Travel Tips

Ask the Locals Travel Guide: South Lake Tahoe

Looking over Lake TahoeThis weekend, Peter is broadcasting his radio show from Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in South Lake Tahoe.

Located in the Sierra Nevada mountains, which straddle the border between California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is both an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise and a place to indulge in high-altitude art, food and shopping.

To find out the best places for indoor and outdoor recreation, we asked some local residents to share their picks.

David Borges, Lake Tahoe Historian

Hundreds of miles of hiking trails surround Lake Tahoe, but Hawley Grade off of South Upper Truckee Road offers one of the best hikes. The trail follows the old Pony Express route, where you’ll find bitter cherry, buckthorn, manzanita, wild currant and scrub oak crowding the path.

Glen AlpineJust past Fallen Leaf Lake lies Glen Alpine Falls, a set of waterfalls surrounded by massive boulders which drops 65 feet into a narrow canyon. Nearby you’ll find Glen Alpine Springs historic site, which commemorates the “curative” mineral spring water discovered there in 1863.

Off of the Rubicon Trail, west of Lake Tahoe and over a bridge, you’ll find Noonchester Mine Road, home to the old Noonchester Gold Mine. This route offers breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe from Mt. Watson to Rubicon Peak.


Ship enthusiasts will want to check out the Pope Boathouse at the Valhalla Estate, where the restoration of the 38-foot Quic Chakidn is underway. This classic wooden yacht dates back to 1921. The Valhalla Estate also hosts numerous festivals, art events and music performances throughout the year.

Curtis Fong, “The Guy From Tahoe,” Radio Host

Even if you’re not a hiker, there’s still plenty to do in Lake Tahoe. For example, cyclists will enjoy the flat, paved bike path which runs along Lake Tahoe’s shoreline from Camp Rich to Baldwin Beach. Along the way you’ll be treated to views over the 22 miles of blue lake stretching in front of you.

BlueWaterBistroAfter you’ve worked up a hearty appetite on your bike, head to Blue Water Bistro, located in the Timber Cove Marina. Here you can savor some Idaho red trout or blackened catfish, and pair it with a glass from Tahoe’s largest organic wine selection.

Another local favorite is Mc P’s Irish Pub in South Lake Tahoe, whose famous pub crab cakes are served up with a side of live jazz, blues, and rock entertainment every night of the week.

Art aficionados should head to the Marcus Ashley Gallery, which features everything from abstract paintings to watercolors created by a wide variety of North American artists. Another notable gallery in the area is the Jon Paul Gallery, which features stunning landscape and nature photography from around the world.

Terri Marceron, Forest Supervisor, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit of the U.S. Forest Service

In the fall, Tahoe’s most popular sites become less crowded, and more enjoyable. That’s what it’s a good time to hike routes like the Eagle Falls Trailhead, where you can stop at Eagle Lake for a picnic lunch. The hike is 2miles roundtrip, and offers breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe on the return journey.

Lake Tahoe - photo by Tom ZikasIf you’re looking to view some majestic Aspen trees, take a bike ride along Emerald Bay Road forest bike path or walk up Cathedral Road, both moderate to easy paths.

If you’d prefer to view the scenery from your seat, head to the Beacon Bar & Grill at the Camp Richardson resort, where you can enjoy homemade clam chowder and a view of Lake Tahoe.

Margaret Emery, Radio Producer

Although I’m not a local, I was treated to a fantastic dinner at Evan’s American Gourmet Cafe that deserves a mention. Sophisticated dishes range from comforting homemade pasta to Asian-inspired cuisine to the freshest seafood specials, and the service is outstanding. Important tip: Save room for the chocolate pots de creme … you’ll thank me for it!

By Erica Semel for
Photo of Lake Tahoe by Tom Zikas.

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