Things to Do in Lake Tahoe
About Lake Tahoe
Welcome to California’s outdoor vacation headquarters! No matter the season, you can find outdoor fun to suit any style in Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe sits astride California’s eastern and Nevada’s western state line, in the Sierra Nevada. It’s a true skiers paradise, complete with all the snow toys a family or group can stand. Tahoe has it all — world-class resorts, sizzling star-studded night life, and breath-taking mountain views.
There’s South Lake Tahoe, with three alpine ski resorts and more cross country ski areas, or North Lake Tahoe, boasting eleven alpine ski resorts and multiple cross country ski areas. During the summer months, the Lake Tahoe area is a mecca for water sports and other beach activities. Summer activities in the area include boating, water skiing, climbing, hiking, and fishing, and much, much more.
Getting to Lake Tahoe/Truckee:
Driving. There are several highways leading into the Lake Tahoe/Truckee area. Interstate 80 from the West (Sacramento, California) and from the East (Reno, Nevada) is a popular route to the Tahoe/Truckee region. For those driving from Sacramento to the South Shore of Lake Tahoe, there is Highway 50.
Travelers from Los Angeles may prefer Highway 395 to the Highway 50 junction in Carson City, Nevada. From the San Francisco Bay Area, driving times vary, but given clear roads and normal traffic conditions, plan on spending between 3.5 and 4.5 hours on the drive. Bring tire chains in the Winter months.
Lake Tahoe and the surrounding areas all experience four seasons. Since Tahoe is predominantly a resort area there are definite patterns with respect to tourist visits. The high seasons, the summer and the winter ski season, bring visitors from all over the country with the majority from the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento.
In the summer, we look forward to days that are usually warm with frequent afternoon thunder storms and cool clear nights. In the winter, days are usually clear and sunny with an occasional storm that supplies us with our famous Sierra snow. Grey overcast days are an exception. Days are comfortable and nights are cold. In the summer, bring light clothing and a light jacket for the evening. When Does it Snow? Snowstorms in the summer are a rare and pleasant change – don’t be surprised if you see one in July or August! However, the snow never sticks to the ground during summer.
Winter snowfall in the Sierra is usually plentiful and can vary tremendously from area to area and neighborhood to neighborhood. Higher elevations accumulate much more snow, even a fifty or a hundred foot elevation change can make a big difference. Micro climates in the winter are very evident. As an example, changes from one neighborhood to the adjacent neighborhood can be significant. If you’re going to be a winter resident you should ask us about these micro climates. If you’re new to the area, bring your warm winter clothing and a pair of snow boots during cold weather.
>Back in 1844, John Fremont, Kit Carson, and 40 others came upon Lake Tahoe. Fremont named it Lake Bonpland after a French botanist who accompanied an earlier expedition. City founders in Placerville renamed the lake Lake Bigler in honor of John Bigler, California’s third governor, who led a rescue party to Lake Tahoe in 1852 to save a group of snowbound travelers. Bigler fell into disfavor after the outbreak of the Civil War when he was accused of being a Southern sympathizer.
Other names were suggested and finally it was left to a map maker with the Department of the Interior, William Henry Knight, to choose a new name. He pursued the question with California writer Dr. Henry DeGroot who finally came up with “Tahoe” which he believed meant “big water or “high water” in the native Washoe Indian language. In 1945 Lake Tahoe officially got its name.