There is a reason I have chosen to call Lake Tahoe “home” and I can’t help rattling off recommendations to clients and friends visiting. I’d love to share with you my top picks for everything Tahoe-related. If you have additional recommendations you think I should consider, please let me know!
Lake Tahoe has a incredible array of hikes, and the list just keeps going the longer I live here and get to explore more. So, first and foremost, I’d recommend you grab a copy of Afoot and Afield and use that as your resource guide. I have barely scratched the surface!
My favorite quick excursions are the following:
1) Shirley Canyon, in Squaw Valley
2) Horseshoe Ridge (up Elizabeth Way, on the west shore)
3) Rubicon Trail
4) Meeks Bay Fire Road
5) Eagle Lake
6) Cascade Falls
7) Emigrant Trail in Truckee
8) Rifle Peak in Incline
As the vacation-destination for much of the greater Bay Area, Lake Tahoe and Truckee offers a unique offering of fine and casual mountain dining. I will take the time here to go over my favorite restaurants, as well as those that offer a great setting.
1) My new favorite restaurant of all-time is Old Town Tap in Truckee. They have such great customer service, and the menu is incredibly thought-through, and well-presented. Great cocktails
2) Plumpjack Squaw Valley. You can’t go wrong ordering their amazing buttered Wagyu-beef burger on a brioche bun. Plumpjack’ poke cones are another one of my favorites. This restaurant really puts a lot of effort into hand-crafting everything they produce. The bar has great cocktails too.
3) For great Mexican, La Mexicana in Kings Beach has my vote. Tacos Jalisco’s in Truckee is another favorite, as is T’s Rotisserie, in Incline Village. None of these have a very good “atmosphere,” but we’re here for the food, right?
4) Best sandwich spots are West Shore Market, and SugarPine Cakery (which also has the BEST baked treats!!)
Best Dining Setting:
1) I love the setting of West Shore Cafe, and their new Executive Chef is known for innovative dining concepts, so I’m also excited to see what their food will be like this summer! Located on the west shore of Lake Tahoe, in Homewood, West Shore Cafe has a great deck and pier with cafe lights. You can dine ON the pier itself, right over the water!
2) Lone Eagle Grille in the Hyatt Incline Village has a great setting on their sandy beach, and the food is very good as well!
3) Sunnyside Resort and Lodge is located in the desirable Tahoe Park neighborhood on the west shore, just south of Tahoe City. Their Salmon Bowl is a top pick of mine. Their deck is packed during the summer, and is a great place to wine, dine and enjoy your afternoon on Lake Tahoe.
4) Christy Hill, in downtown Tahoe City has a gorgeous panoramic view of the Lake from their dining room, and a great outdoor patio as well. In the summer, they serve drinks and apps down in the “Sand Bar.”
1) The best cocktail is definitely found at Truckee Tavern, in downtown Truckee. Enough said. Their ambiance, the liquor selection, and the hand-detailed crafting is unparalleled anywhere else in the area. They cut their own ice cube too.
2) Moody’s in Truckee also has a good cocktail menu and bartenders who like to think outside the box to create..
3) I’d also recommend Truckee Tap for a good cocktail, as well as of course Plumpjack’s Squaw Valley.
4) Wolfdale’s located in downtown Tahoe City has a great happy hour and “BP”, the resident bartender, is phenomenal– such a treat to sit there and chat with. Definitely order a martini and the smoked trout dish.
5) A rum punch at Chamber’s Landing is a must. Bonus points to boat up.
As an avid Nordstrom and Sak’s shopper, living in Lake Tahoe can sometimes be a fashion struggle. However, thankfully there are a few good options for women’s clothing here!
1) My favorite store is Fine ‘n Funky, located in downtown Tahoe City. The owner, Lisa, also has a location in Reno, which I’ve never visited, but she’s always bringing me up pieces from that store, if and when the Tahoe City location isn’t doing it for me.
2) Plumpjack Sports, located in Squaw Valley is kind of “Mountain Nordstroms,” and the gals in there are always so helpful and fun.
3) Dressed Boutique in Truckee
4) Nomad, in Truckee
5) Tipsey Gypsey in Tahoe City
The best view for minimal effort is found up at Eagle Rock, on the west shore of Lake Tahoe. Walk 5 minutes uphill, for a breath-taking panoramic view of Lake Tahoe. Bring wine or a sandwich and stay for hours!
Another great spot is up Old Donner Pass Road, above Donner Lake. Rainbow bridge is to your left (up the road).
The Flume Trail, on the east shore is another gem, with incredible views of Sand Harbor, below. Note: there is a very annoying trudge uphill on sand in this hike.
During the summer, every town has incredible free music offerings!
Tahoe City offers music in the park at Commons Beach, every Sunday evening.
Truckee has music in their park by the Legacy Trail, every Wednesday evening.
Squaw Valley has music in the village every Tuesday, for “Bluesdays Tuesdays.”
