This was only our second trip to Lake Tahoe - a world famous place. I've lived in California since I was three, but our first trip was only a few years ago. Why did it take us so long to check it out in the first place since it is in our home state? Well, one reason might be because it's not really easy to get to. We are in SoCal, so it's a bit of a drive, around 270 miles. It's pretty high in the mountains, over 6,000 feet, close to Donner Pass, and we all know what happened there! But it is beautiful, crowded, but beautiful. My husband and I had such a good time the last time we were there, that he insisted we include a stop during our vacation this year since Yosemite isn't really that far away. In our travel atlas, all the roads from the national park to the lake were marked with little circles, meaning it was a scenic road. Well, it is scenic providing you can peek between your fingers. Let me leave it at - we had a most interesting drive over. Once you get there, if the altitude doesn't take your breath away the scenery will.
Our first day at Lake Tahoe, we rode a Duck, which delighted my grandson. (The Ducks are U.S.
Coast Guard Certified WWII amphibious trucks.) We drove from our campsite to Heavenly Village where we met up with the Duck that drove us over to the Tahoe Keys Marina where we entered the lake. The boat ride was pretty short, but long enough for the kids. The captain, a real character, told some interesting, some funny and some historical stories about the lake.
Friday we spent at Kiva Beach which you read (or can read) all about in last week's blog. We rode the Heavenly Gondolas on Saturday. If you want some fantastic views of the lake, be sure to put this 2.4 mile ride on your itinerary. (It's about a 12 minute ride.) Be sure to get off at the observation point before riding to the top.
The weather was perfect in Tahoe, but up there, 9,123 feet high, the wind blew and there was still quite a bit of snow on the ground so we felt chilly. Luckily, they had great hot chocolate (and other drinks to warm you up) for sale at the observation deck. Walking around at the top was pretty slick. We had to be careful walking around in our Crocs and flip-flops but we did see a few people slip.
The hiking trails were closed because of the snow but I bet it would have been beautiful. A cool part of being up there is seeing the California/Nevada border like no place else. We spent quite a bit of time looking at the beautiful lodge and watching a lone coyote before riding the gondolas back down to the city. My hubby doesn’t like heights but this gondola kind of hugs the ground so it didn’t bother him like he thought he would. (This is the guy that has a hard time on large ferris wheels.)
Sunday, we planned to check out Vikingsholm but we didn't realize it was so popular and there was absolutely no room to park. So, we took a bike ride to Richardson’s Resort for ice cream, instead. The resort has been around in some form since the early 1920's. It's a fun place to check out but it is not a place for your dog. They do have a nice camp store, though, where I found a nice Lake Tahoe jacket - made in the USA!
Finally, on Monday, after breakfast at the Red Hut, we left early enough that there was still room in the parking lot at Vikingsholm. The walk down to this interesting estate, that still grows grass on the roof, is no problem - walking back, it is steep and can be hot and hard to do if you aren't wearing comfortable walking shoes. Even though it's not an easy trek, the view of Emerald Bay from this angle is beautiful and the closest you can get to Fannette Island, the only island on the lake.
Lake Tahoe is one beautiful place - a little trecherous to get to from SoCal, but once you arrive, the views make all your troubles disappear. It isn't a real dog friendly place, as far as things you can do with your pet, although you'll see many dogs being walked on the street. If you love trees and lakes, Tahoe is definitely a place to put on your "bucket" list.