As fall gives way to ski season, Lake Tahoe glides right into another paradise for adventure lovers. It really is an outdoor wonderland. Paddle boarding, kayaking, and hiking transition to skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.
The local mountains have all announced opening dates with the usual race to claim the No. 1 spot officially on. Snowmaking is scheduled to being Nov. 1, at Heavenly Mountain Resort and Kirkwood. Heavenly’s opening is Nov. 17, and Kirkwood could open as early as Nov. 22.
Until the snow falls, visitors can still enjoy the last of the Aspen trees fall foliage, check out the black bears gorging on Kokanee salmon at Taylor Creek, and drink in the quiet beauty that is Lake Tahoe in the shoulder season.
A good place to soak up the elevated air is Van Sickle Bi-state park, located directly behind Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel. It is the only bi-state park in the U.S. that shares a common entrance. The gates close Oct. 31, but the park is still accessible for pedestrians and is a short walk from the hotel’s back door. The park is open for hiking, picnicking, mountain biking, and snowshoeing in the winter. Tour the historic buildings on the California side of the park, or take the connector trail on the Nevada side all the way up to the iconic Tahoe Rim Trail.
Or stay closer to home and check out “Explore Tahoe: An Urban Trailhead” in Heavenly Village. The visitor information facility is a good source of information especially for first time visitors.
The staff at Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel are always ready to share their own Tahoe gems with visitors. Just check out the employee name badges and you will find clues to what draws them to this mountain retreat. You might see descriptions like, mountain biking, skiing, golf, hiking. Go ahead and ask them about their favorite trails or secret spots and experience Tahoe like a local.
Take advantage of our Fall Special, FALLFUN17, with rates as low as $99 a night through Dec. 14.
Science is cool and so are interactive maps. Thanks to some programming whiz kids at SmokyMountains.com and their use of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data (including historical and forecast temperatures and precipitation), historical leaf peak trends, and peak observation trends, travelers now have an online map that lets them in on the best weeks to catch fall foliage splendor around the country. https://smokymountains.com/fall-foliage-map/
What does it tell us? Well, while the North-East Coast’s burst of colors is past its peak by the first week in October, Lake Tahoe is just hitting its prime. According to the fall foliage map, the week of Oct. 15, 2017, is prime time for Sierra’s display.
Top 5 Lake Tahoe Fall Foliage Hikes:
Fall Foliage hits its peak in Lake Tahoe in October.
Easily accessible from U.S. Highway 50 with a paved bike and hiking trails, this meadow pops with color in the fall and leads down to the shoreline at Nevada Beach.
Fallen Leaf Lake
Fallen Leaf Lake got its name for a reason. The beautiful lake has large swaths of Aspens along its shoreline. With parking options at the campground or snow park lot off Highway 89, the lake has trails that meander along the shoreline and through stands of Aspen groves and past historical ruins like Anita Baldwin’s private house on the lake’s west shore. Anita was the daughter of E.J. “Lucky” Baldwin the colorful mining and turf figure of the old west with ties to California including the Santa Anita Racetrack.
Big Meadow to Round Lake
Start at Big Meadow Trailhead on Highway 89 headed south toward Luther Pass. Fall brings fewer crowds and more parking spots at the trailhead. After crossing back over the highway there is a half-mile uphill hike to Big Meadow which sits at about 7,500 feet in elevation. After enjoying the meadow view head back into the forest and follow the signs to Round Lake.
Further along Highway 89 at the junction with Highway 88 there plenty of road pullouts for a long or short hike among a network of trails that work their way through brilliant stands of Aspens. The West Carson River flows through the valley and offers excellent fishing opportunities.
Van Sickle Bi-State Park
With trails that start at lake level at the California/Nevada state line and go all the way to the Tahoe Rim Trail, Van Sickle bi-state park is a great way to get a panoramic view of fall color on the South Shore.
Take advantage of Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel’s fall special and catch Lake Tahoe’s peak season of color.
Sample the Sierra, South Shore’s own Farm to Fork festival, returns for its eighth year Sept. 16, and Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel’s own Chef Salvador Cortex Delgado will be on hand showcasing what he does best at Echo Restaurant.
Delgado’s Adventure menu is a hit featuring the best of Sierra seasonal ingredients and meat choices like the locally sourced grass-fed, all natural beef. Echo’s outdoor deck is the perfect place to indulge. Through Sept. 30 diners can grab an Adirondack chair and enjoy an ice cold beer and burger with fries for just $14.
BURGER, BEER, & ADIRONDACK FOR JUST $14.
To sweeten the weekend of food and fun book your room with our Summer Fun package. Use code SUMFUN17 for the best rates.
Sample the Sierra tickets are on sale now at www.samplethesierra.com. Full tasting tickets are $40 for full tasting tickets and $30 for under 21 tickets.