Much of the world discovered Lake Tahoe when the Squaw Valley ski resort hosted the 1960 winter Olympics, and it has been a favorite destination ever since. Lake Tahoe is split into two sections—North Lake, which includes the towns of Truckee and Tahoe City, and South Lake, which includes the city of South Lake Tahoe.
Head to Tahoe for world-class skiing and snowboarding at resorts like Heavenly Mountain, Sugar Bowl, and Kirkwood. In addition to downhill skiing, the area offers snowshoeing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and other wintery fun. In the summer, the area is popular for kayaking, boating, stand-up paddleboarding, and Jet Skiing. The surrounding area is a popular camping spot and offers hiking and biking paths.
Recent reviews from experiences in Lake Tahoe
Things to Know Before You Go
The lake’s elevation is 6,225 feet (1,897 meters), and mountain resorts sit even higher, so prepare for altitude sickness by staying hydrated.
The sun is strong in the mountains—wear sun protection year round.
Snow chains are usually required in bad weather unless you have a 4WD vehicle with snow tires; checkpoints are set up on mountain passes, and the highway patrol enforces snow chain regulations.
You can purchase snow chains from licensed vendors who set up on the sides of the roads.
How to Get There
Reno-Tahoe International Airport, the closest major airport, is about 60 miles (95 km) from South Lake Tahoe and 37 miles (60 km) from Truckee. There is also a smaller Truckee Tahoe Airport. To reach the lake by car, take Interstate 80 from San Francisco and Sacramento, US 50 from Sacramento, or US 395 from Yosemite National Park.
When to Get There
Ski season is generally late November–April; winter holidays and long weekends such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day and President’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Fourth of July, are the most crowded. There are very few roads through the mountains and around the lake, so traffic can get backed up. Spring and fall offer fewer crowds and a more relaxing environment, though some business close during these shoulder seasons.
During the summer, if you’ve had your fill of lake activities, head to the Truckee River, located between the lake and the quaint, historic town of Truckee. You can spend your time river rafting, or exploring the walking and biking paths run along the riverbank, next to State Route 89.