Several million years ago, in what’s now the eastern edges of Northern California, land blocks plummeted as tall peaks lifted around them. Earthquakes, glaciers, and volcanoes added their bits to form the landscape over the centuries. The result: a magnificent alpine lake, filled with crystal-clear water, ringed by mountains. Water from 63 tributaries flows down the slopes into the lake, and exits in only one place: the Truckee River, which flows from the lake’s north shore down to Pyramid Lake near Reno, Nevada.
Lake Tahoe’s setting is magnificent. The region encompasses the ancestral homelands of the Washoe Tribe of California and Nevada, who continue to work with private and government entities to preserve the pristine environment.
Lake Tahoe lures visitors who come to pursue myriad activities in this spectacular natural playground. Outdoor enthusiasts revel in the options, from hiking, biking, boating, and fishing in the summer to skiing, boarding, snowshoeing, ice skating, and more in the winter. On the eastern side of the lake, after you cross the border into the state of Nevada, gambling is legal and casinos abound. They are open year-round and offer entertainment, dining, and other perks alongside slot machines and gaming tables.
If you travel around the 72-mile perimeter, you will discover a series of towns and small cities along the way. In and near the South Shore: South Lake Tahoe, California, and Stateline, Nevada. North Shore: Tahoe City, Truckee, Kings Beach, and Incline Village. Iconic Emerald Bay State Park anchors a series of sights along the western shore. –Cheryl Crabtree