Lake Tahoe has been on my travel list since I moved to California. People told me how beautiful it is esp. in the summer and how many activities you can do. As it’s quite far in Northern California from where I live, I finally made plans to go in September. Lake Tahoe is split between Nevada and California, and my husband and I stayed in South Lake Tahoe/California side. It’s quite funny as you have all the big casinos like Hard Rock Hotel and then across the street is California where it looks like a cozy mountain town. It’s literally one street that divides the two and just by the buildings you can see a difference.
On our first day we discovered this organic – mostly vegetarian – restaurant called Sprouts Café in South Lake Tahoe – and it’s been our go-to restaurant for the next 3 days. My biggest concern when traveling is finding healthy restaurants. So when we found this gem I knew our trip would be a great success. J This place had the best smoothies / juices (Kale Refresher each morning) and delicious salads & bowls for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I wish they would open a restaurant in Southern California. The staff was also super nice and service was quick. Overall 5 star rating!
There are so many trails to choose from, so we had a hard time deciding on one! After driving along the scenic route from South Lake Tahoe to D.L. Bliss State Park, we parked our car and headed out on Rubicon Trail. I did a mix of trail running and hiking – as I had to stop for pictures along the way. It was almost too perfect to be true. The fresh air, sunny sky, forest and view on a turquoise, sparkling Lake Tahoe. The trail goes for about 4 miles, little elevation gain and breathtaking views. When we arrived at Emerald Bay Park we took a quick hike up to Lower Eagle Falls, but they were mostly dried up unfortunately. We also took a look at the Vikingsholm Castle – which is this Norwegian style house built by the lake. You can do a tour of the house, but we’re not really “museum people” to appreciate it ;-).I was fascinated by the grass roof on the garage – this reminded me of a fairy tale house. After this quick stop we ran bake the same trail to arrive back at our car. If you have two cars – you could park them in both locations, so just do a one way hike. We enjoyed the double views and extra miles for workout. My favorite part was jumping in the water! I can’t believe how crystal clear this lake is – no fish (in my area at least) or algae. It was a little cool, but after our run it was nice and refreshing.
After cooling off and relaxing at the beach, we drove back towards Emerald Bay and did another hike to Cascade Falls. It was supposed to be a quick 1.5 mile hike but felt much longer (no complaining from me). You have an incredible view on Cascade Lake and Lake Tahoe. When we got to the top we couldn’t find the waterfall – only a bit of water. Unfortunately, the waterfall was completely dry. The hike was still worth the views from the top. I enjoyed the scenery very much.
The next day we planned a mountain bike trip. We didn’t bring our own bikes, as we found a very good bike rental shop called “Over the Edge Tahoe”. They have great quality bikes and were super helpful and friendly. We started our tour right from the shop and went uphill on Ski Run Blvd. This leads you right into the forest and start of Powerline Trail. It leads through the forest and starts at about 6,500ft. Our goal was to get on Cold Crek Trail up to High Meadow, but we missed a turn, and ended up on this fireroad that went uphill for miles. We went up the first 10 minutes and thought – ok can’t be much further. After the next climb – this must be it now. And it went on-and-on-and-on. I started to laugh as this was becoming a comedy. I’m not sure after how many miles or hours – but we finally reached High Meadow and was greeted by two dogs playing in a creek. The meadow was truly picturesque and the creek was nice to cool off. We took a break, ate some granola bars and down we went on Cold Creek Trail. This was a much nicer trail, however, many rocks/boulders in the first part where I had to get off my bike. You could hear the waterfall along the trail…dreamy! We quickly got back to the main road and where back at the car in the afternoon. It was nice to see a different area from Lake Tahoe – there’s so much to do!
In the late afternoon I read about this “secret beach” that’s supposed to be stunning. A “red flag” should have come up when they say it’s a secret beach – but you can find it pretty easy online. Nevertheless, I wanted to see it. I also briefly read that it was a “clothing optional” beach, which me being from Germany – I don’t mind. We drove there and took a short hike down to the beach. Wow! So beautiful! Of course we were not the only ones and it was pretty busy there. Also, I was hesitant to take pictures of the beach with all nudists being there. So we hiked to another area at the lake, where we enjoyed a beautiful sunset. Wonderful finish to our quick but adventures weekend getaway!
I would love to come back – so let me know if you have any recommendations for nice trails to hike / bike / run. What is your favorite place to stay in Lake Tahoe? Do you prefer to go to the Nevada or California side?
Hotel: Park Hotel (PLUS: newly renovated rooms, great location, nice staff, NEGATIVE: little privacy in rooms as set up of walkway is in u-shape, had some small broken items in our room that were not fixed)
Favorite Restaurant: Sprouts Café in South Lake Tahoe (fresh, healthy & reasonable priced)
Favorite Memory: Run / Hike on Rubicon Trail (so scenic!!)