Lake Tahoe Options
Mark Twain wrote that Lake Tahoe is “the fairest picture the whole earth affords.” If you’re spending more than a day or two in the Reno Tahoe area, you do not want to let this opportunity pass you by. Just a 40-minute drive from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, North Lake Tahoe offers a multitude of attractions no matter what the season. The drive around the Lakes is 72 miles. One of the most scenic drives in the America is the journey around Lake Tahoe.
Blessed with sparkling natural beauty, Lake Tahoe has been selected by USA TODAY readers as the #1 lake in the United States. The lake is known for the clarity of its water and the panorama of surrounding mountains on all sides. At 6,229 feet above sea level, Lake Tahoe is the highest lake of its size in the United States, measuring 22 miles long by 12 miles wide, with a surface area of 191 square miles and an average depth of 989 feet and 72 miles of shoreline. Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the United States, with a maximum depth of 1,645 feet, trailing only to Oregon's Crater Lake.
Discover Lake Tahoe Tour
- Travel to Lake Tahoe, arriving at the UC Davis Environmental Research Center. See how glaciers, earthquakes, volcanoes and an ancient 300-foot-high tsunami gave the 22-mile long lake its shape and life; see native fish and a green building exhibit. Next, it’s off to Zephyr Cove for a picnic lunch followed by a cruise on the MS Dixie. The two-hour cruise will let you explore the wonder of Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay and more. pattystours.com, 775-453-1794
Paddle Boat Tours
- (North Shore) The only paddle wheeler on Lake Tahoe featuring eco-friendly engines! She is equipped with a full galley and bar, and offers exclusive charters for corporate meetings, dinners, weddings and cocktail cruises. A private room is perfect for small private parties and business meetings up to thirty people. The Commodore Salon may be rented on a regular cruise without the expense of chartering the entire vessel. tahoegal.com
Tahoe Queen and MS Dixie II -
(South Shore) Both boats offer cruises around the lake. From the decks of the M.S. Dixie II
and the Tahoe Queen
, you’ll be mesmerized by the beauty of Tahoe’s crystal blue waters and towering peaks – whether you choose a daytime scenic cruise or sunset dinner cruise that includes live entertainment and delicious entrées. The Tahoe cruises to Emerald Bay are an absolute must – offering views of some of the most incredible scenery in the world. Enjoy a dose of South Lake Tahoe history with the captain’s live narration as you visit one of the most photographed natural attractions in the world. zephyrcove.com/cruises.aspx
- Built in the 1930s by eccentric millionaire, George Whittell, this historic mansion was intended to keep him secluded with his many toys and exotic animals, which included a lion and an elephant. Whittell, however, is the reason that so much of Lake Tahoe remains in its pristine condition; he bought nearly 40% of the lake front (most of the northeast side of the lake) and eventually left the land to be enjoyed by residents and visitors. Tour the Thunderbird Lodge’s secret passages and its namesake, “The Thunderbird”: the country’s most valuable wooden boat, complete with P-52 engines.thunderbirdtahoe.org
UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center
- Incline Village Tahoe - The Center is dedicated to research, education and public outreach on lakes and their surrounding watersheds and air sheds. Lake ecosystems include the physical, biogeochemical and human environments, and the interactions among them. The Center is committed to providing objective scientific information for restoration and sustainable use of the Lake Tahoe Basin. terc.ucdavis.edu,
Lake Tahoe – Winter
Ski and Snowboard
- Lake Tahoe has 18 world-class ski areas, from downhill mountains with beginner, intermediate and high-difficulty runs to cross-country skiing. Get information and find out which ski areas are best for you by going to: visitrenotahoe.com/reno-tahoe/what-to-do/ski/search
Snowmobiling - An amazing option for seeing some of the untouched areas of the high Sierra. An exhilarating ride up over 10,000-feet above sea level will bring you into the clouds, looking down on the winter beauty of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding valleys.
- Ice Skating is a fun and quick activity for families. No motors and very little risk. There are plenty of ice skating options around Lake Tahoe.
