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California Fly Drive Destination
Lake Tahoe

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Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is visually stunning. Deep blue waters surrounded by wooded mountains. We've only visited in summer when it is gorgeous, but it is also a winter resort area and from the photographs I've seen looks equally spectacular in the winter months.

Emerald Bay thumbnail

Emerald Bay. Click for larger picture.

A real oddity of the town of South Lake Tahoe on the southern end of the lake (surprising location for a town with that name !!!!) is that half of the town is in California and half in Nevada. The state line splits the lake and indeed there is a road called stateline that splits the town. On the California side of the border there are motels a-plenty and immediately over the Nevada side there are giant Casino Resorts. Every night there are floods of people walking from where they are staying in California to where they are gambling in Nevada. As a temptation to get you inside, the casinos offer exceptionally good value buffet "all you can eat meals".

The drive around the lake is recommended as is one of the boat trips across it. Down the western Californian side of the Lake is where you will see Emerald Bay. The set where Bonanza was filmed is up the eastern Nevada side of the lake. For more information about the Nevada side, see the Nevada pages.

Site visitor post 30.8.03
South Lake Tahoe. We visited there winter 02. It is absolutely magnificent in the winter months. The main mountain there is called Heavenly and it certainly is. The skiing is excellent and a trip up the mountain on the Gondola is a must. The view accross the lake will take you breath away. Take the evening snow mobile trip and come down the mountain in half light. Cold but worth it.

Site visitor post 1.9.03
We stayed at South Lake Tahoe for 5 days this July (2003) but were disappointed to find it rather touristy and over developed. However we were fortunate to have been told by Californian friends about Echo Lake to the south west.

A day spent here was one of the holiday highlights - peaceful and tranquil and (after a moderately strenuous 2 hour hike) with a real sense of wilderness. Catch the water taxi to the far end of the lake and walk from the jetty into the hills.

We spent a few hours at lake Tamarack further along the Pacific Crest Trail where the water was crystal clear and warm enough to swim in with only a slight chill on entering. Don't underestimate the effect of the altitude though- this is a few thousand feet above Tahoe and the thinner air can leave you out of breath.

Another worthwhile day out, if you are reasonably fit and not too scared of heights is the Flume Trail mountain bike ride from Spooner Lake to Incline village (appropriately enough) on the east side of Lake Tahoe. My teenage sons were impressed with the quality of the hired bikes (they understand these things) and after a hot climb up to Marlett Lake the real downhill excitement began. The gradient is mostly slight but in places the track is only a couple of feet wide, with a near precipice on your left. To recompense you for the spent adrenalin are wonderful views of Tahoe. There were a couple of places where even my sons dismounted and nervously pushed the bikes across to the next person.

The surface is mostly broken rock, but with a fair depth of sand in some places which really saps your strength. Unless you're pretty fit, don't attempt the return journey in anything other than the shuttle bus!

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