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Overview

A mere three-hour drive from San Francisco and encircled by a 72-mile-long road that ranks as one of the most scenic drives in the world, this 191-square-mile emerald lake sparkles at 6,225 feet above sea level. The lake is embraced by peaks (snow-clad in winter and spring) with trails that offer glorious high-in-the-pines hiking in summer, including along the 150-mile Tahoe Rim Trail. Embracing a glacier-carved fjord, South Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay State Park protects some of the most exquisite alpine settings, and includes the Vikingsholm, a summer house patterned on a Scandinavian castle. You can even take to the waters aboard the ...

A mere three-hour drive from San Francisco and encircled by a 72-mile-long road that ranks as one of the most scenic drives in the world, this 191-square-mile emerald lake sparkles at 6,225 feet above sea level. The lake is embraced by peaks (snow-clad in winter and spring) with trails that offer glorious high-in-the-pines hiking in summer, including along the 150-mile Tahoe Rim Trail. Embracing a glacier-carved fjord, South Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay State Park protects some of the most exquisite alpine settings, and includes the Vikingsholm, a summer house patterned on a Scandinavian castle. You can even take to the waters aboard the Tahoe Queen paddle-wheel steamer, or raft the Truckee River just below its outflow from North Lake Tahoe.

For a fish's-eye view of life, head to the Stream Profile Chamber at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center with its plate-glass cut-away stream. There's even golf at Incline Village and Northstar, two other prime ski sites. The cable car at Squaw Valley whisks you up to High Camp for stupendous views at 8,200 feet. The town of South Lake Tahoe spills over into the Nevada community of Stateline, which adds year-round casino action. Festivals include the mid-summer Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival and Lake Tahoe Music Festival. The North Shore also offers casino action at Incline Village.

Christopher Baker
About the Expert

Christopher P. Baker has authored guidebooks to Costa Rica, California, and various Caribbean islands for Frommer's, Lonely Planet, and National Geographic, among others.

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Christopher Baker for Triporati

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Now Happening in Lake Tahoe (Summer)

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Lake Tahoe is a major tourist attraction in both Nevada and California. It is home to a number of ski resorts, summer outdoor recreation, and tourist attractions. Snow and skiing are a significant part of the area's economy and reputation.
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
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