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Favorite Family Hikes for Fall in Tahoe South

We’ve had our first snowfall of the season in Tahoe South but the lifts aren’t turning just yet. Heavenly Mountain is scheduled to open November 21 with Kirkwood following suit the next day. Sierra-at-Tahoe will open as soon as we have enough fluffy white powder. With its location on Echo Summit and north-facing slopes, Sierra Resort is often able to open with just one big storm.

As a family who loves to ski, in our house there’s a lot of talk about winter. The only problem is that we’re really enjoying the fall. After a summer of lazy beach days, fall is a great time to explore, and we love going on family hikes.

My kids are ages seven, five, and one. While the one-year-old spends much of the time hiking in a backpack (it’s a better workout for me that way) these are hikes that my seven and five year olds do just fine, and love! When you have young kids, sometimes getting everyone out of the house and in the car with their shoes on feels like an accomplishment. All of these hikes are easily accessed. From anywhere in Tahoe South, you can quickly be at each of these spots and parked within a stone’s throw of the trailhead.

Under the Heavenly Gondola at Van Sickle Bi-State Park
Enter Van Sickle Bi-State Park under the Gondola near Heavenly Village. This hike can be as long or as short as you want, and soon after starting out you’ll get to enjoy some incredible views of Lake Tahoe. An added bonus of this hike is that as soon as you decide you’re done, it’s all downhill back to the car.

Pie Shop
If you’re not familiar with Pie Shop, this is the little peak and collection of boulders after you pass the Lake Tahoe Golf Course coming into South Lake Tahoe on Highway 50. You can park on Sawmill Road and find the trailhead, and from there a myriad of options are available to you with trails jetting off and going multiple directions. This is also a popular rock-climbing area and there are great boulders for the kids to climb on.

Upper Truckee River Area off South Upper Truckee Road
This is one of my favorite areas of Tahoe South year-round, but in the fall it comes with the added bonus of the Aspen trees breaking out into vibrant yellow. This is a 4.6 mile hike right along the river with no climbing, so it’s great for kids.

Wax your skis and get ready for winter, but don’t miss the amazing things that Tahoe South has to offer now. It’s called America’s year-round playground for a reason.

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Clark Vandeventer

A once upon a time candidate for US Congress, Clark Vandeventer is the author of unWorking, available on Amazon. You can read his blog on travel and lifestyle design at FamilyTrek.org and follow him on Twitter @clarkvand.

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