Olympic Ice Pavilion at Squaw Valley – squaw.com
Carson City Options
Nevada’s state capital has a population of about 55,000 people, but its history and influence on the western expansion of the United States is extraordinarily significant. The habitat of the Eastern Sierras must have been a welcome refuge for explorers Kit Carson and John C. Fremont as they rode into Eagle Valley during their 1840s quest to map the West. To the east, long stretches of desert mark the difficult terrain settlers had to endure to get here. To the west, the Sierra Nevada mountain range stretches out as a gateway to the Pacific. visitcarsoncity.com
Kit Carson Trail
- Kit Carson, the explorer known for mapping the west and paving the way for Carson City's foundation, is still alive along the 2.5-mile path that bears his name. The Kit Carson Trail is a walking path through Carson City's residential district. A painted blue line and bronze medallions along the sidewalk mark the route, which features stops at landmarks, including 1800s-era Victorian-style homes, museums and churches. More than 60 landmarks are featured along the Kit Carson trail. visitcarsoncity.com/tours/kitcarson_talkinghouses.php, 775-687-7410.
Nevada State Museum
- The museum
engages diverse audiences in understanding and celebrating Nevada's natural and cultural heritage. Exhibits include a replica walk-through mine and ghost town, the Carson City Mint and Native American displays. museums.nevadaculture.org
Nevada State Railroad Museum – This museum preserves the railroad heritage of Nevada, including locomotives and cars of the famous Virginia and Truckee Railroad. Much of the museum equipment was obtained from Hollywood studios, where they were often featured in movies and television. Museum activities consist of operation of historic railroad equipment, including train rides, handcar rides, lectures, an annual railroad history symposium, changing exhibits and a variety of special events.
Stewart Indian School Trail
-The Stewart Indian School was the only off-reservation boarding school for Native Americans from 1890 to 1980. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is comprised of 83 buildings. The Stewart Indian School Trail is a self-guided walking tour of the campus with 20 points of interest and audio stories. Using personal cell phones, visitors can access recorded messages from alumni and employees about their personal experiences at the school. stewartindianschool.com
Carson Valley (Minden, Gardnerville & Genoa) Options
Located about an hour south of Reno, the Carson Valley is rich in western history and lore. Visitors can spend hours or days visiting historic sites and museums, steeping themselves in the lives of the early settlers. Discover detailed information on Kit Carson and Snowshoe Thomson, the Pony Express, the Emigrant Trail and more. visitcarsonvalley.org, 775-782-8144
- The town of Genoa, originally named Mormon Station, is the oldest permanent non-native settlement in Nevada. It boasts many historic buildings, a wonderful museum and a park featuring a stockade. The Douglas County Historical Society commemorates the area’s heritage at the Courthouse Museum
Minden - The Dangberg Home Ranch was once the center of a 48,000-acre ranch and the home of Carson Valley’s most prominent family. The history of the valley and the family is told in a guided tour through an historic ranch house built between 1857 and 1917, which is full of artifacts from Nevada’s past. Reservations are required for the tour. dangberghomeranch.org, 775-783-9417
Tahoe Ridge Winery
was known as Churchill Vineyards when it was founded in 1990. By 1994, three research vineyards were planted. They began making wine from several unique Nevada grape varieties: Chardonnay, Semillon, Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Lemberger. The Marketplace and Bistro is full of a variety of wonderful wines, foods, wine accessories, jewelry, books and clothing. Wine tasting at Tahoe Ridge is always complimentary and anyone over 21 is welcome to enjoy the quality wines. In addition to wine, the Marketplace and Bistro also has a wide selection of imported and domestic beers, along with a full Bistro menu featuring an assortment of salads, appetizers, gourmet pizzas and bistro fare. tahoeridge.com
Gardnerville - Take a journey into the past and discover the story of Douglas County from early pioneer days to the present, at the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center. Carson Valley is considered the garden spot of Nevada. It was here in this rich, green valley that weary pioneers stopped to rest after months of hard travel. As businesses sprang up, some of those pioneers stayed and began farming and ranching the area. visitcarsonvalley.org, 775-782-8144
From the Top Gun Raceway to the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge, Fallon is full of high-speed excitement and communities of friends. About 40 minutes from Reno, Fallon offers visitors a full range of first-class outdoor adventures and historic sites dating back thousands of years! visitfallonnevada.com
Visit Lattin Farms
