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6 Ways to Enjoy Summer in Lake Tahoe

Updated: Jul 15, 2022

Come for the winter and stay for the summer”rings especially true in Lake Tahoe. In honor of the the start of summer, we’re sharing our top insider tips to enjoy Lake Tahoe all summer long.

Our Tahoe-based contributors share our top mountain biking trails, hikes, fishing spots, and beaches along with our favorite local businesses and services to make outdoor adventuring easy. Where should you stay in Lake Tahoe? We’ve compiled a list of our favorite communities and hotels around the lake and highlighted where you can get VIP perks thanks to our travel agency partner, Fora.

1) Lake Tahoe Mountain Biking

Views from the Flume Trail. Courtesy of Travel Nevada

Mountain biking in Lake Tahoe is hard to rival. Not only do many of the trails have lake views, but the sheer number of places to ride, set this area apart from other biking hubs in the U.S. From steep and technical, to smooth and family friendly, the North and South shores have trails suited to all skill levels and riding styles. Most of the local shops offer bike rentals ranging from simple hardtails to high performance full suspension rigs.

For a world class mountain bike park with lift access, consider Northstar California. Epic Pass holders for the 2022-23 season have summer lift access and will receive 20% off of bike rentals and food. Day passes can be purchased at the window. Northstar also sells summer season passes. There are also several community run bike parks that are great for skill progression and for kids.

To discover trails in the area, download the Trailforks or Mountain Bike Project apps before visiting.

Top Mountain Biking Trails (links in blue go to Trailforks itineraries):

Jackass Loop (Truckee), Stanford Rock (Tahoe City), Beaver Tail (Kings Beach), Incline Flume Trail (Incline Village), Corral Trail (South Lake Tahoe)

Top Bike Shops: The Backcountry (Truckee), Cyclepaths (Truckee), Village Ski Loft (Incline Village), Sierra Ski and Bike (South Lake Tahoe)

2) Paddle Boarding or Kayaking on Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbor is a top spot for SUP. Courtesy of Tahoe Water Sports

Lake Tahoe is a mecca for paddle boarding and kayaking. Try to go in the morning before the winds pick up in the afternoon. Though there are some beaches where you can rent a paddle board or kayak on site, we like to make it easy by renting through a delivery service. Once you have your board or boat, there are tons of launch locations - from the turquoise waters of Tahoe’s East shore to the immense rocky outcroppings of DL Bliss State Park. You can easily spend a week exploring Tahoe’s incredible shoreline.

Best Launch Points with Rentals: Sand Harbor (Incline Village), Kings Beach State Park (Kings Beach), Watermans Landing (Carnelian Bay), Camp Richardson/ Pope Beach (South Lake Tahoe), Emerald Bay State Park (South Lake Tahoe, note a ~1 mile hike is required to access beach and rental shop)

Best Launch Points without Rentals: Chimney Beach (Incline Village), DL Bliss State Park (Tahoma)

Best Rental Delivery Services: Tahoe Paddle Board (North Lake)

"No summer trip to Tahoe is complete without getting out on the crystal clear water and soaking in the scenery"

3) Rafting in the Truckee or American River

Take the whole family rafting at the South Fork of the American River. Courtesy of South Fork American

From the local, calm waters on the Truckee River to the world class rapids of the American River, rafting is a guaranteed fun time. For an easy, family-friendly float, head to the Truckee River in Tahoe City. This slow, meandering section is ideal for larger groups to spend a few hours floating under the great pines.

If this feels limited, there is world class whitewater rafting on the American River in Coloma, California, about 1.5 hours driving from Tahoe’s South shore. Here, the South Fork of the American River is home to many incredible whitewater sections run by a selection of great guide services.

Best Floats and Rentals: Truckee River Raft Co (Tahoe City), Tahoe Whitewater Tours (Truckee)

Top Guide Services: OARS (Coloma)

4) Hike along high alpine vista's overlooking Lake Tahoe's 71 mile shoreline

Day trip views will stun at Lake Tahoe. Emerald Bay View courtesy of

One of Tahoe’s finest attributes is the stunning beauty of day trip hikes in the area. The high alpine vistas overlooking the lake are not in short supply. With virtually endless networks of trails surrounding the lake’s 71 mile shoreline, no matter where you're staying, a quick drive will find you at a trailhead with access to incredible short and long hikes well suited to day trips.

Most of the larger resorts including Northstar California, Palisades Tahoe, and Heavenly offer lift-accessed hiking around their mountains. Hiking passes tend to be reasonable and can be purchased at the ticket window.

