Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park offers a number of different areas for visitors to enjoy.
Sand Harbor is one of Lake Tahoe’s most striking sandy beaches and features a boat launch, restrooms, picnicking, group use areas, and a Lake Tahoe informational center - not to mention the new Harbor House Bistro and Beach Goods concessionaire, which offers quality dining and beachwear. Sand Harbor is also home to the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. Sand Harbor is located three miles south of Incline Village on State Route 28. Memorial Point and Hidden Beach, situated between Incline Village and Sand Harbor, are areas which offer outstanding views of the lake and more secluded access to its shores.
Spooner Lake, at the intersection of State Route 28 and U.S. 50, is popular for picnicking and catch-and-release fishing. It is also home to the Spooner Lake Outdoor Company, a park concessionaire that offers world-class cross-country skiing in the winter, an overnight stay in backcountry cabins and mountain bike rentals for riding miles of trails in the summer months. Spooner Lake is also a major trailhead for gaining access to the Marlette/Hobart Backcountry. The backcountry is comprised of more than 13,000 acres of forested open space with miles of hiking, equestrian and mountain biking trails. A group use area is also available. Vehicles are not permitted in the backcountry, which has been designated as a state primitive area. Two of the more popular trails in this area are the Marlette and Red House Flume as well as the Tahoe Rim Trail that runs along the crest of the Carson Range.
Cave Rock, located along U.S. 50 near Zephyr Cove, is a popular spot for boat launching, picnicking, swimming and fishing.
Snowmobilers can get an adventurous peek at Lake Tahoe’s snow-covered meadows, towering pines and majestic granite cliffs in the backcountry areas surrounding the lake. Visitors who like to combine speed, powder and power will find several trails throughout the Tahoe Basin. One of the best ways to catch the views is to employ one of the numerous guides in the Tahoe area.
Getting There: From Reno take State Route 431 (Mt. Rose Hwy.)
Lake Tahoe is one of the west’s most spectacular bodies of water, and its cold depths and elusive fish make for some challenging conditions. Deep-water anglers are drawn to the lake’s famously huge mackinaw trout, while all fishermen come for the rainbow trout, brown trout and kokanee salmon, which spawn in the fall and create a spectacle as they make their way toward the Truckee River on the lake’s west shore.
Getting There: From Reno, take U.S. 395 south 34 miles to Carson City and the U.S. 50 turnoff. Head west on U.S. 50, 10 miles to the beginning of the loop around Lake Tahoe.
Open water paddling (kayaking/canoeing)
A favorite among kayakers and visitors, Lake Tahoe allows you to find a number of places with an intimate view of the crystal-clear waters and wildlife. The lake offers numerous coves as well as shallow beaches and inlets.
Getting There:From Reno, use State Route 431 (Mt. Rose Hwy.)
Divers are drawn to Lake Tahoe for its crystal-clear waters. Because visibility can exceed 150’, many of Tahoe’s distinct underwater features can be witnessed. Divers should keep in mind that Lake Tahoe’s elevation is 6,225’ and thus is considered a high-altitude dive. The surface water temperature varies from 42 to 75 degrees; a 7mm wetsuit is recommended. Also, dive experts recommend fall as the best diving season at Lake Tahoe, since water clarity is affected by spring runoff. Divers should also be aware of boats. Divers are required to carry flags. Sand Harbor in Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park near Incline Village is one of the most popular points. The park offers Divers Cove, featuring an eerie landscape of sunken trees, caves and the remains of an old barge. Cave Rock south of Sand Harbor offers an artificial reef where divers can see schools of trout and other small creatures. Zephyr Cove is a good spot for beginning divers who can develop their skills at a depth of 20’ to 30’.
Difficulty: Beginner to intermediate
Getting There: From Reno, use State Route 431 (Mt. Rose Hwy.)