When it comes to Lake Tahoe, Mark Twain is arguably one of the most famous authors who has described the beauty of this sapphire lake. He was also noted to say that golf is a good walk spoiled. I’m pretty sure if disc golf was around during his time, he would’ve had a much more positive view on this activity versus the traditional one. If you’re looking for something a bit different but still want an outdoor activity, look no farther than disc golf.
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While golf is expensive to play, disc golf is a downright bargain. For around $40, you can purchase a set of discs, then head over to an assortment of courses to play the sport for free throughout the Tahoe Sierra. It is similar to golf in that there is a series of disc golf baskets (holes) with predetermined sets of throws (par) in which to get your disc (golf ball) into the hole. For disc golf, each disc basket sports a sign with the distance to the basket and how many throws you get, so there’s no guessing — you’ll be an informed player.
Now that we’ve got you interested, the question is where can you play it if you’re in South Lake Tahoe? Luckily, there’s four courses that offer up a variety of adventures depending on how much time you have and the effort you want to put in.
Bijou Community Park
For beginners and those looking for a flatter more open course, try Bijou Community Park. Besides having a bike park, playground, dog area, skatepark and a vast assortment of other opportunities, it’s also home to a 27-hole course. The first nine are perfect for a first-timer since the majority of the holes are short but still wooded enough to give some challenge. For more experienced disc golfers, the last 18 are where it’s at.
Local’s tip: Since it’s located smack dab in the center of South Lake Tahoe, it’s the busiest right after work and on weekends. So visit early or during the shoulder season. The park is located at 1099 Al Tahoe Blvd. in South Lake Tahoe. | cityofslt.us
Zephyr Cove Park
If you have a friend coming to town and want to showcase the views of the region while playing a round of disc golf, try Zephyr Cove Park. This densely treed course starts out in the forest and slowly ascends out of the valley. Around Hole 9, the vegetation transforms from a forested canopy to mostly manzanita bushes. Then you’ll come on Hole 11 tee box and The View, as we like to say. From the top of this tee box, you’ll feel as though your disc will fly forever all the way into the lake.
Local’s tip: Once the vegetation changes at Hole 9, be sure to keep an eye out for everyone’s discs. The dense manzanita bushes swallow discs. The park is located at State Route 50 and Warrior Way in Zephyr Cove, Nev. | communityservices.douglascountynv.gov
Kirkwood Mountain Resort
The course with the shortest season due to its elevation and location is a great option for those seeking cooler air on a hot summer’s day. At 7,800 feet above sea level, Kirkwood Mountain Resort’s course allows you to hike through old growth, over creeks and open meadows so it’s a good idea to wear hiking shoes if you do enjoy this course.
Local’s Tip: Due to it being located at Kirkwood Mountain resort, the course is typically open from late June into October. The park is located in Kirkwood Mountain Resort above the Timber Creek base area. | kirkwood.com
Turtle Rock Park
Turtle Rock Park is 29 miles from South Lake Tahoe. This is by far the quietest of the four courses. This gorgeous 18-hole layout is the most unique as well, home to multiple holes that aren’t just the typical par 3s but also par 4s and 5s. At an elevation of 6,100 feet, this course features a sampling of high-dessert meadows alongside a few holes that tuck under the forest canopy. Be sure to wear your hiking boots due to the rocky terrain.
Local’s tip: In the dog days of summer, this course can get very warm, so either visit early in the morning or in the fall or late spring. The park is located on State Route 89/4 in Markleeville. | Facebook Turtle Rock Park Disc Golf