Lake Tahoe, we had a first missed date… Your definitely were on our list for the first part of the road trip on the US West coast, but we could not make the detour in the end, because we lacked time. What a shame ! But we did not want to give up entirely, and because the weather was not that good on the coast… It was the perfect occasion to come see you – well, more like convincing the guys to let us come and say hi ! After a stop in Sacramento, we packed everything and drove toward you ! (Look at this picture, how can you resist that ?)
» Who are you Lake Tahoe ?
Okay, maybe it is time to stop talking to this damn lake like it was a person… ! So, let’s get back to business : Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America. It is located astride the border between California and Nevada (one good opportunity to cross 2 states off of your list in one single visit). It is renown for its amazing landscapes, and its very clear water, despite the depth of the lake. The area lives all year round as it is possible to ski during the Winter and go sailing in the Summer – I actually think it would be nice to see it at different seasons ! Visitors are usually going to South Lake Tahoe : if the village has nothing extraordinary (huge station, but very common…), the banks of the lake are definitely worth the detour !
» Nevada Beach
As you way have read it going through the list of campgrounds that we visited, we ended up in a pine forest near Nevada Beach (by chance
as usual). And spent a certain amount of time on this beautiful beach… Before dinner, for sunset. The place was completely empty, we had the view over Lake Tahoe and its mountains for ourselves. We went along the bank, climbed on the pontoons, had a giant photoshoot (the place was too nice to miss this opportunity, but around 400 pictures to select and edit afterwards is a struggle…). It is a spot made to simply and quietly enjoy the landscape !
» Forest bike trail
To discover more of Lake Tahoe, we followed the pieces of advice given by the lady from the campground. In fact,the day before, while going to pay for the night we spent there, I had a little chat with the person managing the front desk and she recommended to rent some bikes and go along the bank. Great idea, we went to the “store” that she recommended : Anderson’s Bike Rental (645 Emerald Bay Road, South Lake Tahoe). They have quite a big fleet, we opted for 2 single bikes… and a tandem bike ! i cannot even remember who had this marvelous idea, but I can surely tell you that it was quite the ride. It is definitely harder than it looks, but we still laugh about it now, thinking about the few slips that happened (mine of course).
From the bike rental, you will directly be on the Forest Bike trail. It is a paved path, taken care of by the Forest Service, going along the coast and parallel to the road (Highway 89). You have all the necessary instructions on the map given with the bikes to follow this trail, that is approx. 10 miles long (around 16km). You can then of course have a break whenever you want to, signs are leading the way to must-sees : Pope Beach and Baldwin Beach for example. I could not cite all the stops we have made, but we really enjoyed this ride !
Our only regret ? Not having done our homework properly to push to Emerald Bay. And I mean the vista points over this beautiful bay, with turquoise waters. You will have to climb a bit (yes, you are still up in the mountains) but I think that the ascent is worth it when the horizon is cloudless ! You can go to Inspiration Point for example.
» Meeting a local
This amazing day around the lake (well, almost, the complete tour will be done another time, I promise !) had to end up on a crazier note. And I spoiled the surprise a bit by posting the article on the national parks… but WE SAW A (BABY) BEAR ! Try to picture my astonished face, even a year after ! Coming back from the bike ride, we met a bear walking down the street – it was incredible. The locals told us it was a baby bear looking for food (here is a good excuse to actually use the bear-proof lockers). But for a baby, jeez, it was really big and vigorous ! We watched it from the other side of the road while Eirik was immortalizing the moment… When it started to move, WAAAAAAAH, we got on our bikes to get away as we could then really sense the strength of the beast (and I can tell you that fleeing a hungry bear alone on a tandem bike that you cannot ride at all is scary). We must have talked about it for hours, we were just so impressed, it was amazing !
Anyway, this stage at Lake Tahoe had its share of surprises, and I am really glad we could finally go after the first disappointment of having to kiss it goodbye. You will have to go North of the West coast (
nice sentence without any clear sense) but it is worth it, it is a real breath of fresh air !
PS : We did not have the camera with us during the bike ride unfortunately (do not even ask me why) and my telephone died in the middle of it (reason : to much Snapchat…). That is why I do not have that many pictures from the vista points, but trust me, I assure you it is over the top !