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Getting Around Tahoe

Welcome to Tahoe, where fun times are waiting and the traffic doesn’t matter - or it shouldn’t. Sure it can be bothersome at times, but this town has grown and adapted with the seasonal congestion in mind. When traffic conditions are less than ideal, the good news is that you can still make your perfect agenda happen by planning ahead a bit. Today there is an abundance of affordable and convenient options to get around the lake whether you find yourself on foot, wheels, or water.

Wondering how to get to, through, and around Lake Tahoe? Check out LinkingTahoe.com - Tahoe's new travel information hub

This summer the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority has partnered up with the League to Save Lake Tahoe to offer Chariot - a new alternative transportation option via large 14-passenger van shuttles.

Chariot Shuttle Lake Tahoe

The private transit was brought here in an effort to cut traffic while reducing environmental impact, something we can all be happy about. Think of it as an easy carpool from point A to point B, which for now will span across 15 shuttle stops between Lakeview Commons and up past Stateline a bit. Visit their interactive app for a convenient route and time map.

Chariot Blue Line Route Lake Tahoe

Chariot’s app essentially functions similar to other microtransit apps like Uber or Lyft and has already seen great success in other parts of California. When commuting, not only is opting to ride-share with Chariot cheaper than most programs at $3 a seat, but also always a great call if you’re planning to go out and enjoy some drinks.

Chariot Shuttle App Screen Shot

If you’re on the go and want to skip planning out rides or perusing the bike rental stores, you might want to try one of the LimeBikes or their new electric scooters that you’ve probably seen around town. The bright green LimeBikes, which were also made possible thanks to The League, have been wildly popular around town since they arrived in 2017 and the process to use the scooters mimics that of the bike: download the app to your smartphone, once the app is downloaded the scooter wheels can be unlocked by scanning a barcode linked to your account. When the user is done, scooters and bikes can be left wherever they are or at a nearby hub listed on the app.

Electric Scooter Tahoe

Photo credit: Tahoe Daily Tribune

Each new microtransit service presents their own draw, so rather than rely on one every time, use them for their different benefits or in complement of one another. Don’t forget about the tried and true services that have stood the test of time - Tahoe Transit South Shore Services will connect you all the way out to Carson City, their Emerald Bay Shuttle runs along the west shore up to Tahoe City, and the Tahoe Nifty Fifty Trolley runs regularly from Tahoe City, Camp Richardson, the South Y, and other points on the south shore.

Having all of these convenient ways to get around town doesn’t always translate to a smooth execution. For example, when attending the Summer Concert Series be aware that lots will fill up quickly, transit services get stuck in traffic too, and you WILL have to pay for parking at any of the major casinos. Similarly, when planning a day at the beach, it’s not only the commute you need to consider but parking and availability. If you want the option of choosing that prime beach towel real estate or want to explore Emerald Bay without the crowds, you MUST aim to be there around 9 am (for weekends or a holiday even earlier!). The lots are full by 10 am and the later it gets the heavier the traffic. We recommend parking at Anderson’s Bike Rental or the Y and biking over if possible.

On the topic of biking around Tahoe, no car is no problem (and in my opinion the preferred option). With a network of over 50 miles of paved and dirt paths around the lake, the bike is always a solid option to get around Tahoe South. On particularly busy days you will even save time by avoiding the highway auto traffic. Not only can you bike around the entire lake via the road bike lane, but for those that would rather not cruise on the busy highway, there is a paved bike path completely separate from the road that stretches around the south shore and beyond.

Bike Bench Lake Tahoe

For a nice visual with details on how exactly to get from point A to B on bike or foot no matter what that entails, take a look at the interactive map put out by the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition. Remember that safer is always better, and the South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue is now offering free loaner helmets. So no excuses!

Don’t forget about the lake! You may not have realized that this big beautiful lake can also be used as a quick and convenient way to commute around Tahoe. The Water Taxi from Action Watersports is a scenic way to get around the marinas at Camp Richardson, Lakeside, Round Hill Pines, or Timber Cove, and they will transport bikes for free. You can also catch the Tahoe Transportation District Ferry across the water from Tahoe City to South Lake Tahoe near the Tahoe Keys. This 150 passenger high-speed shuttle will get you across the lake in just 20-25 minutes all four seasons.

South Shore Water Taxi Map

South Shore Water Taxi Map by Camp Richardson
Photo credit: Action Water Sports Water Taxi

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Cam Schilling

Cameron is a creative marketing professional with a passion for nature, music and responsible business. Having grown up in Maine, any day getting dirty outside is a day well spent. When he's not working on his own projects, he is out exploring the many marvels of Tahoe in search of the next perfect trek or hideaway.


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