Lake Tahoe, or “The Lake in the Sky,” is the second deepest lake in the United States and one of the top 10 clearest lakes in the entire world. Surrounded by the Sierra Nevada mountains, Lake Tahoe boasts 75-miles of shoreline, is 22-miles long, and 12-miles wide. Only one and a half hours East of San Francisco (200 miles) and an hour west of Reno, NV (55 miles), it’s no wonder that Lake Tahoe has become one of the most popular vacation destinations in North America
I recently took a trip to Lake Tahoe in late September and it’s definitely one of the best times to go: summer’s over and it’s right before ski season starts. The weather is perfect with highs in the 70s and lows in the 40 to 50 range. My friends and I definitely took advantage of the weather to enjoy as much of the beautiful outdoors that Lake Tahoe has to offer. We mostly stayed in South Lake Tahoe, but to get from either end of the lake only takes about an hour
For a weekend trip with your buddies, this is definitely the place to be. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone and if you’re not the outdoorsy type, give Lake Tahoe a shot. I guarantee this destination will change your mind
Disclaimer: all the photos in this blog post were shot with the Google Pixel 2 XL and edited in Adobe Lightroom. Thanks again Verizon! #Verizon #teampixel
We began our trip with breakfast at The Original Red Hut Waffle Shop. It’s a cute little diner that I immediately fell in love with due to it’s intimate size and friendly wait staff! They serve specials all day until they run out and, of course, I had to get my hands on their “Usual:” 2 eggs any style, served with a side of hash browns and biscuits and gravy. I also ordered a side of bacon because duh (not pictured, unfortunately)
Next door to Red Hut is Free Bird Cafe, a cute little coffee stand that serves up this badass Homemade Chai. It was so yummy! If you’re not feeling a huge breakfast, Free Bird also has fresh donuts and other goodies that you can take on the go if that’s more of your style
Once we were fueled up, we hit the road to our first hike at Castle Rock Loop Trail. The trailhead is located on the Nevada side and was about 15 mins away from Red Hut. The trail itself is 2.7 miles round trip and at about a moderate level of difficulty. The trail markers are a bit confusing so be careful or you might end up doubling the length of the hike (like my group and I did). Once you get to the top, soak it all in because the view is absolutely beautiful
This was the data I collected from the Garmin VivoSmart HR watch that Verizon sent me. Definitely got my workout in during this hike!
From there we grabbed a quick bite at Mountain High Sandwich Co. The sandwich serving sizes were perfect enough to split with a friend without feeling too heavy. They also have house-made kombucha on tap and the flavors were easily one of the best I’ve ever had!
Next stop: Secret Cove. It’s actually a nude beach so I wouldn’t recommend taking small children here, but don’t let that deter you from venturing outside your comfort zone! After a short hike down to the shoreline, I couldn’t help myself by getting in the water. Around this time the water is around 60 degrees. It’s a bit cold, but your body will adjust to the temperature the longer you stay in the water. The sun really helped to keep things feeling like summer wasn’t over. My friends and I had a lot of fun climbing up and down the rocks that studded this section of the lake. Definitely take awesome pictures here. The water is so crystal blue, you might cry!
We decided to end our day with a sunset hike at Eagle Lake Trail. It’s another moderate 1.8-mile hike that leads you to Eagle Lake, which sits right behind Emerald Bay. Side note, Emerald Bay has awesome hikes and if I could go back, I would definitely take the time to canoe or kayak this section of Lake Tahoe. Anyways, once you arrive to Eagle Lake, you’ll be amazed at how serene it is. If you’re into bouldering, word on the street is that Eagle Lake has some pretty awesome boulders
Dinner for the day was at The Beacon Bar & Grill. I probably wouldn’t eat here again tbh. The food was mediocre and over priced. At the end of the day, you’re paying for the view (which I couldn’t even see because we ate after sunset)
The day began with a bomb ass bagel from Dragonfly Bagel Co. It’s a local bakery serving up some pretty mean bagels that you’ll definitely remember. I got the “Ultimate Breakfast Bagel.” Bacon, egg, cheese avocado, and cream cheese smothered between an onion and cheddar bagel. YUMMY
The main activity for day 2 was mountain biking with Flume Trail Bikes. The Flume Trail is 14 miles long and considered a self-guided “moderate” bike ride. I highly disagree. There’s an INTENSE 4.5 mile uphill climb at the beginning that the crew prepares you for, but it’s definitely NOT for the faint of heart. At the summit, the trail does get close to the edge of the mountain so it’s not ideal for those with fear of heights. However, definitely push through it if you’re up to the challenge because the downhill ride is the BEST part. I genuinely had so much fun on this trail and it was my first time mountain biking! I felt so free and it was probably my favorite part of the entire trip
Look at how many calories I burned on this damn trail… *dead* #worthit
To end our day, my friends and I booked a sunset cruise with Tahoe Sailing Charters. We met some pretty interesting locals (who called me out on my BS) and had a jolly good time. The price of the sunset cruise included appetizers, local beer, red and white wine and non-alcoholic beverages. The crew was awesome as well and I highly recommend booking with this company
Our last day began with a pretty unique experience. Clear Kayaking at 9AM on this beautiful ass lake. This guided tour should be on your Lake Tahoe bucket list. There’s no better way to get to know Lake Tahoe than to actually BE on Lake Tahoe. Our tour guide took us across the shoreline for 2.5 hours and he threw in some interesting facts about Lake Tahoe. Did you know that scenes from “The God Father II” were shot here? We also got to see some pretty amazing homes right on the shore. One of the houses we saw belonged to a Saudi Arabian arms dealer, sits on 9 acres of land and sold for $45 million!
Afterwards, we grabbed lunch at a local spot recommended by our tour guide before packing up to go back to Austin.
This trip is definitely one to remember. The scenic views are indescribable and the photos I took do not do it justice. I had a blast being out in the Sierra Nevadas soaking in the crisp, clean air and being in awe of the crystal clear water. If you ever get the chance to pay a visit to Lake Tahoe, I highly recommend that you take advantage of the great outdoors and let that adventurous spirit take control! Thank you again Verizon for supplying me with some fun goodies to take on this trip. And also special thanks to Tahoe South for providing me with some fun facts and tips to prepare me for my adventures. I can’t wait to be back!