Although many people think of taking a Lake Tahoe vacation in the summer months or for a winter getaway, few are privy to the area's autumn attractions. When typical tourists head home and families return to the daily schedule, Lake Tahoe opens its beauty to those looking for a less crowded, more affordable and incredibly peaceful vacation.
Getting the Lay of the Land
Located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe is a freshwater lake that is about a dozen miles wide and just more than 20 miles long. It is located right on the border between California and Nevada.
Those on the north side can take I-80 to North Lake Tahoe while those to the south can reach the lake on Hwy 50. Lake Tahoe is surrounded by interesting spots and sights. You can visit a 1929 Nordic mansion in Emerald Bay State Park, which is located on the southwest shore. Stop by for a breath-taking view at Inspiration Point Vista, located in Tahoe City on the west side. Be sure to visit the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park on the northeast side, and if you're feeling adventurous, brave the 165-mileTahoe Rim Trail.
If you're taking a Lake Tahoe vacation in the autumn, you can choose to stay at just about any level of comfort. Area campgrounds provide a natural, rustic environment for those seeking only the basics. RV resorts are available for those who want a bit more protection from the elements while still enjoying the outdoors. Private vacation rentals are available through sites such as Airbnb and HomeAway. Mid-century motels as well as bed and breakfast accommodations welcome guests. Luxury hotels and high-class resorts are available for those looking to stay at Tahoe in style.
Weather and Climate
Lake Tahoe typically sees mild weather through the autumn months with temperatures dropping as winter approaches. Many outdoor outfitters and providers of camping activities will move to reduced hours or begin closing down warm-weather services as the weather gets colder.
Although pine trees abound around Lake Tahoe, those looking for fall colors can find pockets of colors in area aspen groves. By the middle of September, many trails provide fall foliage views. Check out Tunnel Creek trail in Incline Village, Eagle Lake trail, and Page Meadow, which is near Tahoe City.
Those who are interested in spending time with Lady Luck can find many casinos in the Lake Tahoe area. You can find casinos in South Lake Tahoe as well as in Crystal Bay, Nevada. Several other casinos are tucked here and there just around the communities surrounding Lake Tahoe.
Visitors can find many things to do in Lake Tahoe during fall. If you are looking for a great place to hike, Lake Tahoe offers many trails to conquer. Hiking up to Eagle Falls from the west side of the lake is a manageable walk for beginners. If you're looking for something more challenging, a medium-grade mile hike to Eagle Lake is another possibility.
Mountain biking is another popular sport, particularly in the fall. Trails are roomier and the weather conducive for bike rides. Several different outfitters will rent mountain bikes and other outdoor gear as long as weather permits. The Northstar California Bike Park features a chair lift, downhill trails and lessons until Oct 1. On the south side of the lake, Camp Richardson Bike Path offers a family-friendly, paved path that goes by several beaches.
For those last few hot days of the year or for those enjoying water and beaches regardless of the cooler temperatures, Lake Tahoe offers many beaches for sunning, sand play and swimming. Many are opened until mid-October and provide great spots for relaxing and enjoying a picnic.
When you're looking for things to do in Lake Tahoe during fall, be sure to check out the many local festivals and events.
Sept. 8 to Sept. 10
Lake Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival
This festival includes more than 20 events including wine tasting, dinners, cooking classes and outdoor events. The ticket prices vary depending on how long you want to stay. The full weekend runs $270.
Sample the Sierra
South Lake Tahoe
The food-producing community invites food-loving folks to come together and enjoy offerings from more than 20 restaurants, growers and producers. Besides delicious food, visitors can partake of wine, beer or spirits. Held at Bijou Community Park, the festival will also showcase locally made art, crafts and jewelry. Tickets are $40.
Village at Squaw Valley
Come and see the miniature Bavaria at this annual Oktoberfest. It will include authentic German food and beer, live cultural music, and many games and activities. The $20 ticket price includes a half-liter stein mug and two beer tickets.
Sample craft beer, listen to live music and patronize local vendors. Games including a traditional stein holding contest, keg rolling and a weiner toss will occur. Raffle tickets will also be available. No admission fee is charged.
Camp Richardson Resort
Take the kids to a pumpkin patch. Grown-ups can enjoy a beer stein-holding contest and a yodel contests. Admission is free.
Annual Kokanee salmon migration
Taylor Creek Visitor Center
To celebrate the salmon migration, the community will host a family event featuring crafts, treasure hunts and other family-friendly activities.