Sometimes you get in a rut or a routine that’s focused on getting up, doing what you need, and that’s it. One of the handiest ways to get out of that funk is by creating a bucket list. It forces you to think “What adventurous things do I want to do that are a bit different than the normal doldrums?” With the new decade, we think it’s the PERFECT time to talk about the 20 Bucket List Must Do’s in Lake Tahoe you need to do this year as part of your own bucket list… in no particular order.
20. See The Salmon Spawn At Taylor Creek
Every fall, the mature Kokanee salmon make their journey up one of the many tributaries that flow into the crystal-clear waters of Lake Tahoe. One of the BIGGEST spawning destinations on the 72-mile shoreline is Taylor Creek. To celebrate this annual tradition, the Taylor Creek Visitor Center hosts the Fall Fish Fest.
19. Take A Trip On The MS Dixie II
THE quintessential way to get off the land and experience Big Blue. Beginning at Zephyr Cove, the M.S. Dixie II paddles its way past all the big attractions like Emerald Bay, Fannette Island, and Vikingsholm Castle.
18. Ski Through An Old Growth Forest At Sierra-at-Tahoe
During the boom of the Comstock Lode in Virginia City, there was a big need for lumber but the slopes around Sierra-at-Tahoe were home to red fir trees that were notoriously water-logged and deemed unworthy for the mines. Due to this, it created the most perfectly spaced old-growth forests for skiing/riding.
17. Wrangle Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride On A Mountain Bike
Pictures cannot visualize it. Words cannot describe it. Try it if you dare. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is the measuring stick for all expert mountain bikers. Seem too much of a challenge or just want to try mountain biking for the 1st time? Check out our mountain biking guide covering a host of different trails to consider.
16. Explore A Century’s Worth Of History On The Emerald Bay Heritage Trail
As of 2018, Emerald Bay State Park is home to an underwater maritime heritage cultural trail that history buffs can explore by diving through recreational watercraft and barges used in the park’s past. The collection is the nation’s largest and most diverse group of sunken small craft known to exist in their original location. In some cases, the vessels are over 100 years old.
15. Kick Off The New Year At SnowGlobe Music Festival
SnowGlobe 2020 has been officially canceled. The annual SnowGlobe Music Festival isn’t just another celebration. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience of music in the mountains unlike any other. Featuring multiple stages showcasing world-class musicians across three days, it reunites dance music lovers from around the world. Simply put, it’s the largest outdoor NYE music festival in the nation.
14. Heavenly’s Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster
First opened in June 2016, the gravity-powered mountain coaster located at the top of Heavenly offers an adrenaline packed ride alongside amazing views of the lake. Sweeping around natural rock formations and descending 300 vertical feet while racing down a 3,400’ track, you’ll come back with memories AND a grin. Also available in the winter!
13. Take A “Flight” On The Tahoe South Beer Trail
South Lake Tahoe has exploded on the craft brew scene to rival ANY mountain town for its barley pops. With over nine breweries, make it a long weekend and try all of them. Or better yet, get an insider’s view of three of these establishments via Tahoe Brew Tours.
12. See The Fall Colors In Hope Valley
Regardless of time of year, Hope Valley is a land of contrasts. Just as the name dictates, the natural beauty brings hope into your soul. With next to nothing when it comes to human development, the autumn countryside is alive with color from stands of Aspen, Black Cottonwood and Willows that are a must see. For more about Hope Valley and other places that are must see this fall, check out our blog post “It’s beginning to look a lot like autumn.”
11. Run In The Oldest Relay Race In America
What began as a “gag” by a group of college runners in 1959 has grown into a tribute to a beloved son who was killed in action in Vietnam while drawing enemy fire away from troops. Over the years, this storied tradition has even been run by Olympians. The DeCelle Memorial Lake Tahoe Relay consists of 7-people teams, each running a leg approximately 8 to 12 miles. And at the end, you can say “We ran around the ENTIRE lake.”
10. Attend The Summer Concert Series
Lake Tahoe’s climate in the summer is almost perfect with sunny days exceeding over 90%. As such, it’s a no brainer that the shores of Lake Tahoe host the ULTIMATE outdoor summer concert series. Combined with perfect weather and the biggest names in music such as Paul Simon, Lady Gaga, and the Who, you’re in for the ultimate treat for your ears.
