By Michael Russell
Lake Tahoe is shared by two states, California and Nevada, with two-thirds of the lake located in California and one-third in Nevada. It is situated between the Sierra Nevada and the Carson Range and is surrounded by very large mountainous peaks. It is the eighth largest lake in the world.
The water is crystal clear (99.1 percent pure) and visibility at times measures two-hundred feet deep. It has its own natural filtering system with water filtered through marshes and meadows before running into the lake.
Sixty-three streams and two hot springs feed the lake and make it popular for fishing. Trout and salmon are the natural inhabitants. Mackinaw and Rainbow Trout are found in the waters of Lake Tahoe. Shore fishing is popular, but the Mackinaw Trout are best found at two-hundred foot levels. The Kokanee Salmon is a sport fish, hard to catch and presents a real challenge for the sport fisherman. Lake Tahoe’s fishing season is open year-round and either a California or Nevada fishing license is required.
Lake Tahoe is considered one of the favorite vacation and recreation places, with over two million visitors a year. Summer is the peak season (July 4th through September 1st). It offers the best outdoor activities and entertainment. Hiking, biking, water sports, golfing, camping, fishing and rock climbing are just a few of the outdoor activities enjoyed by visitors to this area.
There are several sandy beaches where sun bathing and swimming can be enjoyed, with even a nude beach for those so inclined. Age requirement on this beach is eighteen years.
There are several areas where visitors can take short hikes, but be aware that proper clothing is required due to possible weather changes. A wilderness hike is available that takes you through the desolate wilderness. It is twelve and one-half miles long with nature in the raw. High water stream crossings and sudden stormy weather can happen any time. A permit is required to take this hike.
Winter sports include skiing (downhill and cross-country), snowmobile and ice skating. The ski slopes have fifteen downhill and twelve cross-country ski ranges. This is the largest ski resort in the United States. Over half of the winter visitors to Lake Tahoe go there to ski.
Rock climbing is done in Bear Valley located in Central High Sierra Nevada, at Phantom Spires and Sugarloaf on South Lake Tahoe. Sugarloaf has a pitch of approximately 350 feet and is a popular climbing site in the winter, while Bear Valley offers climbs no higher than 100 feet. Phantom Spires’ climbing is steep and best climbed in early summer through fall season.
In addition to the outdoor activities, Lake Tahoe boasts some of the best casino hotels around – Caesars, Harrah’s, Harvey’s and Horizon. The casinos present top-notch entertainers year-round and have outdoor concerts in the summer. You can expect world class accommodations at the hotel casinos at Lake Tahoe with luxurious guest rooms, fine dining in their restaurants, swimming pools, spas and, of course, the casinos. Casinos are open twenty-four hours a day with some of the best gaming tables. The accommodations for Harrah’s and Harvey’s have been awarded the AAA Four-Diamond award.
Yes, the casino hotels even have wedding chapels with an experienced staff to help in planning a wedding, reception and honeymoon package. The chapels are beautifully designed and make a lovely setting for a wedding. Bridal suites are also available in the hotels.
So, whether you want outdoor activities or just simply enjoy the luxurious casino hotels, Lake Tahoe is definitely a place to consider for your next vacation.
About the Author
Michael Russell is your Independent guide to Lake Tahoe