Carved out by glaciers and volcanoes, Lake Tahoe, California, offers many recreational opportunities. Mountains cup one side of the crystal clear lake, which holds 39 trillion gallons of water and is fed by 63 streams and two hot springs, according to the North Lake Tahoe Visitors Bureau. In the summer, the 191 square miles of water host several water activities, and the mountains provide scenic views from more than 10,000 feet up. In the winter, an average of 400 inches of snowfall entices outdoor enthusiasts with skiing, sledding and snowshoeing.
Numerous hiking trails in the Sierra Nevada wilderness area surround Lake Tahoe. You can hike to an elevation topping 10,000 feet or roam down by the edge of the lake. There are many trails to choose from, but a few come specially recommended by the North Lake Tahoe Visitors Bureau.
For a short hike, Shirley Canyon is a good choice; it takes about 2 1/2 hours. For hikers eager to see a view of the valley, Rubicon Peak is the place to go with its 9,183-foot elevation. For hard-core hikers who are up to a challenging climb, Eagle Falls offers steep terrain and several lakes.
There are several beaches at Lake Tahoe, and they offer much more than just sunbathing.
Sugar Pine Pointe State Park on the west shore has a long pier for diving and a hiking trail that begins at the base of lower Eagle Falls and goes all the way to the bay. You can also see the Ehrman Mansion.
Check out Patton Beach at Carmelian Bay for a nature walk and a small building that offers concerts and movies every week during the summer.
Kings Beach is west of Cal Neva Resort & Casino and features rock formations where you can climb and hop.
In addition to the 12 ski resorts for alpine skiing, backcountry ski enthusiasts will find vast territory for more independent adventures. These trails are for advanced, skilled skiers only and should be attempted only if you are aware of safety and hazardous conditions. See a map of trails at the backcountry website found in the resources section.
Join a team of huskies for a dogsledding adventure with Wilderness Adventure Dog Sled Tours. You will leave from the resort at Squaw Creek and go out for an hourlong tour of the valley while accompanied by a professional guide. The company offers day tours or sunset tours, and children are allowed to join in the fun, as well.
Resort at Squaw Creek
400 Squaw Creek Road
Olympic Valley, CA 96146