9. Shove Off With Lake Tahoe Yoga & Try Paddleboard Yoga
It may sound difficult, but if you can stand on one foot, you can paddle. And if you can breathe, you can do yoga. Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga or SUP Yoga is your chance to push your limits in a safe environment and make you feel reinvigorated once you’re done. Join Jenay Aiksnoras of Lake Tahoe Yoga all summer long at Lakeview Commons. Be sure to reserve a spot ahead of time because SUP Yoga classes fill up fast.
8. Cheer On The Celebrities At The American Century Golf Championship
When it comes to seeing celebrities in a fun and relaxed atmosphere, there really isn’t any better way than by attending the American Century Golf Championship. Held the second full week of July at Edgewood Golf Course in Stateline Nevada. This event has a purse of over $600,000 and network television exposure making it the most prestigious celebrity golf tournament in the nation and a definite bucket list item.
7. Ski In Two States In One Day At Heavenly Mountain
Heavenly mountain resort is a hulking brute of a mountain. At 4,800 skiable acres, the highest elevation in Lake Tahoe, the BIGGEST vertical drop, and the ability to ski in TWO states, you know you’ll be in for an adventure. Being so massive means it can be a bit challenging to navigate especially on a snowboard so check out our article “How To Traverse Heavenly Mountain Like A Pro.”
6. Dip Your Toes In Lake Tahoe
Summer isn’t really summer until you’ve gone to the beach in Lake Tahoe. While the jaw dropping views of Sand Harbor filled with aqua colored water, reminiscent of the Caribbean surrounded by smooth granite boulders is amazing, parking lots fill EARLY by 8 am on most weekends. Luckily, there is a host of other beaches to consider as well. And if you have a bike, that’s an even better way to get to them.
5. Hike To Eagle Falls
When it comes to scenery, the Eagle Falls trail offers up some of the most beautiful landscape the Lake Tahoe Basin has to offer. Cascading waterfalls, large granite peaks, lush vegetation, and most of all, lots and lots of evergreens. There really isn’t a more perfect hike to start with than the short jaunt to Eagle Falls.
4. Take In A Sunset From Cave Rock
The extinct volcano jutting out of the shoreline known only as Cave Rock isn’t just the most prominent feature on the east side. It provides one of the best views of Lake Tahoe any time of day, but sunsets are where it shines. As the sun dips below the horizon, the colorful tapestry in the sky will help you understand why Mark Twain wrote, “Lake Tahoe would restore an Egyptian mummy to his pristine vigor.”
3. Catch Your First Fish At The Tahoe Trout Farm
While there is a plethora of family fun options, one of the oldest family traditions in the Lake Tahoe region is held by the Tahoe Trout Farm. Helping teach kids of all ages how to catch fish and about Tahoe’s ecosystem for over 70 years, it’s the perfect place to get them hooked for life. For more about this adventure and many others, check out our ideas for family adventures.
2. See Lake Tahoe From A Hot Air Balloon
For those that have seen it all and done it all, we’ve got one for you that you most likely have never done – a birds-eye view of Lake Tahoe from a hot air balloon. Considered by many as one of the most unique air balloon rides in the world. It’s the ONLY balloon operation that begins AND ends on the deck of a boat making it even safer (removes hazards like power lines out of the equation). Departing at sunrise, you climb to over 10,000 feet providing unparalleled views of attractions like Desolation Wilderness.
1. Hike Mt. Tallac
This bucket list wouldn’t be complete without listing the be-all and end-all of hiking in Lake Tahoe. Summiting Mt. Tallac. It’s something that every physically fit person can do within a day and say, “I climbed that peak!” Being the tallest mountain on the lakes’ immediate shoreline (9,738’), the 10-mile round-trip hike gives hikers views of not just the basin but also the Crystal Range and Pyramid Peak within Desolation Wilderness.
If this list isn’t enough to inspire you, be sure to also read our article “8 Things That Are The Quintessential Tahoe Experience.”