Lake Tahoe

Maggie's Peaks

With only days left living near Lake Tahoe, I’ve debated on what and how to write about a place that has meant so much to me over the years. It’s called the Jewel of the Sierra by non-locals, and is visited by people from all around the world. Mainly known for it’s ski resorts and great snow during winter, summer tends to be my favorite time to head to the lake as it also boasts world class hiking with dozens of mountain peaks reaching just under 11,000 feet, and hundreds of miles of trails to explore. The Tahoe Rim Trail alone is roughly 165 miles long, which doesn’t include the massive amounts of other trails in the area. A reaction from my sister from LA when we completed one of my favorite hikes yesterday, which is one of the highest summits in the area, was one of disbelief upon seeing the scenery at the top. “It looks like a painting, look at how blue the water and sky are,” was the initial reaction, and I can’t say I disagree.

Mt Tallac
The view from the summit of Mt Tallac at 9,738 feet. It’s a 9.5 mile day hike that ascends 3,500 feet past three lakes on the way up
Mt Rose Summit
The view from the top of the Mt Rose summit at 10,776 feet. This 10 mile hike takes you up 2,100 feet of elevation gain past a nice waterfall, to the summit, where you can see Reno, Tahoe, and Washoe.

I’ve been blessed enough to have been able to ride in America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride for 72 miles around the lake, hike some of the highest peaks in the area, and ride some great snow in the winters in the time I’ve lived nearby. The Tahoe Tough Mudder in June is always a great run as you cover over 10 miles and run, or trudge up 2,600 feet of elevation. It has been so much fun I’ve found myself participating in it every year for the past four.

Tough Mudder Tahoe
The cold mountain air in Tahoe doesn’t make jumping in a huge ice bath any easier, especially not while swimming under a wooden wall in the middle!

There are definitely beaches to check out on the hottest days of summer, just remember that Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the USA at 1,645 feet deep, which means it’s average temperature of 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit is never warm. Sand Harbor Beach has fine, powdery sand, while Zephyr Beach has a great party-like atmosphere. If you like wading out into the water, Kings Beach lets you go hundreds of feet into the water while still being able to stand. Nearby Donner Lake gives you a more secluded area to hike around, with stunning landscape to admire. The Donner Tunnels are another great way to spend a day, walking through pitch black tunnels which are almost 150 years old.

Donner Tunnels
The Donner Tunnels were built in the 1800s by Chinese workers, allowing rail passage through the Sierras for the first time. They’re now overrun with some very impressive graffiti and the tracks have been removed.

With loads of great hiking, skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, exploring, and adventuring, Tahoe is a place that I find hard to write about as I don’t think I can do it justice. I’d recommend taking the 45 minute drive from Reno to explore it yourself, and give it as much time as you can because through the years I’ve lived nearby, I’ve barely even scraped the surface.

Maggie's Peaks
Part way up Maggie’s Peaks at south shore. This was off the path a ways, maybe three miles in
Pyramid Peak Tahoe
Pyramid Peak, at 9,983 feet, is one of the more perilous hikes I’ve been on. 11.5 miles and 3,300 feet of elevation gain isn’t easy, the large slabs of loose granite and shale that you have to scramble over by taking the Lake Silvia route will test how dedicated you are to reaching the top
Freel Peak Tahoe
Freel Peak is Tahoe’s highest mountain at 10,881 feet, and the variation of the hike I did to get there was 16 miles with over 3,000 feet of elevation gain. This is the toughest hike I’ve done in Tahoe and didn’t have nearly the rewarding scenery of most other hikes in the basin in my opinion

This is one post I can’t really tell a story in because I have far too many from Tahoe, so please read about our trip to Puerto Rico if you’d like more of a story!

3 Replies to “Lake Tahoe”

  1. Is it worth going up just for the tunnels to Donner?

    Random question I know, but hows it going? Hope you’re having a blast in Iceland!

    1. wetraveltolive says: Reply

      It’s definitely worth going to Donner just for the tunnels. We made a day of it as they go on for miles. If you get tired of the dark and the graffiti then you just pop out of them at the next opening and have a great view of Donner. Things are great, we’re just enjoying Dublin and heading to the west coast of Ireland today, how’s everything with you?

      1. Awesome, I think I will try to go up there this weekend on my day off. That is great, been randomly reading your entries, looks like you guys are having fun!
        As for here everything good, I got the full time spot so that is nice. Otherwise pretty much all is the same, you are missed here but everyone is glad you are out having a blast.

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