5 unique things to do around Lake Tahoe in spring

One of my favorite things about Lake Tahoe is the combination of unparalleled beauty and unique things to do around Tahoe. One moment you could be on world-class ski slopes, and the next, on the beach of North America’s largest alpine lake. But while most people often visit Lake Tahoe in either winter or summer (and often both), I find that spring is the perfect balance of both seasons. So below I share five of the most unique things to do around Lake Tahoe in spring.

 Ski and surf (or paddle) in one day

Lake Tahoe is one of those rare places, where if you timed it right, you could ski or snowboard in the morning, and surf in the afternoon when winds blow across Lake Tahoe just right. Or, at the minimum, you can ski in the morning and take an afternoon paddle via paddleboard or kayak. This activity becomes all the more opportune the further we get into spring, as temperatures start to rise and it's more comfortable to be out on the lake. I’d recommend renting a board or kayak from Adrift Tahoe, located on Lake Tahoe in Kings Beach, and paddling east toward Crystal Cove. Elsewhere, there are outfitters in Incline Village and Tahoe City. 

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Take a sunset sail

If you want all the joys of being on Lake Tahoe, without any of the work, then take a sunset sail on Lake Tahoe. Located in Tahoe City, Tahoe Sailing Charters starts up their afternoon and sunset sailing charters in early May from Tahoe City Marina. Their afternoon sails include beer and wine, while sunset cruises include light apps along with beer and wine. Elsewhere is Action Watersports of Incline Village, which offers several daily cruises (starting in May) on a 55’ Catamaran. 

 Go downhill biking

Mountain biking is one of my favorite activities to do around Lake Tahoe once the snow trails start receding and hiking and biking trails start reappearing. However, those steep uphills around Lake Tahoe can be a killjoy on a bike. But not if you’re biking downhill the entire time! Downhill mountain biking around Lake Tahoe is available several places, such as at the Flume Trail, where you can shuttle up and then bike down, enjoying a beer afterward at Tunnel Creek Café. Not to mention that it features amazing views overlooking Lake Tahoe. As summer inches closer, Northstar California’s downhill bike park opens, where you can bicycle down the same blues and blacks that you were snowboarding down earlier in the year.

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 Hike some of America’s most iconic trails

 Lake Tahoe is arguably one of the best areas to hike in America. First and foremost is the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), which is one of the most renowned long-distance hiking trails in the world, spanning 2,650 miles. Among my favorite portions of the PCT is the portion near Donner Summit, overlooking Donner Lake in Truckee.

Unique to Lake Tahoe is the Tahoe Rim Trail, a 165-mile trail that forms a loop around the lake, available to hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders (on most parts of the trail). For lighter hiking around Lake Tahoe, especially for families, Northstar California offers lift-access hiking (starting later in May), as well as private guided hikes during summer.  

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 Tahoe Treetop Adventure Park

Treetop adventure parks represent another one of Lake Tahoe’s most unique adventure activities. While I’ve previously written about the zip-lining available atop Heavenly Mountain in South Lake Tahoe, North Lake Tahoe has their own aerial park, located in Tahoe City at the Tahoe Treetop Adventure Park. The park features everything from swinging bridges and logs to climbing walls to cargo nets to zip lines. Bonus points: Tahoe Treetop Adventure Park is open year-round.

Southern born and bred, Spencer was bitten by the travel bug at a young age, flying on a plane for the first time at age five and by himself for the first time at seven. While he continues to travel around the world in search for the best whiskey, Spencer now calls Reno home, where his search is for the best cocktail (and first tracks, naturally). He has written about travel, food, and drinks for a number of publications that have included the Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Outside Magazine, and Travel + Leisure, just to name a few. See a more candid version of Spencer on his website, whiskeytangoglobetrot.com, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.