True Blue

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Photo by Jeremy Sykes

Looking to escape the heat? Big Blue has you covered—and so do we. From zip lining through trees to roller skating at 8,200 feet, and from stargazing to sunset cruises, we’ve got 50 fun things to do, see, eat and drink in Lake Tahoe right now. Dive in!

Excellent Adventures
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Touring Around
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Excellent Adventures

See one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish at Taylor Creek Visitor Center. (Photo by Mike Jones)

 

Underground Fish Viewing at Taylor Creek

Lake Tahoe is celebrated for its crystal clear water, and there are few places where you can take advantage of that clarity more than at Taylor Creek, which flows from Fallen Leaf Lake to Lake Tahoe. After an easy, scenic quarter-mile hike on Rainbow Trail from the Taylor Creek Visitor Center, you can descend underground into the Taylor Creek Stream Profile Chamber (open through October), where massive windows allow you to peer into the creek and watch minnows, trout and other native fish swim around and snack on bugs on the surface of the water. Interpretive exhibits describe the fish and creek ecology, but the real attraction is watching the fish swim at eye level in a natural environment instead of an aquarium. Free. Visitor Center Rd. South Lake Tahoe. 530-543-2674. fs.usda.gov

Roller Skating at Squaw Valley

In the winter, Squaw Valley’s High Camp has welcomed visitors to ice skate on the rink where Olympians competed in 1960. In summer months, though, the Olympic Ice Pavilion thaws to a sunny, high-altitude haven for roller skaters, who can take the resort’s aerial tram to 8,200 feet and coast along amid a stunning 360-degree view of Lake Tahoe and the Sierras. A tram ticket also grants access to free mountaintop activities like slacklining, disc golf and hiking, and a few extra dollars gets you into the pool and hot tub. $44 for adult tram and skate ticket ($38 in advance). 1960 Squaw Valley Rd. Olympic Valley. 800-403-0206. squaw.com

Get ready for some forest fun at Tahoe Treetop Adventure Park. (Photo by Grant Kaye)Swing Through Trees at the Tahoe Treetop Adventure Park

Wind pours down the hillside into the woods. The trees sway. The shadows lunge. As you look out into the heaving evergreen canopy from 50 feet above the forest floor, the breeze murmurs, “Go for it.” So begins your climbing, leaping, swinging, soaring interlude at Tahoe Treetop Adventure Park, where thrill seekers of all ages and skill levels can try out 49 rope bridges, 15 zip lines and other exhilarating aerial challenges amid the secluded splendor on the outskirts of Tahoe City. Visitors spend two-and-a-half-hour sessions navigating one of two zones, such as the “Flying Squirrel,” which lets everyone from young children to grown-up rookies navigate around the trees without too much strain (or heights-induced stress). The more challenging “Monkey” courses feature a wild and wobbly “wind chime” span (built from logs hanging perpendicular to the ground) and a rope bridge where you can get up close and personal with The Twins—a majestic pair of 500-year-old cedar trees. Whichever path you take, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world. $40-$50. 725 Granlibakken Rd. Tahoe City. 530-581-7563. northtahoeadventures.com

Horseback Riding at Camp Richardson 

If you’re champing at the bit to see Tahoe as you’ve never seen it before, horseback riding at the 80-year-old Camp Richardson Corral should fit the bill. The rides range from 50-minute journeys through the Tahoe National Forest to longer trail excursions with stunning views of nearby Fallen Leaf Lake, while the camp’s “steak rides” include a barbecue dinner after your trip. Not so confident in your equestrian abilities? Hop on a horse-powered hay wagon ride—the only chance you’ll get in Tahoe to ride directly on the lakeshore (unless you come back in the winter for Camp Rich’s sleigh rides). Post-ride, you can satisfy your sweet tooth with a trot across the road to Camp Richardson’s popular ice cream parlor, which is famous for its giant waffle cones and scoops out 22 flavors like pralines and cream and Kona coffee. $43-$164 for rides. 4 Emerald Bay Rd. South Lake Tahoe. 530-541-3113. camprichardsoncorral.com

Scuba Diving in Lake Tahoe

Beneath Tahoe’s glassy surface lie submerged features that, for some, rival the magnificence of the towering peaks that rim the lake. The crystalline depths of the Emerald Bay State Underwater Park offer a showcase of sunken barges and other ephemera dating back to the turn of the 20th century, while roughly two miles north in D. L. Bliss State Park, advanced divers can view one of the lake’s most awe-inspiring underwater sites: the Rubicon Wall, a steep granite precipice that dizzyingly descends more than 800 feet below the surface. Less experienced divers are advised to view sites like Stateline Wall, which comprises 800-plus feet of stacked granite boulders, under the careful supervision of professional instructors, such as through the Sierra Diving Center’s kayak excursions ($250 with certification; equipment not included), during which experts guide you through a high-altitude diving certification lesson, paddle you to dive sites and help you safely navigate these underwater wonders. 775-825-2147. sierradive.com

Go downhill fast while summer tubing at Heavenly’s Adventure Peak. (Photo courtesy of Heavenly Mountain Resort)Summer Tubing at Heavenly

