In this post we are going to start a series we will be doing here at Healthy Living. The series of articles is going to concentrate on the best mountain towns. Going forward we will be posting an article on many mountain towns from all over the world. We are going to start with Lake Tahoe. I am currently a resident of South Lake Tahoe so it seems fitting to start here.
In this best mountain town article we are going to be covering a few topics including Lake Tahoe itself, summers, winters and all the towns that surround the lake. I hope you find it enjoyable and informative.
Lake Tahoe is an alpine lake located in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. The lake is the second deepest in the USA measuring 501 metres at its deepest point. At its longest points it measures twenty-two miles long and twelve miles wide. Its circumference is seventy-two miles, taking about two and a half hours to drive the whole way around. Lake Tahoe sits 1897 metres above sea level, two-thirds of the lake sit in California and one third in Nevada. The highest peak in the Tahoe Basin; Freel Peak reaches out 3320 metres above sea level.
Lake Tahoe is two million years old and is said to be one of the top 20 oldest lakes in the world. The water is 99.9% pure and is some of the purest water in the world. If, you were to pour the lakes contents out over the state of California the water would be fourteen inches deep. Sixty-Three tributaries flow into the lake with only one river flowing out; the Truckee river in Tahoe City.
The lake is quite spectacular and naturally is a huge tourist destination in both winter and summer. It has a year round population of fifty-three thousand people but can reach up to three hundred thousand people at its peak. Due to its close proximity to both the Nevada and California state capitals, Carson City and Sacramento respectively it gets a huge amount of locals visiting on holidays and weekends. It also attracts a lot of the locals from the Bay Area and San Francisco. Factoring in these locals and the rest of the tourists from all over the US and rest of the world three million people visit Lake Tahoe each year.
Lake Tahoe Towns
There are many small towns around the lake but we are gonna focus on the most popular ones starting with Incline Village. Located at the north end of the lake in Nevada, Incline Village has always been popular with the wealthy and retired. Offering no income tax due to its location in Nevada and spectacular views of Crystal Bay and the lake in general there is no wonder why.
There are many beautiful properties lining the shores in Incline Village and many boast their own private beaches. Burnt Cedar, Incline and Ski Beach are just a few. There is also the lovely Hermits beach which is a public beach and Sand Harbour is located just two and a half miles south.
Many people visit Incline each year to enjoy the many activities, casinos, shops and restaurants. Its close proximity to Diamond Peak and Mount Rose Ski resorts make it a great winter and summer location.
Staying in North Lake our next town is Kings Beach. Located in between Incline Village and Tahoe City on highway 28 just after Crystal Bay. Kings Beach is a lakeside community known for its easy going nature and offers access to lots of beaches. There is one dog beach located at Coon Street Boat Launch, further beaches include Kings Beach, Moon Dunes Beach and Secline Beach. All offer great views of the lake and surrounding mountains and great access to the lake for a variety of water activities. Offering great restaurants, bars, hotels, shopping and stunning beach views it is a must see Tahoe location.
Tahoe City is next and another location in the north of the lake. Tahoe City is located north-west of the lake close to Truckee, another town we will cover. Tahoe City is a favoured location on Lake Tahoe. Having century old heritage, great historic sites and museums it is a place to really learn the culture and history of the lake. Offering a world-class recreation centre this is a great destination for families.
Beautiful beaches, a lakeside trail system and parks help make Tahoe City a go to Tahoe destination. With great bars and restaurants, boutique cafes, art galleries, high end accommodation and all the lake activities you can think of Tahoe City is a winner.
Our final north lake town is Truckee. Truckee is the only town in this article that is not located directly on the lake. None the less its close proximity and railway heritage mean we must tell you about it. Formerly known as Coburn Station which commemorates a saloon keeper it was renamed after a Paiute Chief called Tru-Ki-Zo.
Truckee has a very wild west feel to it and was a railway hub. The Amtrak transcontinental railroad runs straight through the town and you can still catch the train in and out of there today. The train ride may not be too fast but is absolutely beautiful and if you can, you should really try and take a ride. Truckee also has an airport which makes it a Tahoe travel hub.
