72 Hours Of Adventure In Lake Tahoe, CA

Often heralded as America’s best Lake, Tahoe has more adventure than you could possibly have in a lifetime.

By: Jake Young
June 2, 2016

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At a surface elevation of 6,225 ft., Tahoe is located in the scenic Sierra Nevada Mountains split between Nevada and California. The Lake of the Sky has hundreds of mountain bike and hiking trails as well as miles of pristine sandy beaches. If you are someone that can’t get enough of high altitude adventure, but also likes to relax, you’re next long weekend should be spent in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Friday

Photo: Jake Young

Before starting out on your adventures for the day, make sure you fuel up at Rude Brother’s Bagels. Get a regular bagel or try one of their specialty bagel sandwiches like the Gobbler or the Rude Awakening. If you are a caffeine addict, this is the place for you. Rude Brother’s offers a wide variety or espresso drinks as well as healthy smoothies.

After breakfast, walk over to South Tahoe Standup Paddle, which is actually in the same building as Rude Brother’s. After renting a board and a paddle, head over to Kiva Beach. Kiva is a secluded sandy crescent beach flanked by a beautiful meadow and mountain backdrop. This beach is rarely crowded and has free parking unlike other beaches in Tahoe. After taking in the sites, put your board in the water and head north along the western shore.

Photo: Jake Young

Arguably one of the most iconic and scenic areas of Tahoe, Emerald Bay is a perfect destination for your paddle boarding adventure. From the water, you will avoid the crowds and also have access to Fannette Island. You can do a loop in the bay or chill on the beach next to Vikingsholm.

After returning to Kiva, head back into town and grab dinner at Sprouts Café. This spot is a favorite of many locals and serves delicious food at a relatively cheap price.

Sunsets are not to be missed in the Lake Tahoe area. Head over to the Fallen Leaf Lake area to catch the Sunset from the Angora Fire Lookout. From here you can get a preview of the next day’s adventure with views into Desolation Wilderness. After watching the sun go down over Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe, head over to the Fallen Leaf Campground at the north end of the Lake. It is recommended to get a reservation for this campground as it fills up quickly. Set your alarm for 2:30 AM and get some sleep as you prepare to catch the sunrise on Mt. Tallac.

Saturday

Photo: Jake Young

It might seem like an insane idea, but hiking to the top of Mt. Tallac for sunrise is one of the most special and breathtaking things you can do in Tahoe. There are multiple trailheads that will take you to Tallac, but I would recommend starting at the Mt. Tallac Trailhead directly across from the entrance to Baldwin Beach on Highway 89. From Tallac, you get one of the best views Tahoe has to offer.

Photo: Jake Young

If you don’t feel comfortable hiking at night or don’t want to get up that early, Desolation Wilderness still should be a top priority for your time spent in Tahoe. Another great day hike is the Lake Aloha. Resting just below the Crystal Range, this lake resembles a moonscape with its almost endless expanse of white granite.

After returning from the wilderness, head back into town and grab a hearty meal at The Himmel Haus just off of Ski Run Blvd. This restaurant has an enormous selection of German and Belgian Beers and is a great place hang with a large group of friends.

Sunday

Photo: Jake Young

Your legs may be shot from the previous day, but you have one more full day of adventure ahead of you. Head down to Keys Café for breakfast and a coffee. This small café off the main strip is sure to become one of your favorite eateries in Tahoe.

Pack a lunch and prepare yourself for one of the most beautiful mountain bikes rides in all of Tahoe and maybe even the U.S. The Flume Trail is a classic mountain bike ride that takes you high above the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe providing panoramic views throughout. If you didn’t bring your own bike, you can rent one at Flume Trail Mountain Bikes. This business also can shuttle you on the 14 mile one-way single-track ride.

The ride ends in Incline Village, NV near the Tunnel Creek Café. Grab a quick bite to eat and start heading south.

Photo: Jake Young

For your final few hours in Tahoe, you can fit in one more iconic sunset. If you were coming from the South to get to the Flume Trail, you drove through cave rock. There is actually a short trail that goes to the top of the rock where you can get sweeping views of Lake Tahoe. Scramble up the short route and reflect on your adventures while you watch the last sun strike the beautiful mountains in Tahoe.

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.