I’ve mentioned before that I think my favorite place I’ve ever spent time living may have been Lake Tahoe, California. (And I should mention for further context that while I lived there, I was in a old motel room that had two bunk beds crammed in it, so I really must love the area itself!) Lake Tahoe maybe has it all: mountains, woods, and a lake that can put the ocean to shame. We’re talking a 22-mile-long, 12-mile-wide lake that has a lot to offer.
So in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I thought I would delve farther into this place in my heart that I keep for that big beautiful lake and all that surrounds it. Here I will try to explain my love affair with Lake Tahoe.
I spent time living in South Lake Tahoe, while working on a trail crew. Most of us didn’t have cars, and all of the bikes we had seemed to be perpetually broken, but Kiva Beach was always worth the long walk it took to get there.
Kiva Beach features wide, wide yellow sandy beaches, with a backdrop of looming mountains. And the bright blue waters of Lake Tahoe are the crowning jewel. I have always absolutely loved the feeling of beaches and mountains side-by-side, so it is no wonder that I love this place so much.
You can wade far out into the clear waters, although they are quite crisp and cold as winter approaches! Tahoe does get mounds of snow. But that just makes the summer months all the sweeter.
Also at Kiva Beach, there is a visitor’s center and free parking, and some parts of the beach allow dogs.
Another beach of Lake Tahoe that is close to my heart is the Secret Cove in Nevada. To find this beach, you have to pull off Highway 28, and trudge down a wooded trail. If I remember correctly, the pull-off and trailhead are unmarked. After hiking downhill a ways, you will find the crystal clear, crisp waters of East Lake Tahoe. I advise doing some research on the beach beforehand.
This beach is much, much more private than Kiva Beach. It is encased by a grove of pine trees, and there are big boulders out in the shallow waters you can sunbathe from on top of.
Tahoe Rim Trail
For as much as I love all of the beaches and secrets of Lake Tahoe I have discovered so far, I know there is so so much left to be experienced. Which is why I hope that next time I return, it is to hike the Tahoe Rim Trail.
The Tahoe Rim Trail is a 165-mile long-distance hiking trail that loops around Lake Tahoe. You get to see every beautiful angle this lake has to offer. The trail has been called the most accessible thru hike in the country. It takes approximately 10-15 days of backpacking to complete. As the area gets heavy snows come winter, it’s best to hike in the summer months. This is a trail I can confidently add to my bucket list.
So when I lived in South Lake Tahoe, I didn’t love my living quarters, and I didn’t even love the town area that much. There was one local bar my trail crew and I would swarm to on weekends. But other than that it was mostly casinos and clubs in the downtown area.
That means it was truly the magic of this lake that captured my heart. The pine trees, the mountains, and that beloved lake. It welcomes everyone, at any time of year. And I know I can’t be the only one that’s smitten.