15 Fun Things to Do in Lake Tahoe in the Winter

8 min read
There are many fun things to do in Lake Tahoe in the winter

Lake Tahoe is one of the jewels of California, especially in the winter. Winter can be an exciting time to visit this famous alpine lake in North America. This is because you are graced with a blanket of snow that makes the surroundings look like the cover of Ski Magazine.

While the summer months might have the biggest crowds and water activities in Lake Tahoe, winter is Lake Tahoe's other great season that many people forget about.

There are many reasons to visit Lake Tahoe during the colder months, and this article will show you some of the most compelling ones. Continue reading to find out the top 15 things to do in Lake Tahoe in the winter!

  • 15 California things to do

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15 Things to Do at Lake Tahoe in Winter

Lake Tahoe Things to Do in Winter Map

A map of California. Use the map to explore all the things to do.

Cascade Lake nestled between the Sierra Nevada Mountains

Ride a Helicopter over Lake Tahoe

A helicopter ride is one of the most popular things to do in Lake Tahoe in winter. Why?

  1. There's no better way to see all the beauty surrounding this incredible body of water than by taking a flight above it all!
  2. There isn't much physical activity involved other than getting on and off the helicopter.
  3. It's fun, and it will be an experience that you will remember forever! No matter what age or activity level you are at, anyone can enjoy this Tahoe winter activity because it doesn't require much effort on your part at all.
  4. You can simultaneously see multiple lakes and gorgeous beaches along South Lake Tahoe.

Check out the tour agency Tahoe Helicopters for some fantastic photo opportunities!

Ski on Snow-Covered Hills

Speaking of Lake Tahoe looking like a cover from a Ski Magazine, it is one of California's best places to ski. The fun of skiing comes from the sensation of flying through the air, gliding on snow, and enjoying the landscapes around you.

Skiing can be done by people of all ages and abilities, from young children to accomplished athletes. Even if you are not a professional skier, it's easy to learn the basic tricks on a Lake Tahoe mountain.

There are many ski resorts available around Lake Tahoe where you can spend your time enjoying the snow by skiing across the slopes. The top three places to ski in Lake Tahoe are Squaw Valley, Heavenly Mountain Resort, and Northstar.

Snowshoe through Scenic Trails

When trails get snowed in deep, it isn’t easy to walk on them without snow gear. Snowshoes are shoes with a platform, which makes walking through deep snow easier.

Snowshoeing is an ideal winter activity for those who want to spend time outdoors but don’t want to ski or snowboard. You’ll get a great workout without straining your knees or ankles, and you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of nature in wintertime.

If you’ve never snowshoed before, don’t stress about it! Snowshoeing is easy to learn. Most people learn how to use snowshoes within minutes of starting their first tour or hike.

The best place to snowshoe in Lake Tahoe is the Mount Rose area. Check out Tahoe Meadows for fewer crowds, Chickadee Ridge to watch chickadee, or Incline Flume Trail for scenic views of Lake Tahoe. If you’re a beginner, head to Spooner Lake to learn at your own pace.

See snowshoeing times and prices in South Lake Tahoe here.

Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe

Hike up for Views of Lake Tahoe and Beyond

Hiking can be both fun and challenging, especially if you're looking for advanced trails or want something that will take you off the beaten path.

There are plenty of different hikes around Lake Tahoe that range from easy walks with little elevation gain up to strenuous climbs where you'll find yourself climbing over rocks and boulders and going through thick forests.

The best hikes are Eagle Rock, Eagle Falls, and Cave Rock for their uniqueness and panoramic views. For the best easy hikes in Lake Tahoe to do in the winter, head to the Lake of the Sky Trail or the Spooner Lake Trail.

Go on a Sleigh Ride in Sand Harbor State Park

As the holiday season coincides with the winter months, sleigh riding is one of the best things to do in Tahoe in winter. You can find sleigh rides at Sand Harbor State Park on the east shore of Lake Tahoe. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon or evening with friends or family.

The park offers sleigh rides pulled by Blonde Belgian horses from November through March. The tour is 30 minutes long with narrations, poems, songs, and stories, along with time to take photos with the horses.

