The shoulder season between North Lake Tahoe’s summer and winter is described by many as the best time of year to explore this beautiful region in America's Sierra Nevada mountain range. There are still plenty of exciting events going on, the water of Lake Tahoe, which straddles the California-Nevada border, is just as warm, and the views just as (if not more) breathtaking!
Kevin Hickey, a North Lake Tahoe local, gives his insider tips on the many activities on offer during this time of the year.
Stand-Up Paddleboard On Lake Tahoe
As summer wanes in to autumn days, the crystal-clear waters of Lake Tahoe continue to warm up, so it is a great time to grab a paddleboard and explore a new piece of shoreline. On a perfect Lake Tahoe day, you can peer as deep as 20 metres down into the glacier-fed depths of the lake from your paddleboard.
Autumn is a great time for beginners because fewer boats mean fewer wakes and easier paddling. Plan on spending a whole morning here on the smooth waters.
Hike To A Backcountry Lake Or Secret Beach
While Lake Tahoe may be the main attraction, catching the rays at a new beach like Spooner Lake, Marlette or the better known Donner Lake is a fun way to enjoy a secluded beach experience. There are several other hidden beaches around North Lake Tahoe, including Secret Cove, Skunk Harbor and Chimney Beach. Many require a bit of a hike but it is well worth it once you see the white-sand beaches, clear water, and absence of crowds.
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Mountain Bike Through Fall Foliage
North Lake Tahoe is home to 200 kilometres of marked mountain biking trails. Intermediate to advanced mountain bikers will find stunning lake views, challenging single track and heart-pumping ascents and descents across the Tahoe Rim Trail.
Pair these breath-taking trails with a mix of aspen leaves turning vibrant orange, red and gold, and the evergreen pine trees for an only-in-North-Lake-Tahoe experience. The late summer and early autumn months are ideal for breaking a sweat on one of the Sierras’ many mountain biking trails, as there tends to be less traffic so you can go at your own pace.
Fall Foodie Events
The food around the Tahoe Basin peaks in autumn. You can experience the culinary offerings at events like Guitar Strings vs Chicken Wings at Squaw Valley; Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine at Northstar California; or Homewood's Farm to Peak dinners.
Music, Food & Brews
One reason locals call autumn the 'secret season' in Lake Tahoe is because of the quiet and serenity around the lake. There is nothing better than grabbing a cold beverage at one of the stops on the Ale Trail, sitting on a patio overlooking the lake and taking in the notes of some local music played al fresco.