Yes, Lake Tahoe is as pretty as the pictures suggest, and the lakes are as blue as the bumper stickers boast. But don't just take my word for it--go see for yourself. With infinite places to stay and play near the big lagoon, here are a few recommendations to keep in mind when planning your trip.
Hikes in Lake Tahoe
Mt. Tallac: Take in all of Lake Tahoe from the top of Mount Tallac. With a 3,500-foot elevation gain in only four and a half miles, it's a tough climb, but the panoramic view of the Sierras and surrounding lakes is an ample reward. The trail head is only one mile from the Fallen Leaf Campground and less than five miles from town.
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More: Enhance Your Hike
Tip: Chipmunks on Mt. Tallac are ruthless. When you stop to refuel, avoid a picnic-style lunch.
Lake Aloha/Lake of the Woods: There is a reason this is one of the most popular sections of the Pacific Crest Trail. A three-and-a-half-mile hike with gentle elevation gain transports you to a prehistoric setting among gray granite mountains and skeletons of half-dead trees. This short hike makes Lake Aloha a great destination for day hikers or families on their first overnight backpacking trip. Nearby Donner Pass provides more experienced hikers a multi-day challenge.
From Echo Lake Chalet (10 miles south of South Lake Tahoe), take the water taxi across Echo Lake and start your hike from here. Although this area sees a lot of foot traffic, the trail and lakes remain clean and pristine.
If Lake Aloha is too crowded for your taste, head back the way you came. Lake of the Woods is a beautiful hideaway off the main trail and another ideal spot for a relaxing afternoon.
Tip: Dive in. The crystal clear waters of Lake Aloha and Lake of the Woods beg to be swum in. Throw your suit in your daypack and allow enough time for a swim.