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Outdoor Enthusiast’s Guide to Lake Tahoe

When most people think of Lake Tahoe, they think of skiing or snowboarding at Northstar or Squaw Valley. What they don’t realize is how many other opportunities for outdoor activities the area offers, like hunting, water sports and hiking. If you consider yourself an outdoor enthusiast, keep reading to find out what activities you should be getting involved with in Lake Tahoe.


Hunting and Fishing

Since most of the Lake Tahoe area is in California and the rest in Nevada, it’s important to be familiar with the hunting and fishing laws of both states. The Nevada area offers opportunities to hunt game like mule deer, Rocky Mountain elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, mountain goat and waterfowl. You will need a Nevada hunting license, a big-game tag to hunt big game and both a state and federal duck stamp for waterfowl. There are only a few regulations specific to firearm use within the Lake Tahoe Basin, so if you’re looking to expand your rifle selection or if you’re new to the sport, be sure to check the list before making a purchase.

When it comes to fishing, there are a variety of species living in the lake, including brown and rainbow trout, Mackinaw and Kokanee salmon, just to name a few. Chartering a boat and heading into the lake’s deeper waters gives you opportunities to try your hand at trolling, drift-netting or jigging for fish year-round.

Water Sports and Boating

Spending time on Lake Tahoe is a very popular outdoor activity. For those interested in purchasing or renting boats, there are plenty of public and accessible boat ramps. Take a cruise around the lake on a sailboat, get fancy in a yacht or get a workout in on a pedal boat or kayak. With a motorboat, try parasailing or water skiing, and if you’re looking to use alternate energy sources, windsurfing or stand-up paddleboarding are also options. With 39 trillion gallons of water in Lake Tahoe, there is bound to be enough water for your favorite lake activity.


With almost 64,000 acres of subalpine forests, glacial lakes, valleys and granite peaks, the Desolation Wilderness area offers access to 15 different trailheads. The breathtaking views attract big crowds, hence the quota system that requires day hikers to fill out registration forms and overnighters to pay and register before their stay. For a world-renowned trail, visit Tahoe Rim for a beautiful hike following the shore of Lake Tahoe. This extensive trail passes through California and Nevada, six counties, one state park and three National Forests. The full length of the trail spans 165 miles, winding from one peak to the other around Lake Tahoe. The multi-use trail allows hiking and horseback riding on every portion, but mountain biking is prohibited in wilderness areas, any trail sections part of the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park and any sections that overlap with the Pacific Crest Trail. If you’re looking to climb one of Tahoe’s tallest peaks, standing at 9,735 feet, visit Mount Tallac, starting the loop to the peak from the Glen Alpine Trailhead and trekking 11.6 strenuous miles that will take the average hiker about eight to 10 hours.

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