The lake and its surrounding area which is commonly referred to as Tahoe, has an elevation of 6225 feet. Lake Tahoe is twenty two miles long and 12 miles wide and has a shoreline that extends over 71 miles. This gorgeous lake is shared by two US states, namely California which stakes claim to 42 miles of Lake Tahoe’s shoreline and the state of Nevada which has 29 miles of it. Lake Tahoe offer many vacation homes on both the North and South shore which, by the way, is the largest alpine lake in North America is renowned for its almost translucent waters that are known to evoke feelings of wonder and awe. In fact, when the famous American author Mark Twain first set his eyes on the Lake during his visit to the area in the late 1860’s he described it as “the fairest picture the whole earth affords.”
A locale of unmatched beauty
The Lake which was created by volcanic activity was first discovered by an American called John C Fremont in 1844 but before that the Lake and its forested surrounding area was home to the Washo Indian tribe who called the Lake ‘big sky lake’ in honor of its sparkling, blue and clear waters. It has an average depth of 989 feet and at its deepest point the lake reaches a depth of 1,645 feet. However the Lake is not too conducive to swimming as the waters of the lake are often very cold even during the peak summer months. Moreover it is also known to have extremely strong and treacherous currents. Another interesting fact about the lake, is that this lake doesn’t drain into an ocean even though nearly sixty-three streams flow into it, rather it drains into the Pyramid Lake located in the Nevada desert by way of the Truckee River. Apart from the beauty of the lake, the area around it is also characterized by crisp, clear air, dense forests and much tranquility.
The entire area is blessed with agreeable weather as a result of which it has now become an immensely popular year round destination for Americans. The Lake on an average enjoys 250 to 300 days of sunny weather during the year. During the winter months it tends to receive nearly 300-500 inches of snow fall and this has enabled it to become one of the nation’s premier ski destinations. The Lake Tahoe area has a multitude of ski resorts that offer a vast number of activities like snowboarding, ice -skating, snow shoeing, snowmobiling, sleigh riding in addition to skiing and cross country skiing. During the warmer months, people flock to Lake Tahoe to indulge in various recreational activities like boating and water sports, hiking, tennis, camping, ballooning, golf, horseback riding, parasailing, bungee jumping and much more.
North and South Lake Tahoe are easily accessible by various modes of transport. Lake Tahoe is located on the border between California and Nevada. This popular resort destination lies 200 miles to the east of the Californian city of San Francisco while it is just 30 miles to the west of Reno in Nevada. North Lake Tahoe which is known for its ski resorts can be accessed by car via the I-80 from San Francisco. South Lake Tahoe which is populated by many hotels, restaurants and casinos lies mainly in Nevada and can be reached from Reno by taking US 395 South and then US 50 West..
The closest commercial airports are Reno Tahoe cozyturtlerv International airport in Nevada which can be accessed via a 40 minute drive from this popular year round destination. Another big commercial airport that serves the region is the Sacramento International Airport in California which is located two hours away. Smaller airports like South Lake Tahoe Airport and Truckee-Tahoe Airport afford additional air links to Lake Tahoe.
During the winter ski months several bus services operate to various ski resorts like the Bay Area Ski Bus and the NAC ski.
Lake Tahoe can also be accessed by train on the Amtrak California Zephyr Route that makes a stop in Truckee.
Towns and Villages on the shoreline
The shoreline of Lake Town has several towns and villages each of which are known for their own distinct character and myriad attractions. Lake Tahoe is divided into two distinct parts North Lake Tahoe which is home to ski resorts and towns like Incline Village, which is a wealthy enclave that is peppered with million dollar homes, shops and restaurants. Other towns in North Lake Tahoe include the old railroad town of Truckee, Tahoe City, ski resort towns of Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley which was the site of the 1960’s Winter Olympic Games amongst others.
South Lake Tahoe is a large area which is essentially geared towards tourism and lies largely in the state of Nevada. This tourist heavy area is home to several big name casinos like Harrah’s, Harveys, Mont Bleu and the Horzion which are all located in the town of Stateline in Nevada. These casinos are not only known as gambling destinations but are considered to be resorts which provide much entertainment of all the family.
Apart from these towns and villages, the area surrounding North and South Lake Tahoe also has a number of state parks like the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park which offers several recreations options to vacationers and locals alike. Sand Harbor with its sandy beaches is a preferred location in the park. It is located three miles to the west of Incline village and has boating and picnicking facilities. Sand Harbor is hosts the popular Lake Tahoe Shakespeare festival every July. Other popular locales in the Park include Memorial Point and Hidden Beach, Cave Rock, Spooner Lake, Zephyr Cover all of which have facilities for picnicking, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, camping, trekking etc.