IN THE SUMMER of 2010, a decade after moving west from New York City, I heard the perfect description of Lake Tahoe: “Alpine Caribbean.” I was on the beach, about to glide across the water
on a stand-up paddleboard, when I heard the
phrase and realized that although Tahoe’s
temps are not nearly as welcoming, the magnificence of the see-through crystal-blue water
definitely compares to the splendor of that sun-splashed land. As school wraps up, thoughts
turn to summer getaways; here are some favorite Tahoe locations that never disappoint.
Hit the Trails
• Heart-Pumping Rewards
By far my favorite short hike is one that begins
on the Tahoe Rim Trail right off Highway 267.
In less than an hour, you can capture one of
the most astounding views of Lake Tahoe
while raising your heartbeat on the ascent.
This out-and-back-again hike can easily be
stretched to two hours (or more). The rock
outcroppings at the top offer natural “seats”
where you can relax and catch up with a
• Big Blue Paddle
Tahoe’s water trail offers 72 miles of shoreline.
Beat the crowds (and the noise of motorboats)
with an early morning start. I often begin paddling from Kings Beach State Recreational
Area. I’ll head east for a quick dip and loop
around the rocks off Speedboat Beach or
west for a snack at Waterman’s Landing in
Carnelian Bay. One of these days I will do all
72 miles, which usually takes a week. Check
out the Lake Tahoe Water Trail map for stand-up paddle and kayak launch sites, amenities
and parking. laketahoewatertrail.org
• Give and Explore
Step up to the Tahoe Rim Trail Challenge, a
self-guided fundraiser for the Tahoe Rim
Trail Association (the organization dedicated
to the stewardship of the trail). With six
featured destinations, the challenge reveals
the best of the 165-mile trail. Depending
on the destination and season, you can
hike, bike, ride horseback, ski or snowshoe.
Children especially love photo ops with the
Trail Challenge mascot, a stuffed marmot.
friend, enjoy a snack and take photos with the
lake as a backdrop. From North Lake Tahoe
Boulevard in Kings Beach, drive or bike 2.6
miles up Highway 267 to access the trailhead.
From the Tahoe Rim Trail, take a left onto
the spur trail for incredible views. For a more
strenuous challenge continue on the Tahoe
Rim Trail to Martis Peak, where the unforgettable view from the fire lookout building will
have you gazing at the peaks you’ve bagged
and asking for more. tahoerimtrail.org
• Backpacking 101 and Beyond
Put your fitness level to the test at higher
altitude. Tahoe Trips and Trails, led by the
insanely fit Patty and Jeff Baird, offers three-day trips with the latest ultralight packs.
Expect a night under the stars and epic hikes
culminating with a final dinner at Stella
and lodging at the Cedar House Sport Hotel
in Truckee. Your guides take care of all the
logistics — you just show up. Also check out
Tahoe Trips’ teasers for endurance treks,
outdoor yoga, edible plant walks and a geology hike. tahoetrips.com