Tahoe best winter activities

Snowshoeing at Donner Summit | Alyssa Ganong

Schools are closed, large events and music festivals have been cancelled, and even some ski resorts have decided to shutter as of press time for Tahoe Weekly. So, now that the kids are out of school unexpectedly and many people may be working remotely or not all, what is there to do so we don’t all go stir crazy? The No. 1 thing is to get outside.

Explore more winter trails.

Snowshoeing & ski touring serenity
Snowshoeing is a great activity to get outside, enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the Tahoe Sierra, find some peace and solace, get your blood flowing and, perhaps the most important, it’s really easy.

You can rent snowshoes are most local outfitters and they are inexpensive to buy, and I do recommend poles. You can even use your hiking poles or cross-country ski poles, in a pinch.

Ski touring is also fun if you’re a Nordic skier. It’s basically cross-country skiing on ungroomed trails. It takes a little bit of skill; but even a novice can pick up ski touring pretty quickly.

Whether snowshoeing or ski touring, be sure to bring a backpack with water, snacks and a camera. Wear sunscreen and dress in layers; you’ll get a great workout. And, it’s a great activity for all ages.

You can snowshoe anywhere there’s snow, including out your back door. Meadows are a great place for beginner snowshoers and skiers as they are flat and offer wide-open, sundrenched scenery to enjoy.

Local state parks are a great place to snowshoe. Try Donner Memorial State Park in Truckee, Sugar Pine Point State Park on the West Shore, Sand Harbor State Park on the East Shore and Van Sickle Bi-State Park on the South Shore.

Find more snow trails at TheTahoeWeekly.com; search for snowshoeing. I also recommend two local guidebooks: “50 of the Best Snowshoe Trails around Lake Tahoe” by Mike White and the newly released “Snowshoeing Around Lake tahoe” by Kathryn Reed.

Take a walkabout
Go for a walk. Seems simple, but many people just don’t think about taking a walk while visiting Tahoe. You can, of course, walk through your neighborhood, but I would recommend visiting some of the amazing multiuse trails in the region that are plowed during the winter.

Local plowed paths include the Truckee River Legacy Trail in Truckee, the Truckee River Trail from Dollar Point outside Tahoe City to Olympic Valley, the paved trail system in Incline Village, Nev., and the paved trail system on the South Shore. The Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition maintains an interactive list with information on all of the trails in the region that are plowed in the winter at tahoebike.org.

Fat biking | Sean McAlindin

Fat tire biking
Fat tire bikes or snow bikes have become a lot of more prevalent in Tahoe, and they are another great way to get outside. Along with biking on the paved trails around the region, snowmobile routes also make great snowbiking trails.

Some great snowmobile routes to try are Coldstream Canyon Road in Truckee, Fiberboard Freeway on Brockway Summit off Highway 267, Boca Reservoir in Truckee, Jackson Meadows north of Truckee, Blackwood Canyon on the West Shore and Blue Lakes in Hope Valley. Snowmobile use is heavy on weekends and parking will be limited, so go during the week.

Many Tahoe locals enjoy a variety of winter sports, including snowmobiling. If you own your own snowmobile, check out our list of Snow Trails in the regions for a few suggestions on places you might not have visited yet.

For those that don’t had their own sled, local guides offer tours throughout the region from several hours to snowmobiling on a closed loop track great for novices.

This seems obvious, but it’s always fun. You can make your own sled track in your backyard and visit a local sledding area for fun for the entire family. Some areas require a Sno-Park permit, which you’ll have to purchase in advance online or at a local store. Visit ohv.parks.ca.gov/snoparks or find locations by calling (916) 324-1222.

Hot chocolate is always recommended after a few hours of sledding or snowshoeing to cap off a perfect winter day in Tahoe. Try Food Editor Priya Hutner’s suggestions for different types of hot chocolate, including dairy-free options. Search for hot chocolate.

Priya Hutner’s Chai Hot Chocolate

8 oz. almond milk
1 t cacao powder
½ t ground cinnamon
½ t ground cardamom powder
½ t ground cloves
½ t ground ginger
Ground pepper, to taste
Maple syrup, to taste

Warm the milk. Add cacao powder and spices. If you want, add a pinch of ground pepper and a dash of maple syrup. Enjoy.

Tahoe sledding locations

Spooner Lake |
State park open for general snow play. Bring equipment. Parking Fee. | (775) 831-0494

Carson Pass |
Highway 88 near Carson Pass. Bring equipment.* | (209) 295-4251

Hope Valley | Highway 88 at Blue Lakes Road. Bring equipment.* | (775) 882-2766

Meiss Meadow | Highway 88 near Carson Pass. Bring equipment.* | (209) 295-4251

Incline Village |
Snow Play Area on Fairway Blvd., next to the Chateau, on the driving range. Bring equipment.

Mount Rose | Near the Mount Rose summit, enjoy sledding in Tahoe Meadows off Highway 431. Bring equipment.

North Tahoe Regional Park | End of National Avenue off Hwy 28. Rentals available. TART | northtahoeparks.com

Squaw Valley Park |
Free snow play area. Free Parking to access cleared walking paths in Olympic Valley to Tahoe City. TART | placer.ca.gov

Echo Lake |
Highway 50 at Echo Lake Road. Bring equipment.* | (530) 644-2324

Sawmill Pond | On Lake Tahoe Blvd. Bring equipment. South Tahoe

Taylor Creek | Highway 89, north of Camp Richardson Road. Bring equipment.* South Tahoe | (530) 543-2600

Kahle Park | Off Highway 207. Bring equipment. South Tahoe | douglascountynv.gov

Donner Summit | South side of I-80, Castle Peak exit beyond Boreal Inn frontage road. Bring equipment.* | (530) 587-3558

Yuba Pass | Highway 49 at Yuba Pass. Bring equipment.* | (530) 994-3401

Blackwood Canyon | Snow play area off Hwy. 89, 3 miles south of Tahoe City. Bring equipment.* | (530) 543-2600

Tahoe City | Gentle slope on Highway 89 South, one-eighth mile south of the wye. Bring equipment. TART

*Sno-park permits required.
Go to ohv.parks.ca.gov/snoparks or find locations by calling (916) 324-1222.

North Tahoe & Truckee (TART): tahoetruckeetransit.com
South Tahoe (East Shore Express): tahoetransportation.org