I wrote this guide because many Tahoe travelers get stuck as what to do in the area. Sure, there are casinos and shops. There is the beach and the mountains. But how can you do it all in three days...the average extended weekend? And can you do it with kids.
You bet your butt you can. My guide will guide you through Lake Tahoe in three days! You'll love it.
The Upper Angora Lakes is not a far hike, but once you get there, the little lake is a beautiful place for relaxing, cliff jumping, and exploring. To get there you want to take Fallen Leaf Road and then a left at Lake Tahoe Mountain Rd. Follow this up and you will take a right less than a tenth of a mile up. Follow this for a while(the drive is longer than the hike), you know that you are going the right way if you are driving at a high altitude and can see Fallen Leaf Lake down below. The parking lot is not very large but most people cannot find the place, so there is usually some parking near the trail head. The trail head is at the upper part if the parking lot.
The trail is about one mile, not far but a nice little hike. As you travel you will see Lower Angora Lake on the left, keep trekking to Upper Angora Lake. It is a great cabin resort area and they sell lemonade, which you must have because it is the best! You can rent rowboats for $14 per hour. At the far side of the lake, there are cliffs that you can jump from, with one as high as 70 feet!
After you hike back down to the car, I suggest driving back into South Lake Tahoe and dine at The Brewery on Highway 50(on the right hand side). They have creative pizzas, salads, and they make their own beer. The porter is great with hints of chocolate in it. After doing that head to Heavenly for a little bit of window shopping.
And if you have moolah in your pockets, take a ride on the gondola, which is now a skyrocket price of thirty dollars! Yeah ridiculous...
Day Two: Eagle Lake
Eagle Lake is great for moderate hikers with the desire to find snow water, hunt for waterfalls, fishing, and overnight camping. Just don't forget a backpack loaded with supplies...water bottle, sunscreen, bug spray and a bathing suit!
The hike begins at Emerald Bay in the backside. Most of the hike is an incline but it is so well traveled that it is doable for any age group. Before beginning the hike , don't forget to get a day or overnight permit from the rangers at the trail head. The trip is about 2 miles round trip, but it is so much fun.
Instead of taking the trail to the Eagle Falls, go hunting for it, which is much more fun. Looking at the picture above, the left backside is the waterfalls location. Trek around the right side over the boulders until you get to the creek. Ford the creek until the current is to strong and you should be able to cut through the bush on the right side up to the rocks.
I did this in flip flops and a dress(i am a weird tomboy), but I hurt my toe and that was it. Go in groups. We did four of us, not including my father who trekked back for the fishing, which is fantastic. I suggest wearing water sandals, shorts, and bring a water filter bottle. It takes about 2 hours to ford the creek and back...
If you just want to stay near the lake, no problem there either. Although there is not a beach, there are plenty of places to sit and leave your stuff. There is a little damned up pool that kids play in and also an island that is fun to swim out to as well.
If you still have some energy after your hike back, I suggest hiking down to Vikingsholm and see the castle, if not, don't worry about it.
Day Three: Rent Bike and Chill in Pope's Beach
Renting bikes and riding through Camp Richardson is a family tradition and thought that I would invite you try it out.
We always rent our bikes at Anderson's Bicycle Rental which is on Hwy 89 at 13th street. Always ask for a discount because you are returning customer and they will usually give you like 10% off the price.
They will give you directions to the bike trail which starts right down the street. Ride it down through the trail(you can go off the trail too, which is so much more fun). You will ride into Camp Richardson and there is a general store that sells sandwiches and other goodies. And across the street there is the ice cream parlor which you must go to or it just isn't the same!
Drive further down until you get to the wilderness visitor center(above picture) and take a nice stroll through the trail. It is a good break from riding. Head back on the trail and turn into Pope's Beach and have a fun filled afternoon at the beach.
After your day at the beach, I suggest hitting up the Forest cafe Buffet at Harrah's.
Other hike and activities in Tahoe:
- Mount Tallac
- Echo Peak
- Meeks Bay Trail
- Rim Trail- North
- Desolation Wilderness
- Eagle Creek Canyon
If you are looking for a great guide map to the trails around the lake, my favorite is Top Trails: Lake Tahoe: Must-Do Hikes for Everyone. We bring it with us every time we go because there is ALWAYS something new that we discover. If you buy it through here, I do get a tiny kickback for referral, but I would never recommend a product without having used it.