At our first glimpse of Lake Tahoe, we see its vast body of water surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. The largest alpine lake in North America sits on the border of California and Nevada. At 6,225 feet elevation, its surface majestically mirrors the deep blue skies above.
The lake and its terrain can be viewed in many different ways from many different places. We experienced these scenic venues through all the available options offered to us.
Coming from Nevada, we stopped on the east side of the lake just off Highway 50. We pulled into a rustic style campground next to the Zephyr Cove Resort. During warmer months the lake offers up plenty of water sports and activities. Visitors can jet ski, kayak, paddleboard, parasail and/or boat, just to mention a few. An excursion that everyone should look into is a cruise on The Tahoe Queen (pictured below, left). The tour wasn’t operating during the time of year we visited, which was early April, but sounded like a fantastic opportunity to experience the lake’s calming landscape. The water’s coloring appears multidimensional depending on the sun’s reflection. When closer to shore, the water possesses a Caribbean-like turquoise shade. Its clarity can be enjoyed several feet from shore. As the lake’s bottom slants farther down to its depths, the colors shift from a light to a deep blue. This is what gives the illusion of the multicolored tones seen from the water’s surface.
We ventured southwest towards California’s state line. We parked at Heavenly Square and took the gondola ride up to the facing mountain. It’s a bit pricey at $48 per adult and $25 per child, but is worth the expense for the fabulous views. Once we entered our skyward chariot, we headed for Heavenly’s 9,100 foot high observation deck and our first scheduled stop. The ride was very comforting and offered a subtle euphoria.
Our gradual ascent gave us plenty of time to take in the fabulous views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe and parts of the city below. We also had unobstructed views of Nevada to the east and California to the west. Our first stop brought us to “Malcom’s Deck,” which reaches 9,123 feet above sea level. The sturdy built metal-styled catwalk wraps around a protruding rock formation. The deck has restroom facilities, a beverage hut and a gift shop. Your ticket allows you to get off and enjoy the views before proceeding upwards.
The picture shown left is aimed towards the northwest rim of the Nevada range. The mountains are, from left to right: Phipps (shown right, close up), 9195, Jakes and Rubicon. Looking east (below, right), you can see Tahoe’s downtown casino district and parts of Heavenly Square.We got back on the gondola and made the turn at the top of the mountain. This is where the skiers depart the gondola to enjoy the mountain top’s various runs. We made the turn and headed back down to the square. There are way too many photos to show all the fabulous panoramic views taken from our multiple vantage points. I guess you will have to visit Lake Tahoe and experience them for yourself. After completing our gondola adventure, we headed west to Emerald Bay.
We took highway 50 to 89 and then onto Emerald Bay State Park. The smaller gulf inlet is located on the southwest corner of the lake. From atop an outcrop of boulders, we marveled at the 360 degree unobstructed view. We could also see a pair of falls cascading from the mountainside directly behind us. The sounds of the water flowing over the rocky edges reminded me that nature has her own sweet way of making music.
Lake Tahoe offers something for everyone throughout the year. The powder driven surfers enjoy the soft fluffy sea of white snow in the chilling months of winter. When the warmer months arrive and the mountain community is blessed with rays of sunshine, tourist flock to enjoy the comforting temperatures and scenic beauty. This is a place where you can forgot about life’s norms and settle into your own little utopia.