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.
Lake Tahoe, Carson City and Virginia City 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 fi sh 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
Heavenly Mountain - A 2.4 mile ride up the Heavenly Mountain Gondola will leave you breathless as you take in panoramic views of Lake Tahoe. On your way up, stop at The Observation Deck - a 14,000 square foot mid-station observation platform, located at 9,123 feet. Take in views of the Carson Valley, Desolation Wilderness and shore-toshore views of Lake Tahoe from the Skyway Canopy Zip Tour, aerial bridges and the Gondola June through September. skiheavenly.com, 775-586-7000
Squaw Valley - A ride on the scenic Aerial Tram is a spectacular and leisurely ride 2,000 vertical feet to High Camp, el. 8200’. The Aerial Tram is one of Squaw Valley’s most popular year-round attractions. Once you reach the top, enjoy panoramic views of Lake Tahoe as well as access to numerous activities, including a mountaintop pool, roller skating, hiking and dining through September. squawalpine.com, 800-403-0206
Borges Family Carriage Sleigh and Pony Rides - In the spring, summer and autumn, the carriage rides travel through a peaceful neighborhood to a sandy beach along Lake Tahoe. Rides take place in Stateline, Nev. In the winter, the sleighs go “Over the meadow and through the woods...” providing amazing views of Lake Tahoe. Then the rides dash through the snow along the old Pony Express Trail. Rides take place at Sand Harbor State Park, Incline Village, NV and Stateline, NV. sleighride.com, 775-588-2953
Tahoe Gal - (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, 800-218-2464
MS Dixie II - (South Shore) Cruises around the lake, from the decks of the M.S. Dixie II, 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, 775-589-4906
Thunderbird Lodge - 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, 775-832-8750
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 airsheds. 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, 775-881-7560
Heavenly - Located at the base of the new Heavenly Gondola, the Shops at Heavenly Village is the place to go for the latest trends in food, fashion and fun. South Lake Tahoe’s best shopping venue with local and national brands, popular restaurants, 8-plex cinema or try ice skating or mini golf at our seasonal outdoor pavilion. theshopsatheavenly.com
Northstar - As one of the finest mountain villages in North America, the Village at Northstar is now flourishing with life. Featuring a variety of shopping options from stylish boutiques and specialty retailers to a collection of cafés and restaurants all centered on a year-round skating rink. Join us in the Village for live music, special events, holiday festivities and a collection of fire pits, ideal for roasting s’mores. northstarcalifornia.com
Squaw Valley - The Village at Squaw Valley is one of the best places for shopping in Lake Tahoe. From clothing to food to gear, you can fi nd it all here! The Village at Squaw Valley offers an amazing setting and an array of shops to satisfy everyone in the family. Some of the shops include North Face, Squaw Valley Outfitters, Oakley, Salomon, PlumpJack Sport, Atlas Men’s Clothing and Eden Boutique. Plan for some great dining selections while perusing the shops like Auld Dubliner Irish Pub & Restaurant, Fireside Pizza Company, Twenty-Two Bistro & Bar, Uncorked Wine Bar & Shop and much more. squawalpine.com
Truckee - True shoppers always find time to shop. And Truckee delivers the goods. Truckee offers a walk-in closetful of shopping experiences to suit almost every kind of shopper, from fashion trackers to bargain hunters, big spenders to collectors and browsers. Whatever you’re looking for, we probably have it for sale. historictruckee.com
Ski and Snowboard - Lake Tahoe has the highest concentration of ski resorts in the US, 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. visitrenotahoe.com/reno-tahoe/what-to-do/snow-adventures/snowmobiling
Coldstream Adventures Inc., coldstreamadventures.com, 530-582-9090
Eagle Ridge Snowmobile Outfitters, tahoesnowmobiling.com, 530-546-866
Full Throttle Tahoe, fullthrottletahoe.com, 530-546-8774
Lake Tahoe Snowmobile Tours, laketahoesnowmobilingtours.com, 530-546-4280
Ice Skating - 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.
Heavenly Village, skiheavenly.com, 530-542-4230
Olympic Ice Pavilion at Squaw Valley, squaw.com, 530-581-7246
Village at Northstar California, northstarattahoe.com, 530-562-3689
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, 775-687-4810
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. museums.nevadaculture.org, 775-687-6953
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, 775-687-8333
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
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
Corley Ranch - Corley Ranch is a real working ranch with cattle, farming, hay and pumpkins. Visit the ranch for a special occasion and a real-time ranch feeling. Western atmosphere events for groups up to 500, indoor and outdoor events available. Open for outside activities from May 1 through September 14. The Cook Shack and Western Barn is open year-round for inside meetings and parties for up to 100 people. corleyranch.com, 775-265-3045
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. genoanevada.org, 775-782-8696
1862 David Walley's Hot Springs Resort & Spa - Panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada and close proximity to Lake Tahoe make 1862 David Walley's Hot Springs Resort & Spa a beautiful year-round destination for visitors seeking relaxation or recreation. Five natural hot mineral springs, a pool, dry saunas, steam rooms and a newly remodeled spa, fitness center, tennis courts, hiking and biking trails, ski runs and nearby golf courses are more than enough to satisfy the most energetic of guests. davidwalleys-resort.com, 888-772-7862
Genoa Historic Ghost Tours - Learn about the rich history of Nevada's oldest town, where the ghosts help tell the story. Come walk throught the historic town of Genoa - Nevada's oldest settlement. See, hear an dfeel the history of the Genoa Bar, Genoa Court House, The Dake House, Genoa Cemetary, The Hanging Tree and much, much more! You might meet historic figures such as Snowshoe Thompson - famous "Mailman of the Sierra," the Mormon settlers, the riders of the Pony Express or even foremr inhabitants of several century-old buildings! genoahistoricghosttours.com/home/about-the-tour, 775-220-0605
Dangberg Home Ranch - This 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 - The 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, 800-783-1566
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
Churchill Vineyards - Located on the historic Frey Ranch in Churchill County, Churchill Vineyards is currently the only Nevada winery producing Nevada grown, produced, and bottled (estate) white wines. The limited supply of this unique product appeals to wine collectors and connoisseurs from all over the United States. Do not miss this unique opportunity to taste premium wines made from Nevada’s fi rst estate vineyard and winery. churchillvineyards.com, 775-423-4000
Lattin Farms - Whether it is spending a summer day hanging out, learning about how the farm works, getting lost in the maze or having a party, Lattin Farms is the place to be. Lattin Farms offers a variety of educational tours for your various groups. The tours have a class about farming as well as other farm activities. Tours vary depending on time and pricing. lattinfarms.com, 775-867-3750 or 866-638-6293
Top Gun - Built in 1942, Fallon’s Naval Air Station (NAS) served a key role in both World Wars in the training operations of naval pilots and defense programs. Guided tours are available to organized groups of 10 - 50 people with reservations at least six months in advance. Tours are offered during weekdays only. 775-426-2880
Farm Tour - 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, 775-453-1794
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 Paiute Tribe Museum & Visitor Center - The center features exhibits on the Pyramid Lake Paiute tribe's history and culture, making it a great place to continue an adventure. Here visitors can learn how the Paiute people hold this entire area sacred to their culture. Visitors can purchase camping, boating and fishing permits at the center. pyramidlake.us/pyramid-lake-visitor-center.html, 775-574-1088
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
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. visitvirginiacitynv.com
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, 775-847-0975
Mine Tours - 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
Stagecoach 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
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
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, 775-847-0380