The Crystal Bay Club has great shows, located in Crystal Bay, Nevada.
Who doesn’t love to bike?? Every time I hop on a bike, I feel like a kid again. There’s nothing better! We have a phenomenal bike trail system in Lake Tahoe. If you’re looking for mountain biking trails, definitely stop into one of our great local bike shops, such as Olympic Bike in Tahoe City, or the Backcountry Shop, in Truckee and ask them for their tips and tricks.
The bike path runs from Squaw Valley along the Truckee River, to Tahoe City, and then both down the west shore to Meeks Bay, and the north shore to Dollar Point. There are plans to extend and connect a few missing links along the way, and there is current construction to build the path from Incline Village, down the East Shore.
Most of the real estate fronting the Lake is privately held, however there are plenty of public access points, if you know where to look. Owning in a neighborhood with lake access is another way residents are able to gain private access to the Lake, and of course the highest and best form of access is owning right there on the Lake. We have some phenomenal lakefronts in Tahoe, ranging from small Old-Tahoe cabins, to stunning modern builds, all with their exquisite lake access.
The best public beaches are as follows:
1) All of the east shore. Hands-down the most beautiful beaches and waters on the Lake. Sand Harbor is a public state beach, with paid parking, however there are plenty of hike-in spots along the east shore. I won’t give out names, but you’ll find them. Or call me to ask! 530-209-4980.
2) Speedboat Beach, in Kings Beach. Beautiful boulders, and great south-facing sun exposure. Parking is limited.
3) Skylandia and Bristlecone beaches in Tahoe City are great locals’ favorites.
4) There are numerous public piers on Donner Lake, along the north-shore of the Lake. Park off the road, and walk down!
5) Commons Beach, in Tahoe City.
6) Tahoe Vista National Beach, in Tahoe Vista
7) There are four publicly accessible piers in Tahoe City. Two to the left of the Safeway parking lot, one is the Tahoe City Marina’s pier, and the other is the pier to the right of TC Marina, down from Za’s and Christy Hill, off Grove Street.
8) There is a publicly accessible pier down the West Shore, by Blackwood Canyon.
9) Hurricane Bay has a beautiful rocky beach. Make sure to respect the road and drivers on the road down there! It gets a little tight sometimes.
Here’s I’d refer again to the amazing bike path we have that runs along the Lake and river. There are also numerous single track trails to hit (see the Hike list as well!). I love running on the trails of the Nordic Center, up in the Highlands neighborhood of Tahoe City, as well as the Ward Creek trail, just past Sunnyside on the right, just after crossing Ward Creek.
The Legacy Trail in Truckee runs along the Truckee River, just outside of downtown, and is another great paved trail to cruise on.
First, you need a boat, or kayak, or paddle board. Ask me for recommendations on rentals or companies to purchase from, depending on where you’re looking for! (530-209-4980).
The waters on the east shore are incredible, and I would highly recommend you make your way over there. Sugar Pine Point State Park also has beautiful sandy shores, and DL Bliss State Park offers stunning boulders to jump off of. The west shore offers the deepest bathymetry on the lake, while the north shore is shallower, longer. That’s something to consider if you’re looking to purchase real estate on the Lake itself. Are you a boater, do you need deep water, no matter what drought years look like? Contact me to discuss this in greater detail.
A few restaurants offer boat-in access, which is a fun way to explore the Lake!
Best Public Golf Courses~
#1) Old Greenwood– Old Greenwood offers a phenomenal Jack Nicklaus-designed course with incredible course conditions. This course is nestled in a secluded area just outside downtown Truckee. Their practice facility is unparalleled for a public golf course.
#2) Gray’s Crossing, located up 89 just north of downtown Truckee. I love the real estate in Gray’s Crossing, and the community this place offers. Great course, great spot. Old Greenwood and Gray’s Crossing are the only two 36-hole facilities in Tahoe.
#3) Coyote Moon. Located just before Tahoe Donner on Northwoods Blvd., this course has a wonderful atmosphere. It’s the only course around with no real estate nestled into the design, so really stands out as a wonderful “nature” experience. One can sometimes spot a deer, coyote, or even a bear! The elevation changes, and the lies you get there really make it a true mountain course.
Best Private Golf Courses~
#1) Martis Camp Golf Course offers an incredible high end experience from top to bottom, and the vistas as one stands at many of the tee-boxes, are utterly beautiful. Their practice facility is amazing. It’s an immaculate course.
#2) Clear Creek Golf Course is a Coore-Crenshaw designed course, and amazingly fun to play! As they’re still building up the community, there’s not much infrastructure, but golf-wise that means it’s just you and the course. You’re playing out there by yourself!
#3) Lahontan Golf Course was developed by the same developer that built Pebble Beach, and it’s a true golf-community. It finishes Par 3, Par 3, par 5, par 5 and you have wonderful views of Northstar and Martis Valley. They’re rebuilding their greens this summer (2018).