Jewel of the Sierras - Lake Tahoe
Updated: Jul 3
Visiting Lake Tahoe has been on our list for many years. This sparkling gem is nestled in the Sierra Mountains, split between California & Nevada. Crystal clear water attracts bathers and water sports during the warm months, and is a world class ski area in the snow season. Jeane & Dave loaded up the car and off we went.
We stopped at the Pyramid Creek Trailhead along Hwy 50 for a hike before reaching the lake. There was a nice easy hike up along Pyramid Creek to view some small cascades and falls. We stopped for a quick bite under the pines and looped back to the trailhead, opting out of the more difficult hike up to Horsetail Falls. We all noticed the thinner air as the elevation was almost 7,000 feet.
Continuing on towards Lake Tahoe we observed that traffic was quite heavy for a Wednesday afternoon. After checking into the Blue Jay Lodge we walked down to the beach and grabbed some tasty frozen Sangrias. The lake was busy with jet skis, kayaks, paddleboards and powerboats, as well as a few swimmers, but the water was way too cool for this guy! Snow capped mountains were a stunning backdrop for the lake and surroundings.
Thinking about pizza, we strolled back to "the strip" along Hwy 50, ending up at Basecamp Pizza. The joint was really jumping but we managed to get seats at the bar immediately, and enjoyed some delicious pizza while listening to a talented young guy sing & play guitar. Another walk down to the beach to watch the fiery sunset was enough to send these four off to bed.
After a quick breakfast at the lodge we drove around the southwest side of the lake to stop at Inspiration Point which offered stunning views of Emerald Bay, Fannette Island and the main lake beyond. We could see many boats and kayaks paddling around the cool, clear water.
The trailhead for our first hike to Cascade Falls was just across the road so we grabbed our backpacks and set off. The descriptive guide we had looked up predicted a 20 minute hike, and being about 10:30 we left our lunch in the car. The first stretch was an easy ramble through Ponderosa Pines, but quickly turned into a narrow path though large granite boulders and ledges, with a moderate change in elevation. All of us were ready for a break when we reached the falls, which were really roaring with more water flow than in many years. The granite shelfs offered great viewing platforms to see the falls, Cascade Lake and Lake Tahoe beyond that to the East.
Wishing we had brought some food we headed back, finding the return trip to go a bit faster than expected. But I'm pretty sure you would have to be about 18 years of age to make it in 20 minutes! We found a secluded spot under the trees with a nice view of Emerald Bay and rested our feet & backs while enjoying some tasty sandwiches from Safeway.
Now we are back on the road heading north and observing the activity on the lake to our right and the mountains to the left. Crossing the Truckee River flowing out of the lake at Tahoe City, we are on our way back to civilization. This has been a short & sweet visit with a beautiful lake, and we plan to return again to do more exploring.