for a guided tour of the many different items they offer. Enjoy lunch at the Slanted Porch, owned and operated by Master Chef Steve Hernandez. Then it’s off to Churchill Vineyards for a wine tour and tasting, followed by a visit to Workman’s Farms. pattystours.com
Pyramid Lake Options
Pyramid Lake is a component of the National Scenic Byways program and is the only byway in the nation entirely within a tribal reservation. This route takes the visitor 37 miles along the shore, providing a unique opportunity to learn more about the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. Pyramid Lake is approximately 15 miles long and 11 miles wide. The 300-foot-deep lake sustains a vast number of plants and animal life, including the famous Lahontan cutthroat trout, which draws anglers from around the world. Anaho Island, a National Wildlife Refuge, is the breeding ground for one of the largest colonies of American White Pelicans and a resting spot for other migratory waterfowl. The surrounding mountains are home to deer, antelope and bighorn sheep. A recreational paradise awaits you at Pyramid Lake where you'll find boating, fishing, swimming, hiking and sublime vistas - all only 30 minutes from Reno. pyramidlake.us
Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation
– The reservation is located 35 miles northeast of Reno, in a remote desert area located in Washoe, Lyon, and Storey counties. The area of the reservation consists of 475,000 acres or 742.2 square miles. Out of this acreage approximately 115,000 acres cover the surface of Pyramid Lake. The Lake is one of the most valuable assets of the Tribe and is entirely enclosed within the boundaries of the Reservation. plpt.nsn.us
Pyramid Lake Tour
- Spend the day discovering the Paiute Tribe located just outside of Reno at Pyramid Lake. Arrive at the Pyramid Lake fisheries where you will learn about the spawning channel and fishery operations. Then it’s off to the Pyramid Lake Indian Museum for a self-guided tour with docents in traditional dress. Enjoy an authentic Indian taco lunch before departing for the National Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Center. The holding facilities houses wild horses that have been rounded up within the state of Nevada. pattystours.com, 775-453-1794
Virginia City Options
Once a vital settlement between Denver and San Francisco, Virginia City influenced the entire country. During its boom, Virginia City's mining proceeds amounted to millions of dollars, equaling billions today. Every inch of this picturesque, Victorian-era town celebrates this colorful history. Stroll authentic wooden sidewalks to Old West saloons, shops, museums and restaurants. Or, visit historic churches, 19th century homes, public buildings and quaint cemeteries. Maybe it's a ride on a stagecoach, horse-drawn carriage, trolley or the V&T Railroad steam engine train that crosses the high desert landscape dotted with old mines. Take your step back in time in Virginia City! Just 40 minutes from downtown Reno.
Fourth Ward School Museum
- Abandoned to the elements, the Fourth Ward School seemed doomed until it was resurrected in 1986, 50 years after the school closed its doors. Since that time, hundreds of thousands of visitors have made their way to the school to celebrate Virginia City's glorious past as a frontier town during the gold and silver boom. fourthwardschool.org
- Silver and gold made Virginia City an iconic mining town, one that will forever be recognized as one of the greatest. It also formed the character of Nevada, and to a greater extent, the nation as a whole. Visitors can experience this rich and colorful time period as they explore Virginia City's museums, historic buildings, and of course, some of its mines.
Chollar Mine – 775-847-0155
Ponderosa Mine – 775-847-7210
Stage Coach Ride - Old-fashioned stagecoach rides for the entire family. Experience the past in a full-sized Concord Stagecoach, pulled by four matching paint horses. Its fast, its rough and its loads of fun! TNT Stagelines – 775-721-1496
Virginia & Truckee Railroad Ride & Tour
- Nevada's most famous short line is the Virginia & Truckee Railroad that connected Reno with Carson City, Virginia City and Minden. Operating for 80 years, the V&T was Nevada's Bonanza railroad as it hauled valuable Comstock ore to quartz reduction mills located at Silver City and along the Carson River. The V&T Railroad recently underwent a $30 million expansion. The V&T once again connects Carson City to Virginia City and offers daily trips back and forth between the two communities. Visitors can board the historic railway in Carson City and arrive in Virginia City just like "back in the day." virginiatruckee.com
Western Historic Radio Museum
- If radios are your passion, you must plan on visiting the Radio Museum, located in the Parish House at 109 South F Street. This museum is home to numerous antique and vintage radios which are displayed in chronological order with a description of the radio and its significance in radio history. You’ll also enjoy viewing a large collection of radio personality photographs including original, signed posters. The Western Historic Radio Museum features displays of antique, classic and vintage radios featuring examples of the earliest wireless spark-gap apparatus up to the "kitsch" radios of the early fifties. radioblvd.com