urrounded by the majestic snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Lake Tahoe is a region of spectacular beauty and endless activity. With California and Nevada sharing the lake, it is a true 4-season resort that enjoys extreme popularity year round, and fortunately for us there are several excellent timeshare resorts in the area from which to choose.
Winter activities in North Lake Tahoe include downhill skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, and telemarking. There are seven downhill ski resorts and seven cross country ski resorts. There’s also dining, dancing, ice skating, fishing, bowling, bungee jumping, indoor rock climbing, gaming, aerial cable car, sleigh rides, museums, lake cruises, balloon rides, exercise and health facilities, movie theaters, and arcades. Take your pick!
Generally speaking, the Tahoe area is referred to as North Shore and South Shore. North Shore Lake Tahoe is considered to include Tahoe City, Incline Village, Truckee, Kings Beach, Squaw Valley (Olympic Valley), Alpine Meadows, Tahoe Vista, Carnelian Bay, Crystal Bay, Brockway, Homewood, Tahoma, Meeks Bay and Northstar, as well as other small communities.
South Shore is considered to include the city of South Lake Tahoe, Zephyr Cove, Meyers and Stateline as well as other small south lake communities. Stateline, on the southeast side of the lake, is in Nevada and is where the majority of the casinos are located. For anyone who wants to take a shot at Lady Luck, Stateline is home to 5 open casinos, 4 of which qualify as resorts — MontBleu (formerly Caesar’s), Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, Horizon, and Harveys Lake Tahoe. The Lakeside Inn caters to locals and modest gamblers.The north shore of Lake Tahoe, the focus of this review, is where you’ll find the Tahoe of granite and centuries-old cedars, deep-blue bays, quaint knotty-pine A-frame buildings and spectacular lakefront estates. It is also home to America’s Most Beautiful Drive, designated as a National Scenic Byway in 1997. The drive, 29 miles of breathtaking High Sierra scenery on the Nevada side of the lake, runs south on scenic Highway 28 from Crystal Bay to Zephyr Cove, Nevada, taking visitors by many of Lake Tahoe’s spectacular natural white sand beaches and granite boulder formations and coves of Sand Harbor State Park.
No matter where you stay along this area you won’t be far from fishing, hiking, camping, rock climbing, in-line skating, water skiing, parasailing, mountain biking, four-wheeling and a host of other activities. Or if that’s too much for you, you can doze in the sun on a sandy beach, then take in cocktails and dinner at a selection of eateries that serve everything from full-course gourmet meals to black bean burritos. And despite all the action for those who crave it, even when it’s crowded by local standards, this area remains a relatively tranquil place.
It should be noted for the fishing fanatics among you that the North Lake Tahoe-Truckee region provides some of the best fishing in the Sierras. The variety of lakes and streams give the angler many choices and makes this region one of the most popular fishing destinations in California.
Only about 10 miles southwest of Tahoe Vista in Tahoe City is one of Lake Tahoe’s most quirky landmarks, Fanny Bridge. The bridge acquired its name because when you are driving over it you will usually see the rear ends, or “fannies”, of people bending over the railing to view trout in the Truckee River. Near the bridge is the Gatekeeper’s Cabin, which served as home to the first watermaster who controlled the flow out of Lake Tahoe. The cabin now houses the North Lake Tahoe Historical Society Museum and contains the highly valued Marion Steinbach Indian Basket Collection, which is worth seeing if you love history and beautiful things.
Also along Highway 89, between Tahoe City and Tahoe Vista, you will find the entrance to Squaw Valley USA, home to the 1960 Winter Olympics. This vast resort offers year-round recreational opportunities, from world-class skiing and snowboarding in the winter season to mountain biking, guided hikes, bungee jumping, ice-skating, horseback riding, and tennis in the summertime. Visitors will want to catch a ride on Squaw Valley’s Aerial Tram, which rises 2,000 vertical feet to the High Camp complex, the focal point of many activities. Along with restaurants, an ice-rink, bungee tower, pool and spa, High Camp houses a museum which documents in photographs and words the history of the 1960 Winter Games. Additionally, the high alpine mountain and lake views make High Camp a premiere location for photography.
Situated just east of Donner Pass is the historic resort town of Truckee, which offers a historical commercial row with restaurants, bars and boutique gift shops all within a distance covered by an easy stroll. Minutes east of Truckee on Old Highway 40 visitors will find the Donner Memorial State Park. The Donner Museum, located here, houses interesting artifacts, exhibits, movies and slide shows related to the Donner Party ordeal. (The Donner Party was a small party of people immigrating from the eastern USA to California in the 1800s. They were trapped by heavy snow before they could cross the Sierras; many of them died before they could be rescued, and survivors resorted to cannibalism to stay alive.)
