Life in the mountains, especially in the Tahoe Sierra, is an amazing life experience whether you’re here for a week or a lifetime. The hues of Lake Tahoe change seemingly by the minute, the alpenglow is different across the evening sky every day, wildflowers are in a constant state of appearing and disappearing overnight, and the weather is always changing. It’s also unpredictable.
Within the span of a week in early June, temperatures ranged from 75 degrees to freezing. The weather changed from glassy days on Big Blue to waves like those on the ocean and several inches of fresh powder in the mountains. Such is life in the mountains, which is why it’s important to be prepared for any visit to Tahoe.
I’ve experienced summer days when it’s 85 degrees at lake level and a fast-moving storm has brought freezing temperatures and snowfall to the higher elevations.
Carry layers, don’t go out alone, tell someone your destination and your anticipated return time. Stay on the trails and wear appropriate footwear. If it’s windy, don’t paddleboard or kayak on any lake. Always wear a PFD (personal flotation device). When in doubt, ask a local outfitter, or for that matter any local. If locals aren’t out on the lake, you shouldn’t be either.
I’ve had to cross creeks and streams in the last few weeks hiking on familiar trails that I’ve never seen water on until this year. Be prepared to get wet if you’re out hiking. Wear good boots and carry extra socks. It’s fun to tromp through a mountain stream and get muddy. It’s part of the wonder of Tahoe.