Lake Tahoe in California

by  BarraCuda

A self-supported trip created by BarraCuda

Trip Overview

I wrote an article here on Lake Tahoe after the first time I paddled there 7-8 years ago. Have been there every summer since. This was a particularly nice trip this year.

Just back from eight straight days camping on the beach at Lake Tahoe. It was over 100 degrees last week in the San Joaquin Valley, but at 7,000' in the Sierras, Lake Tahoe was damn near perfect. Daytime highs of 80-85, and it cooled off to 40-45 at night. The water at "our" beach was in the 50's. Nice and cool! We swam every day.

Humidity? What humidity? It was like 15-20%. Nothing but sunshine and blue skies every day without a cloud in the sky. No real sunburn, but Kathy and I both look like we were deep fried.

The water? It's way beyond my poor ability to communicate. Especially when its been as calm as its been. They say you can see a diner plate on the bottom at 100'. In 30' of water you can see the shadow of your boat glide along over the house size boulders on the sandy bottom. You can make out the shadow of your hat and paddle. It's more like you are suspended 30' in the air. The best clarity I have ever seen, and I have been to the Florida Keys, the Sea of Cortez, and the Aegean Sea.

None of the things that make camping in most places uncomfortable. I did not see one mosguito, or one fly, the entire week. A couple ants, maybe. The ground in camp was the same course sand as the beach, except with Sage brush, and pine trees.

We managed to get a beach campsite for eight straight days. They don�t even have beach front camping at the State Parks on the California side. I only know of three campsites on the Nevada side that have beach access like this. It takes planning six months ahead, but we got it this year.

Last year we had to change campsites several times, which cut into swimming and kayaking time. The sunsets over the lake and the mountains on the west side seem to last for hours.

This year I just off loaded kayaks at camp on the first day. Anytime we wanted to go out, we just dragged them about 100 yards down to the beach and back. We paddled down to the Casinos one day, and up to Cave Rock several times. On Friday I actually racked boats for the annual trip up to Sand Harbor.

Another dead calm day with water like glass. I actually missed getting a little Lake Tahoe point break surf action, but not to complain, too much.

I admit it. I also like my amenities. I have nothing against a fine meal every night. The usual Womak�s BBQ and Naked Fish Sushi, and I promised to plug a new place called Cilantros just outside South Lake Tahoe on the Nevada side. The best Mexican meal I have eaten in a long time. For a Californian, that is saying something.

The Indian Casinos and the economy seem to have really hurt the gambling scene. My old hang out at the Horizon doesn't even have Blackjack tables anymore!

We did miss Tsunami Chuck and Typhoon Jun again this year. Up until last year we had paddled Tahoe together for about five straight years. Maybe next year! Here are some photos of days gone by, back when we used to paddle to Emerald Bay on the California side, before Chuck made me a Nevada sider:

Trip Details

  • Trip Duration: Extended Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water

Trip Location