The snow atop Heavenly may be a memory, but you can still hit the slopes at the resort’s summer tubing course, which opened in 2011 and is located at Adventure Peak. Accessed by a scenic gondola ride (which takes passengers two and a half miles up the summit and boasts unparalleled views of Lake Tahoe), this 500-foot-long hill is the same that’s used during the winter months for snow tubing and is equipped in the summer with an all-weather synthetic surface for a smooth and exhilarating glide. Craving more thrills? Take the Tamarack Express chairlift up to the 3,300-foot-long Blue Streak zip line, one of the longest in the United States, which sends riders zooming at up to 55 miles per hour. $10 for three rides; $41 for adult gondola ticket. 4080 Lake Tahoe Blvd. South Lake Tahoe. 800-587-4430. skiheavenly.com

Lakeside Golf at Edgewood

If links by the lake sound like the golf getaway of your dreams, then be like Mike (as in Michael Jordan), Ray Romano and other celebs and pack your bag for Edgewood Tahoe—the only course that sits directly beside Big Blue’s sapphire waters. For an even more unforgettable round, schedule a twilight tee time for a view of an epic sunset as you wrap up the last few holes along the lake’s edge—including the course’s signature 18th hole framed on both sides by water. After the last putt drops, join your fellow golfers at Brooks’ Bar & Deck, which Golf Digest has named one of America’s “Best 19th Holes,” and replenish with mango mojitos, salmon fish and chips, and a prime-rib dip with caramelized onions. $110-$240. 100 Lake Pkwy. Stateline. 775-588-3566. edgewoodtahoe.com

The Ski Run Boat Company takes high-fliers up to 500 feet above Lake Tahoe. (Photo courtesy of tahoesports.com).

Parasailing over Lake Tahoe

Go soaring high above Tahoe’s cerulean surface with a parasailing excursion by way of South Shore’s Ski Run Boat Company, which lets adventurous visitors fly high—up to 500 feet—while soaking in 360-degree views of the magnificent lake below. One of the most appealing aspects of the experience is the sense of calm while aloft, so schedule your trip for the early morning to avoid the winds that tend to pick up as the day wears on. Feeling a little less daring? Tickets are also available for those who’d rather observe from the boat as friends or family experience the airborne adventure. $55-$80 for parasailing; $20 to observe. 900 Ski Run Blvd. South Lake Tahoe. 530-544-0200. tahoesports.com

Guided Hikes at the Tahoe Rim Trail

Heed the call of the wild with guided hiking trips operated by the Tahoe Rim Trail Association, which offers numerous summer treks for adventurers seeking to experience the natural wonders throughout the sprawling trail network. One example is a free, relaxing lunchtime excursion that meanders 1.5 miles through Van Sickle Bi-State Park, a 728-acre destination that opened in 2011 and features a waterfall and (literally) breathtaking climbs through vistas that eventually link up with the Tahoe Rim Trail encircling the lake. (The hike also includes insight from forest experts from The Sugar Pine Foundation and the California Tahoe Conservancy’s new Explore Tahoe visitor center.) For an especially unforgettable experience, become an association member ($35 for individuals) and take one of the nighttime full-moon expeditions, which lead hikers to locations like Tahoe Meadows and Relay Peak, the trail network’s highest point at 10,338 feet. 775-298-4485. tahoerimtrail.org

Scan the brilliant night sky during the Tahoe Star Tours at Northstar. (Photo by Jeremy Sykes)Stargazing at Northstar

Spy on galaxies far, far away during one of the Tahoe Star Tours held at Northstar’s new outdoor Dark Skies Cosmoarium. During these galactic gatherings, Tony Berendsen, president of the Northern Nevada Science Coalition, uses a laser pointer to highlight various stars, planets and other prominent features in that night’s sky, and helps participants explore the universe with high-powered computerized Celestron Telescopes. Throughout the evening, comforts like toasty fire pits, hot chocolate and s’mores will add a sweet degree of earthly contentment to your time observing the final frontier. $30 for adults. 5001 Northstar Dr. Truckee. 800-466-6784. northstarcalifornia.com

Sunset Yachting on Tahoe Cruises

On Tahoe Cruises’ sunset voyages—which run daily through October—watch as the sun meets the smooth surface of the lake from aboard Safari Rose, an elegant 80-foot motor yacht nicknamed “the Frank Sinatra of boats” boasting plush leather couches, a teak-paneled salon and a fireplace. Hors d’oeuvres and a full bar, including Safari Rose’s famous Bloody Marys, fuel the journey that tours Tahoe’s South Shore, Emerald Bay and Fairy Cove, northwest of the bay. $72. Round Hill Pines Marina. 300 Hwy. 50. Zephyr Cove. 775-588-1881. tahoecruises.com

Mountain Biking at Kirkwood

Upstarts and old hands alike will be ready to tackle the trails after taking one of the Mountain Biking Clinics held at Kirkwood ski area. The day begins at the resort’s Red Cliffs day lodge, where participants will be divided into groups based on skill level. The six-hour-long session will focus on the rolling, mellow terrain located off of Chair 1, where expert coaches (such as racer Steven Wentz, who has competed in the US Mountain Bike National Championships) will teach you essentials like braking techniques and body positioning. Keep your eyes peeled for the pockets of dazzling wildflowers speckling the resort as you bump and wind your way through Kirkwood’s network of trails. $150 for adults. 1501 Kirkwood Meadows Dr. Kirkwood. 209-258-7210. summer.kirkwood.com

Excellent Adventures
Take a Break
Take a Hike
Touring Around
What's Happening
Eat & Drink 
Where to Stay