As we welcome in the warming and longer days of the season in the Tahoe Sierra, we’ve put together our annual summer fun guide – the Ultimate Tahoe Summer Bucket List.
This year marks our 11th year of putting together our picks for this summer’s must-do fun list. I challenged myself this year to not repeat anything on last year’s list and I did it (with the exception that I put golf on this year’s list again – there are 44 courses in the region after all.)
We have information on nearly all of the items on the bucket list at TheTahoeWeekly.com. Just go to the search bar and enter any item and you’ll find information. For those items we haven’t covered yet, we’ll be writing features on all of these fun activities (it’s a hard job).
Check trail conditions before going out as snow at higher elevations will linger into June. Lake Tahoe and other waterways are extremely cold from snowmelt and therefore dangerous. Stay close to shore during water activities and wear a life vest. It only takes minutes for hyperthermia to set it.
1. Stay at the Sierra Club’s historic Clair Tappaan Lodge.
2. Take a full moon hike or kayak tour. They are listed in Wet ‘n’ Dirty.
3. Take in the show during the Perseid Meteor Shower from Aug. 11 to 13. Find a spot to lie down and wait.
4. Freefall at 120 mph.
5. Enjoy yoga on the beach. It doesn’t get much better.
6. Go bird watching with Tahoe Institute for Natural Science.
7. Golf at the Tahoe City Golf Course. It’s 100 years old this year, so this is a must.
8. Book a tee time at one of the region’s 44 public courses. Don’t worry, we have all of the details in our annual Golf Guide at TheTahoeWeekly.com.
9. Jump in the lake like you did when you were a kid.
10. Chill at Grover Hot Springs.
11. Listen to the sounds of Jody Sweet busking on the streets of Truckee.
12. Explore the night sky with Tahoe Star Tours.
13. Tee off at Tahoe’s disc golf courses.
14. Learn how to grow vegetables in the Tahoe Sierra.
15. Go in search of Monkey Rock off the Flume Trail.
16. Smell a tree. Jeffrey pines smell like butterscotch. Make a game of it.
17. Shop local. Our small businesses rely on you, so spend freely.
18. Take only pictures. Leave the rocks & flowers. They belong to everyone.
19. Pick up litter.
20. Visit the East Shore’s Chimney Beach. Take a picture with the chimney.
21. Explore the family friendly trails at Taylor Creek.
22. Take the kids to the Truckee Fishing Derby on June 16.
23. Ward Creek State Park is an easy hike for everyone. Early season it’s bursting with wildflowers.
24. Visit Martis Valley Wildlife Area. It’s brimming with things to see.
25. Explore the Balancing Rock Nature Trail at D.L. Bliss State Park.
26. Explore the bike trails. There are breathtaking paved family trails throughout the Tahoe Sierra. We have a list at TheTahoeWeekly.com.
27. Explore the easy hike to Cascade Falls.
28. Join in the weekly art class every Friday at KidZone Museum.
29. Go for s’mores or make your own.
30. Check out our Top 20 spots for toddlers at TheTahoeWeekly.com.
31. Take the kids to Woodward Tahoe – they will love you forever for it.
Get thee to the mountains
32. Visit the Sierra Club back-country huts: Benson, Bradley & Ludlow.
33. Bag all three in one season.
34. Hike to Azalea and Flora Lakes on Donner Summit.
35. Look for the face of the Bard at Shakespeare Rock.
36. Hike to Skunk Harbor.
37. Take a guided hike to Carpenter Valley.
38. Camp at Webber Lake & explore.
39. Explore the historic Donner Pass.
40. Hike part of Tahoe’s history on the Incline Flume Trial
41. Explore the wonder & awe of Roller Pass.
42. Take in the dramatic views to Snow Valley Peak.
43. Hike to Picnic Rock and enjoy the panoramic views.
44. Take in expansive views from Donner Peak.
45. Enjoy wildflowers at Meiss Meadows.
46. Explore the trails around Cave Rock.
47. Hike to the Martis Peak Lookout.
48. Try an endurance race – a marathon, a tri, swim races, mountain biking races. There’s usually several every weekend all summer.