Best Day Trip Hiking (links in blue go to Hiking Forks itineraries): Mt. Rose Trail (Incline Village), Mt. Tallac (South Lake Tahoe), Heavenly (South Lake Tahoe), Tahoe Rim Trail (Incline Village), Palisades Tahoe (Tahoe City), Rubicon Trail (South lake Tahoe), Mt. Judah Loop (Truckee)

Best Shops for Hiking Gear and Equipment: Granite Chief (Truckee), Alpenglow Sports (Tahoe City), Tahoe Sports Ltd (South Lake)

5) Fishing in Lake Tahoe or the Truckee River

Serene fishing on the Lake Tahoe

Tahoe has a number of fishing guides and charter services around the lake. Whether you're a passionate angler looking for a guide to show you the local water, looking to charter a boat for the day with a group, or a family seeking to learn the basics of fly fishing, there's an option for you.

For fly fishing, look to the Truckee River in North Lake or the West Carson, a short drive from South Lake Tahoe. For those looking to learn the basics, we recommend Matt Heron’s Fly Fishing school in Olympic Valley.

To get out onto the lake, look to the South Shore for some of the best guided charters. This is a great option for larger groups and provides the opportunity to fish for Tahoe's famed Mackinaw Trout.

Best Shops: Trout Creek Outfitters (Truckee)

Best Charters: Nor-Cal Charters (South Lake Tahoe)

Best Fly Fishing Guide Services: Matt Herron’s Fly Fishing (Truckee/ Tahoe City)

6) Overnight excursions - Camping & Backpacking in Tahoe

Desolation Wilderness is a granite lover's paradise. Courtesy of

Lake Tahoe is surrounded by vast wilderness areas with an abundance of shorter to longer trails well suited for backpacking including sections of the Pacific Crest Trail. In addition, The Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT), spans a stunning 170 mile loop around the Tahoe Basin. The TRT has several access points and sections of it are ideal for 2 or 3 day excursions.

Closer to the lake, there are a number of campgrounds with easy access to the water. For off road enthusiasts, don't miss the famed Rubicon Jeep Trail. This long, 4x4 dirt road is well known for its combination of off-roading and wilderness camping.

Desolation Wilderness, located to the South West of Tahoe, is a granite lovers paradise and is known for its almost countless number of alpine lakes suitable for swimming. This is one of Tahoe’s most famous backpacking areas and should not be missed.

Best Backpacking Trails (links in blue go to Hiking Forks itineraries):

Where Should You Stay in Lake Tahoe?

Tahoe's communities can broadly be divided amongst four areas — South Lake, North Lake, West Shore, South Lake, and Truckee. Book your Tahoe trip with Avant Ski and Fora. You'll get access to the best hotel rates available, and VIP perks like resort credits and room upgrades (all for free!)

Image courtesy of Edgewood Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe is the largest town and most lively of the surrounding lake communities. South Lake has the best of all worlds — access to some of the best wilderness areas and largest mountains plus, a lively nightlife with casinos and restaurants. Stay at Edgewood Tahoe, Lake's only true luxury lakefront resort. With lake views from 57 rooms and scenic resort views from another 97 rooms, a heated lakeside pool, three restaurants, Tom Fazio championship golf course, 8,500 spa and private beach with water sports, Edgewood Tahoe is where you come to be pampered. Seven new Lakeview Villa Suites are set to open Fall 2022.

Fora Perks:

  • $100 resort/hotel credit

  • Breakfast credit (up to $60 per room, per day)

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out, based upon availability

Image courtesy of Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort

North Lake Tahoe is well suited for those seeking a quieter experience with excellent access to hiking. Stay at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino for scenic waterfront experience nestled into the Sierra Nevada mountains. From spacious rooms to private, waterfront cottages, it's easy to relax here.

Fora Perks:

  • $100 resort / hotel credit

  • Breakfast daily for two guests per bedroom

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out, based upon availability

Image courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe

Truckee is best known for its small town feel and easy access to Lake Tahoe and Donner Summit and all of their recreational activities. Downtown is a historic district with many independent businesses including shops, restaurants and museums and often featuring live entertainment. Stay nearby at the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe, nestled mid-mountain at Northstar California and 15 minutes drive to the lake. Enjoy the backyard patio area with fire pits and games, heated pool and kids pool, spa and fitness center, and arcade. Northstar Village is a quick gondola ride away to shops and dining at Northstar. Plus, have exclusive access to the Lake Club with an outdoor whirlpool, cozy fireplaces, beach access and a private pier. Complimentary kayaks and standup paddle boards are provided for guest use and rentals for other water sports are available.

Fora Perks:

  • $100 resort / hotel credit

  • Breakfast daily for two guests per bedroom

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out, based upon availability

West Shore has immense beauty and charm and is a nice play to stay, especially if you prefer to rent a home for the week. Boat rentals are also easier here.


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