Lake Tahoe is a place whose natural beauty inspires its array of outdoor adventures.
Winter months welcome runs down alpine slopes, and in the summer months, you can hike in the morning and take a cool afternoon dip at the beach. Here are some top picks for Lake Tahoe outdoor adventure, from laid-back to thrilling and somewhere in between.
On the Snow
The Sierra Nevada Mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe are one of the premier ski destinations in the USA. Downhill ski, snowboard, cross-country ski or go snow tubing at one of Lake Tahoe’s ski resorts including Heavenly, Kirkwood and Sierra at Tahoe.
Skiing with views of the lake from Heavenly Mountain Resort
On the Water
The beach at Camp Richardson is your gateway to water recreation on the lake. Board a pedal boat cruise, or go kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. You can also rent a pontoon boat or kayak and spend the afternoon on the lake.
Boating adventures on the lake at Camp Richardson
Climb aboard the Scenic Gondola at Heavenly Mountain Resort for spectacular views of Lake Tahoe. At the top, stop off for lunch at Tamarack Lodge and Bar, before taking the Tamarack Express chairlift to the next level for more camera-ready vistas and hiking trails.
The ultimate bird’s-eye view from the Scenic Gondola at Heavenly Mountain Resort
In Emerald Bay State Park, descend the short but steep Vikingsholm Trail to the Scandinavia-inspired Vikingsholm Castle. For a more strenuous hike, try the Mt. Tallac Trailhead for views of Lake Tahoe and the Desolation Wilderness. Families with kids will enjoy an easy hike from Eagle Falls on the Eagle Lake Trail, or the Rubicon Trail, a lakeside path that weaves through alpine forests.
Pausing on a hike of Emerald Bay State Park to gaze at the scenic vistas
Soar at an elevation of 3,000 meters on the Blue Streak zip line at Heavenly Mountain Resort, where you’ll cruise at speeds up to 80 kph while taking in one of the best views of the lake. Or, try the Silver Rush zip line to glide through the trees with views of the Carson Valley’s high desert wilderness.
High-speed thrills on the Blue Streak zip line
Fat Tire Biking
Fat bikes are equipped with wider, lightweight tires made for off-road trailblazing, especially on sand, snow or mud. Rent one to zoom along a beach trail in the summer months or zip down mountain bike trails in the winter snow.
The best Lake Tahoe spots to be awed by the Milky Way include Emerald Bay, Cave Rock Boat Launch and Camp Richardson. Sign up for a tour, where your guide will give you a brief astronomy lesson, point out the constellations and provide cosmic views through a telescope.
Stars over Mount Tallac and Maggies Peaks reflecting in Taylor Creek
From November through Easter, Heavenly Village features an outdoor ice skating rink tucked among the quaint shops and restaurants complete with mountain views. Listen to music under the lights as you glide across the ice, and warm up after with a cozy cup of hot cocoa.
Nighttime ice skating at Heavenly Village
Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series
The Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harvey’s features a 4,000-seat amphitheater that hosts major acts like Lady Gaga, Elton John, Lenny Kravitz and more. Every summer, the parking lot at Harvey’s is transformed into a large yet intimate arena for top entertainment on cool Lake Tahoe summer nights.
Sunset over the lake during a summer concert
Natural Wonders Meet Resort Perks
Park yourself in a beach chair at the Camp Richardson resort to enjoy the lakeside vibe, or stay at the Edgewood Tahoe for a luxurious spa day. For dining out, head to the Riva Grill, a foodie favorite with serene lake and mountain vistas. The Boathouse on the Pier is another fun spot, especially if you sit outside with a cocktail and watch the sunset.
Sipping cocktails by the pool at Edgewood Tahoe resort
Fly into Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO), rent a car and drive less than an hour to your destination. Connecting flights or rental cars are also available from San Francisco, Sacramento, Oakland and San Jose international airports.