recommended to leave public roads without a cross-country vehicle. In winter, when there is snow in the mountains, it is recommended to put on warm clothes, have additional means of communication and non-perishable food for any movement. Experienced drivers recommend checking in advance if your car is ready for winter slippery roads. In case of snow or ice, use snow chains. The local patrol monitors these guidelines and may issue a fine for driving on a winter road without snow chains. The amount of the fine depends on the weather conditions: the worse the weather, the higher the amount!
Winter skiing or swimming in the lake on a sunny summer day - Tahoe always knows how to please its guests. This unforgettable place will give you pleasant impressions and will be remembered for a long time. If you're planning a trip to Northern California, include Lake Tahoe on your travel wishlist. Find more interesting places in the North American continent by tags #USA #California #America
Travellizy's team of experts is always ready to help you plan your trip to the USA and other countries around the world!