For those interested in what life was like at Lake Tahoe 100 years ago, the Watson Cabin is not to be missed. Open mid-June through Labor Day, the cabin, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, contains original artifacts and furniture. Guides dressed in period costumes offer daily tours. A very small donation is requested at the entrance.
Some facts about Lake Tahoe:
- Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America, about 22 miles long and l2 miles wide with 72 miles of shoreline. The surface area covers 191 square miles. It has so much water in it that if you tipped it over it would cover a flat area the size of the state of California to a depth of 14 inches.
- Lake Tahoe is two-thirds in the state of California and one-third in the state of Nevada.
- Lake Tahoe’s average surface elevation is 6,225 feet above sea level, making it the highest lake of its size in the United States.
- Unlike most bodies of water in North America, Lake Tahoe’s water does not eventually flow into the ocean. The Truckee River, its only outlet, flows east through Reno and into Pyramid Lake in Nevada.
A favorite timeshare resort at Lake Tahoe is the rustic RCI Gold Crown Resort Red Wolf Lakeside Lodge, one of the Grand Pacific Resorts family of properties (there is another Red Wolf Lodge, also a Grand Pacific Resort, in nearby Squaw Valley).
This is a small resort, with only twenty-five fully appointed suites. The architecture is western USA rustic, without a trace of “Europe” in its looks. You’ll find log cabins set among Ponderosa and sugar pines, a Lodge overlooking the magnificent blue lake with mountains rearing up all around. Peace, quiet, sweet smelling air, bird song— or just as much activity as you can stand— are all plentiful here. Enjoy a cozy studio, one- or two-bedroom condo for a full cabin experience at Red Wolf Lakeside Lodge.
But though the Red Wolf might look rustic don’t underestimate the quality of its accommodations and amenitites. The units themselves are decorated inside to match the outside rustic look— and they are oh so comfortable and oh so charming! They have modern full kitchens, totally equipped, a cozy fireplace for curling up with a hot toddy on cool nights, 32-inch TV, a video player and a CD stereo system. You will also have high speed Internet access in each suite (free for owners, a 50-cent resort fee for non-owners).
Red Wolf Lakeside Lodge is also proud to implement and maintain the GPR Go Green initiatives.
On the off chance that you might get bored, it provides for your convenience: Paddle boats and boards, kayaks, board games, badminton, tennis rackets, fishing gear, beach equipment and toys, snorkel gear, beach and pool towels, and much much more. Also provided is an outdoor barbecue/picnic area, and after your afternoon barbecue you can lounge in the heated pool and watch the sunset’s colors blaze across the scenery.
This is a perfect place to feel like you are living the genuine Lake Tahoe lifestyle, and it hardly gets any better than that. So take some time out from the real world and take a trip to the original fantasy land.
Lake Tahoe. It only takes one visit to know you’ll want to return again and again!
Some Web sites you may want to visit for more information:
- http://www.redwolflakesidelodge.com/ –Red Wolf Lakeside Lodge website
- http://visitinglaketahoe.com –The official Lake Tahoe Visitors website
- http://www.virtualtahoe.com/ –A comprehensive site
- http://www.tahoe.com –The original best website
- http://www.tahoesbest.com/ –Lots of information
- http://www.southlaketahoe.com/ –South Lake Tahoe
- http://www.tahoecam.com –The ultimate image site for Lake Tahoe– and more.
- http://www.tahoeguide.com/ –Lots of stuff here.
- http://www.northtahoemuseums.org/about.aspx — North Lake Tahoe Historical Society – Museums
“On the Road” is a compilation of destination ideas, resort reviews, videos and more gathered from a variety of sources that includes our readers.
The purpose of “On the Road” is to showcase some of the magnificent places in the world to visit, to give you an idea for someplace to go that you might previously not have thought of or known about. In most cases, but not all, we have provided a brief overview of a timeshare resort in the spotlighted area. Most of those resorts are either RCI Gold Crown or I.I. Premier quality. However, these resorts are not usually theonly timeshare resorts in the area; be sure to check in your exchange catalog for a complete listing of available resorts. Check it out— enjoy yourself, go somewhere new this year!
Readers are encouraged to contribute their own stories and photos. Email [email protected] and put “On the Road” in the Subject line so we’ll know what it’s about.