49. Explore Hawley Grade Falls in Meyers.
50. It’s 13 miles to Heath Falls in Soda Springs, but it’s worth it.
51. Go bouldering at D.L. Bliss State Park.
52. Photograph the arborglyphs left by Basque shepherders.
53. Cycle around Lake Tahoe.
54. Explore the Sierra Valley by bike.
55. Take in the sunset mountain biking the Sawtooth Trail.
56. Mountain bike Henness Pass from Verdi to Boca.
57. Ride from Donner Lake to Cisco Grove. It’s gnarly.
58. Explore Tahoe singletrack. Pick up a copy of “Mountain Bike: Tahoe. 50 Select
Singletrack Routes” and get started.
59. Enjoy the mountain bike park at Sky Tavern.
60. Visit the new Incline Bike Park.
61. Try the mountain bike park at Woodward Tahoe. You can hone your skills in the foam pits while you’re there.
62. Need to improve your skills? Take a lesson offered at many of the local mountain bike parks.
63. Enjoy a serene cycle to Blue Lakes.
64. Bike along the trail following the Truckee River from Tahoe City to Glenshire.
65. Go big. Bike The Triangle made famous as part of the Lake Tahoe Ironman. Bike Tahoe City to Truckee to Kings Beach and back to Tahoe City. The climb to the top of Brockway is a doozy.
66. Try out an electric bike for the day.
Swim in the lakes
Sure, there’s Big Blue, but how about some of Tahoe’s other lakes:
67. Donner Lake with great beaches on both ends.
68. The Reservoirs – Boca, Stampede & Prosser.
69. Independence Lake north of Truckee.
70. Explore the lakes of Desolation Wilderness. There’s 87 named lakes. This will take a while.
71. OK, that’s a lot, we know. How about some of our favorite swimming holes in Desolation to start: Dicks Lake, Middle Velma, Fontanillis, Half Moon, Crag, Stony Ridge and what can be the best of all, Lake Aloha.
72. Loch Leven Lakes west of Donner Summit.
73. Paradise Lake north of Donner Summit.
74. Showers Lake on the Tahoe Rim Trail.
75. Star Lake at 9,200’ is the highest elevation lake in the region.
76. Go skinny dipping at the East Shore’s nude beaches.
77. Take a dip in the Potholes near Kirkwood.
It’s a dog’s life
78. In case you haven’t noticed, dogs enjoy a special place of honor in Tahoe. If your brought Fido on vacation, then take him with you on your adventures (just be sure dogs are allowed).
79. Pamper your dog. Belly rubs, back massages, ear rubs. Come on, they deserve it.
80. Take your dog on a hike.
81. Take your dog swimming. We have a list of dog-friendly beaches at TheTahoeWeekly.com.
82. Teach your dog to go kayaking or stand-up paddleboard with you. It takes patience and lots of treats.
83. Enjoy the dog parks in Tahoe City, North Tahoe Regional Park in Tahoe Vista or Bijou Community Park in South Lake Tahoe.
84. Bag it out. Seriously. And, that means packing it out of the back-country, too. There are no magic forest gnomes picking up those doggie bags on the trails.
Take to the water
85. Kayak, paddleboard or canoe? Read our pros & cons on each before you make a choice at TheTahoeWeekly.com.
86. Kayak Sand Harbor & explore the Thunderbird Lodge on one trip.
87. Get your tickets to the Concours d’Elegance on Aug. 10 & 11.
88. Go bar hopping by boat on Lake Tahoe. You’ll need a designated driver.
89. Go kayaking under the light of the moon.
90. Explore the hidden beaches of the East Shore by SUP.
91. Compete in a SUP race.
Sample the fare
92. Sample the local brews. Then take a growler with you.
93. How many local breweries can you visit?
94. Or, if wine is more your style, enjoy a flight from one of our knowledge wine purveyors.
95. Visit the farmers market. We have eight in the Tahoe Sierra.
96. Buy a fruit or vegetable that you’ve never tried before. When all else fails, grill it.
97. Forage for mushrooms (but only if you know how to identify them).
98. Try a locally made creation from coffee roasted in the Tahoe Sierra, to housemade ice cream at Little Truckee Ice Creamery, to the honey made in Tahoe from Harmony Honey Co.
99. Make your own Tahoe tea. We have the details at TheTahoeWeekly.com.
The Arts, The Music, The Events
100. Summer in the Tahoe Sierra is jam packed with events, festivals, wine walks, brew fests, live music, free outdoor concerts, Shakespeare at Sand Harbor, music festivals, yoga festivals and the list goes on. It’s so much stuff, we have a guide just for all of it. Look for our summer guide Tahoe Music, Events & Festivals out June 7.