Great bars, restaurants, boutique shops and cafes line the Truckee strip with the famous Truckee Hotel at the end which has been there since 1873. It is truly the best spot to stay in Truckee due to its immense history and great location.
Our final two towns are located at the south of the lake right next door to each other. The aptly named town of South Lake Tahoe and the area of Stateline. We will start with South Lake Tahoe. Located on the California side of the lake South Lake offers a wealth of activity and entertainment. Probably the biggest tourist hot spot around the lake due to Heavenly Village. Heavenly Village houses a huge Marriott, restaurants, bars, a cinema, shops, and an ice rink just to name a few things, oh as well as he heavenly village gondola offering access the huge resort of heavenly that sits on both California and Nevadan soil. It also offers one of the greatest views out of a gondola I have ever seen. It is truly beautiful.
South Lake has many beaches to offer you also some of which include, D. L Bliss, Baldwin. Kiva, Pope, Regan, El Dorado, Nevada, Zephyr and Round Hill Pines
South Lake Tahoe stretches down highway 50 to the ‘Y’ area. The whole of South Lake is definitely on the up with lots of development happening. More and more higher end housing, new bars, restaurants, a Whole foods and various other things are currently in the works. You can find pretty much anything in South Lake which makes it very popular with tourists and locals all year round. Another perk of South Lake is Stateline. Sat right next door, Stateline offers what the locals call casino way. There are four high rise casinos, Harveys, Harrahs, Mont Bleu and Hard Rock, all offering luxury accommodation, dining, drinking, gambling, clubs and a multitude of live shows all year round. A real place of debauchery!!!!
Stateline is not just about casinos though offering golf at the resort of Edgewood, Nevada Beach and Zephyr Cove all great places to see spectacular lake views. The famous Kingsbury Grade lies just over Stateline also.
Lake Tahoe in the summer is really something else. You would be hard pushed to find a place where you can do as much and where it is so beautiful. It is maybe one of the few mountain towns that is as busy if not busier in the summer than the winter. Listed below are some of the things to do in a Tahoe Summer:
- Boats and Jetskis
- Historic Sites
- Live Music
Offering 274 days of sunshine a year most of which come over the spring and the summer Tahoe really is a summer destination you have to visit at least once in your lifetime.
Summer offers you a chance to visit one of Tahoes many state parks. Below are just a few of our favourites and what can be done within them:
- Van Sickle Bi-State Park: Spread over the boarder of California and Nevada Van Sickle offers hiking, biking, equestrian trails as well as some beautiful historic buildings.
- Washoe Meadows: This valley of woodlands and meadows provides river fishing, the opportunity to see all manner of wildlife and many walking trails.
- Emerald Bay: Set high up above the lake with panoramic views to die for. This could be the best view point of lake in the whole of Tahoe
- Sand Harbour: A popular beach for swimming, kayaking and boating with beautiful rocks and mountain views.
- Cave Rock, Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park: So named due to the drive through mountain. You can chill on the rocky beach or take a walk up to the top of the rock, its quick and relatively quick and easy. Another great vantage point for viewing the lake and surrounding mountains.
Lake Tahoe is a winter wonderland. At lake level Tahoe averages 125 inches of snowfall each year. The ski resorts of which there are many average between 300-500 inches per year. Pair that with the huge amount of blue bird sunshine days and you have a great place to play in the snow. Below are all the ski resorts around the lake.
- Squaw Valley
- Mount Rose
- Diamond Peak
- Donner Ski Ranch
- Soda Springs
- Tahoe Donner
- Alpine Meadows
Not only is there the vast amount of skiing and snowboarding to be done around the lake there are other fun activities to do in the winter months. There are snow mobile tours, cross-country skiing, tubing and sledging, sleigh rides as well as all the spas and areas for relaxing next to the fire with a hot chocolate or maybe something a wee bit stronger.
As mountain towns go Lake Tahoe has many and all have their charm and reasons to visit. Whether you are planning a trip in winter or summer Tahoe will definitely amaze and wow you in to never leaving or planning your next visit. I have made it my home for the past eighteen months and it most definitely has my heart.