A Jaunt Around Lake Tahoe in Fall

Lake Tahoe is a world renowned summer destination with sandy beaches, crystal clear water, and enough outdoor activities to exhaust an Olympian. Lake Tahoe is also a world renowned winter destination. The high peaks that surround the lake are draped in foot upon foot of snow and people travel far and wide to ski the cliffs of Squaw, the sloping groomers of Northstar, and to show off their best 80’s mogul style down Gunbarrel at Heavenly. However, in the fall, the masses of travelers head south to hibernate for the winter and leave the mountains. They head to New England to have a peep at the leaves. They make pumpkin pie and wear sweaters. Most don’t think to head to Lake Tahoe where, in the fall, the water is too cold to swim in, there is no snow, and most of the trees do not change color. Until now…

When you escape the cities and the traffic of the urban jungles, you arrive at Lake Tahoe a perfect time. The crowds are few and the views are more spectacular than ever. There are only two routes around the shores of a lake that has a 72 mile shore line. The lake has enough liquid in it to cover the entire state of California in a foot of water, and in the fall you can see all of this H20 without having to fight for a great view. There are a few must see” places in the fall, and if you look closely, you will have earned a peek at some outrageously good fall colors. Being from Vermont, a state that stakes its fiscal year on how good the foliage is, I can confidently say that this fall foliage trip around Lake Tahoe is unlike anything you’ve seen before. 

Start in South Lake Tahoe. Try your hand at a round of blackjack at Harrah’s and then head up the Eastern shore to the Marlette Lake hike. Start off at the Spooner Lake parking lot and you will see this at the top: 

I could easily write 1,000 words on this, but I think the picture tells you all that you need to know. It’s a long hike, but it is very much worth your time.

Next, head up around the lake, stop by some shops in Tahoe City and then head up to Squaw Valley to take a ride on the aerial tram. This breathtaking ride will take you up to High Camp with a vast panorama that includes an unforgettable view of the lake. More info on this here: http://​www​.squaw​.com/​t​h​i​n​g​s​-​t​o​-​d​o​/​a​e​r​i​a​l​-​t​r​a​m​-​rides

Now, back-track down towards the lake and head down route 89. Stop at Eagle Rock for a really short hike that overlooks the lake in stunning beauty. Now is a good time to eat your tasty sandwich from the Dam Café. 

After you have had your fill of the views here, trust in the fact that it gets better. Up next is the coup de grâce”. The Granddaddy view to win them all.

Head to Emerald Bay just down the road. Park your car. Get out (again) and walk up to Eagle Falls. This combo of rushing water and a painfully gorgeous view will most assuredly bring you to your knees. Walk around and scale the rocks. Head down to the bay. Soak in this moment.

This area of the lake brings nearly unspeakable beauty. It is almost a shame to even document it by pictures. Poets speak of this place in sonnets of love and hearts soar with the whispering of the words Emerald Bay…”. In short, if you do anything on your trip around the lake, this is the one to see. It’s a tourist’s dream and can be crowded as a result, but there is a reason everyone has come to see it. It is simply that good.

At this point, you will be completely spent. Time to head back to your accommodations, maybe gamble a bit more, and then head to Truckee for more exploring. By this time you have experienced a mere fraction of what Lake Tahoe has to offer in the fall so drink some water, take a deep breath, and prepare to see much, much more…Fall is a very special time around Lake Tahoe so don’t miss it.

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