The days are getting shorter, the temperature is dropping and there’s a chill in the air. There may even be some snow on the ground already! So what better time to bust out some awesome winter activities in Lake Tahoe with family or friends!
You may be feeling like now is the perfect time to snuggle into some warm slippers and sit back with a hot chocolate in front of an open fire. Well, I’m here to convince you that yes that is in fact a great idea – BUT – you don’t have to close your eyes in hibernation and wait until the snow melts. There are plenty super fun outdoor adventures to be had through winter.
Where better to explore the winter wonderland than Lake Tahoe. Our friends from Hotel.com invited us to share some hot tips for cold trips, so here it is! Your hot chocolate will taste all the more sweeter when enjoyed after a great day out. Along with some fun winter activities you’ll also find plenty of great places to stay at Lake Tahoe and around the area.
Skiing and Snowboarding in Lake Tahoe
There is absolutely no shortage of options when it comes to skiing around the Lake Tahoe area. It is actually one of the main draws for the winter adventure enthusiasts and a reason many people stick around to call this place home.
Towards the top end you’ll find some of the bigger mountain names such as Squaw Valley and Northstar for world class skiing. Towards the south has Heavenly and Kirkwood mountain resorts. But it doesn’t end there. There are even more smaller resorts dotted around Lake Tahoe, which really give something for everyone. Whether you are looking to escape the crowds for some peace and quiet, or if a busier town with a party atmosphere is your kind of thing.
San Francisco’s proximity to Lake Tahoe is really quite incredible. Sierra At Tahoe is only three hours away and the easiest to get to if you’re looking for some fun on the slopes. If you want some turns and don’t have time to spare – that’ll be a safe bet!
I’m not going to sit here and convince you of why you need to give skiing a try – the sheer number of people that go year on year should be enough to show you that! And if skiing isn’t quite your thing? Well read on, there’s plenty of other adventure around Lake Tahoe to be had.
Lake Tahoe Snow Shoeing
If you can walk, you can snowshoe! Snowshoeing has become increasingly popular over the years and I believe the reason is as simple as that. All you have to do is strap on a pair and get going. There really is nothing as magical as a snow capped forest. With the thick snow pack absorbing sound, you’ll never experience a quiet surrounding quite like it.
One of the most popular spots to enjoy snowshoeing around Lake Tahoe is at Camp Richardson. You’ll be treated with fantastic lake views from the south side, as you make your way along 10km of marked trails. You have the option of renting and trailblazing by yourself.
Alternatively, you can book a guide / instructor who will show you the ropes and take you on a magical journey. Once you’ve looped back round to the Mountain Center, pop in to the Beacon Bar & Grill and treat yourself the their signature Rum Runner cocktail – you’ve deserved it!
If you’re packing your own set of snowshoes and want to explore a little deeper into the backcountry, then check out Chickadee Ridge. This spot is located to the west of Tahoe Meadows. In a short distance you’ll come across amazing views of the lake. And if you stick a hopeful hand in the air, you may just get a chickadee swoop down and land on it.
Cross Country Skiing in Lake Tahoe
Cross country skiing has been happening around Tahoe since the 1800s. Legendary mailman ‘Snowshoe Thompson’, was a Norwegian-America who would ski around the area delivering mail. He is hailed as the greatest mountaineer to ever set foot in Tahoe. So what better way to honor him than to go cross country skiing!
This is a slightly faster paced version of snowshoeing and allows you to cover more ground quicker. It can also help you build up a sweat and fight off the chilling winter in Lake Tahoe conditions. The top spot to try out this snow activity is Tahoe XC. This nonprofit organization offers rentals, ski passes, lessons and clinics. They are all about cross country skiing and there is no better place to give it a shot. There is 62km of world class tracks, with a variety of terrains and difficulties.
Snowmobiling Around Lake Tahoe
You got a need for speed? A craving for some high octane, adrenaline fueled frolicking around a snowy white wonderland? Snowmobiling may just be the outdoor activity in Lake Tahoe for you! A guided snowmobile tour will have you eating up that champagne powder with no need for skiing or snowboarding. All you’ll need is a drivers’ license and a thirst for good times.
Lake Tahoe Adventures know the terrain better than anybody. They offer tours for all ability lessons. For the first timers looking for a pleasant and scenic drive around the high country, they’ll take you out in a small group and promise to bring you back smiling. And if it’s not your first time? Check out their ‘Ultimate Ride’ package. You’ll go deep into the Sierra Nevada above Hope Valley. Your expert guide will get you up to speed with some safety chat and some warmup laps before embarking on a journey like no other. A mix of all terrains: bowls, meadows, rivers and alpine lakes. There’s miles and miles of space to explore – with no two tours being the same.
Lake Tahoe Ice Skating
Is it even possible to get any more wintery than ice skating? Throw on a Santa hat then the answer is no. No it can not.
If you’re looking for something to do in Lake Tahoe or where to go, the Heavenly Village skating rink is the ideal location. It could not get anymore picturesque. There are holiday lights and decorations, music playing and festive spirit in full flow. This is a wonderful family adventure as well as a great date activity (you’re welcome). And if you’re reaaaaally into ice skating? You can even buy a seasons pass.
Grab a Drink and Relax by the Fire
One of the best things to do in Lake Tahoe in winter is to wrap up in your coziest winter clothes and relax. I’m talking mittens, scarf and the wooliest of wooly hats. Grab a hot chocolate (top that bad boy off with some whiskey or Baileys) and find yourself a nice open fire to slowly slide into a slumber. Doesn’t that sounds wonderful?!
If you’re looking for a little more action there are also a number of bars and restaurants that can liven up the scene. Beacons Bar & Grill is one to check out, with a wonderful lakeside eatery and weekly live music. Sonney’s BBQ Shack Bar & Grill is also recommended for those wanting a bit more of a lively evening. They offer comfort pub grub, BBQ food (of course) and live music also.
If you really want to amp it up then try out Whiskey Dicks (and no I’m not just including them because the name makes me laugh). As well as having a damn good chuckle every time your eyes catch a glimpse of the sign – they are Tahoe’s leading live music venue and draw in bands of almost every genre.