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U.S.A.: Lake Tahoe

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Lake Tahoe | U.S.A. | Americas

[Visited: April 2018]

While still in Yosemite, we see alarming reports online, telling us that snow tyres are required for driving around Lake Tahoe. We know that the Tioga Pass is closed: it is too early in the season to drive over it. Are we now obliged to buy snow chains for our planned visit of Lake Tahoe? Fortunately, an update of the conditions tells us that chains are no longer compulsory, so we set off for a splendid drive through the Californian countryside. The weather seems spring-like, but when we get closer to Lake Tahoe, we drive through a snow-storm over a mountain pass. By the time we arrive at South Lake Tahoe, it feels like spring again, and there is only melting stacks of snow left in the gardens. What follows are a few days in which we drive around the lake, clockwise, to facilitate getting off regularly for the many viewpoints. With every twist and turn in the road, the views change, giving always yet another excuse for a break.

Picture of Lake Tahoe (U.S.A.): Lake Tahoe reflecting the snow-capped mountains in the background

After an early morning rise, I explore the southern east side of Lake Tahoe, driving up to the crossroads past Glenbrook, and return, making several stops at viewpoints. It is a bright day, and the sun makes the snow-capped mountains of the western side reflect in the quiet surface of the lake. I stop at Nevada beach, a wide stretch of sand with some big trees on it, and tiny waves lapping on the shore. This must be packed in summer; right now, the only other person is an older lady going for her morning run. After picking up my travel companion again, we continue towards the west. We hike up to a viewpoint above Emerald Bay, and soon find ourselves work our way through snow to some boulders from which we can see Fannette Island, the bay, and the southern part of Lake Tahoe below us. Skiers pass us, reminding us it is still more skiing season than hiking season.

Picture of Lake Tahoe (U.S.A.): The waters of Lake Tahoe are clean, offering a high visiblity

Driving further north, we get always changing views of the lake, and now see the mountains on the east side reflected in the waters of Lake Tahoe. We make a small detour to Squaw Valley, the Olympic venue of the Winter Games of 1960, and are tempted to rent skis and hit the slopes, but decide to continue our exploration of the largest alpine lake of North America - and its fifth deepest. When we arrive at the northern shore, I skinny dip into the icy waters, and am happy with the sun warming me up afterwards. The next day, we cross in to Nevada and visit Incline Beach, before driving up the mountain highway for a viewpoint from which the enormous lake lies at our feet. We then continue driving south on the eastern side, stopping regularly to climb down to rocks and boulders, and small beaches, always with incredibly transparent, calm waters in which we can see every little pebble on the floor of the lake. It is inevitable we dip in; again, a very short dip! We hike around Spooner Lake, a trail still partially covered in snow. Before we complete our tour of Lake Tahoe, we watch the sun sink behind the mountains on the west side of the lake at a viewpoint. The sky turns from orange to grey and black while we drive the last stretch to South Lake Tahoe.

Picture of Lake Tahoe (U.S.A.): Line of trees reflected in the calm waters of Lake Tahoe
Picture of Lake Tahoe (U.S.A.): View over Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe from a snow-covered viewpoint
Picture of Lake Tahoe (U.S.A.): Trees on Nevada beach on the eastern shoreline of Lake Tahoe
Picture of Lake Tahoe (U.S.A.): Snow-capped mountains on the west side of Lake Tahoe
Picture of Lake Tahoe (U.S.A.): Waves arriving at Secret beach on east side of Lake Tahoe
Picture of Lake Tahoe (U.S.A.): Looking out over Lake Tahoe from viewpoint north of the lake
Picture of Lake Tahoe (U.S.A.): Eastern coastline of Lake Tahoe with boulders
Picture of Lake Tahoe (U.S.A.): View over Sand Harbour peninsula on the east side of Lake Tahoe
Picture of Lake Tahoe (U.S.A.): Fannette Island in Emerald Bay seen from a panoramic viewpoint
Picture of Lake Tahoe (U.S.A.): Morning view of Zephyr Cove beach on the east side of Lake Tahoe
Picture of Lake Tahoe (U.S.A.): The eastern shoreline of Lake Tahoe
Picture of Lake Tahoe (U.S.A.): The southern side of Lake Tahoe seen from one of the many viewpoints
Picture of Lake Tahoe (U.S.A.): Windy weather just before sunset at one of the beaches of South Lake Tahoe

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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