Ice Skate at The Heavenly Village Ice Rink

The winter months in Lake Tahoe are prime time for ice skating. While you cannot skate on Lake Tahoe, there are several skating rinks to go ice skating in Lake Tahoe.

The Heavenly Village Ice Rink is the best place to ice skate in South Lake Tahoe. Open from November through April, this rink also has twinkle lights so you can enjoy skating at night and during the day.

S'mores kit provided by the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa, & Casino

Enjoy S’mores

One of the best ways to end a winter night of activities with your friends and family is with a s’mores night at a fire pit. If you’re camping, grab some graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate bars to make s’mores at your campsite.

If you’re staying at a hotel in Lake Tahoe, you might get a complimentary s’mores kit to use at the hotel’s fire pit. Hotels that provide them include the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Northstar California Resort, The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe, Edgewood Tahoe Resort, and Basecamp Hotel.

Snowmobile or Sled Down The Sierra Nevada Mountains

The hills and mountains around Lake Tahoe are also popular for snowmobiling and sledding. If you’re looking for snowmobiling tours, the three best options are Zephyr Cove Snowmobiling Tours, Tahoe Snowmobiles, and North Tahoe Winter Adventures.

The best place to go sledding is near the Tahoe Meadows Trail. As both snowmobiling and sledding require you to be in the cold outdoors for a long time, make sure you’re wearing the required winter clothes and have proper winter gear.

Get Into a Hot Tub

There is nothing like dipping into a hot tub when the weather is cold! While Lake Tahoe is filled with outdoor activities, take some time to spend an evening in your hotel’s hot tub or heated pool. It’ll relax you after a long day of winter activities and energize you to keep up with your itinerary in Lake Tahoe.

View from Cave Rock of the eastern shoreline of Lake Tahoe

Drive Around Lake Tahoe

If you are visiting Lake Tahoe, it is a must to drive around the lake! There are some great scenic views and hikes that you can take while driving around Lake Tahoe.

The scenery is stunning, especially when driving on Route 89, which hugs the shoreline near Emerald Bay. Several overlooks offer different views of Emerald Bay.

You can also see the snow-capped mountains as you drive Lake Tahoe's rim. Or, you can explore beyond Lake Tahoe and drive up to Reno, Carson City, or the historic Virginia City. Whichever way you go, you'll have a great time!

Ride up an Aerial Tram

Another way to see Lake Tahoe and its surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains from above is by riding up an aerial tram. Head to the Palisades Tahoe Aerial Tram in The Village at Palisades Tahoe to ride over 2,000 feet high.

This tram ride takes 10 minutes, but you’ll get stunning views, especially during sunset when the air is clear, and everything is lit up. Look for mountain peaks, rivers, and lakes.

Get a Spa Massage

Unwind at a spa after a long day of Lake Tahoe attractions. Lake Tahoe is filled with spas, but you might find one at your hotel. If not, here are the best options: The Landing Tahoe Resort & Spa, BioSpirit Day Spa, and Elements Day Spa.

Exterior view of Soule Domain in Northern Lake Tahoe

Eat in a Cozy Cabin Restaurant

Wondering where to eat in Lake Tahoe during the winter? Choose from one of the many cozy restaurants! If you’re looking for a cabin-like experience, reserve a spot at Soule Domain in North Lake Tahoe. Warm up near the fireplace at Soule Domain with some tasty authentic dishes created with local ingredients.

Snow Tube with your Family

A popular family-friendly activity in Lake Tahoe is going snow tubing. Sitting on these donut-shaped tubes and riding down the hill is a fun way to enjoy the winter landscape around Lake Tahoe. Check out Palisades Tahoe for snow tubing. They also have disco tubing with live entertainment on specific dates.

Take a Cruise on Lake Tahoe

Since Lake Tahoe doesn’t freeze over during the winter, head out on the lake on a cruise. It’ll be colder on the lake in winter, so dress up in layers and pack your winter accessories to wear on the boat. One of the best cruises is the “Lake Tahoe Cruises.” They have an indoor portion on the boat if you want to sit down or warm up.

In Conclusion

As you can see, Lake Tahoe has plenty to offer those who want to go outdoors or relax indoors in the colder months. Whether you're a snow-lover who wants to tackle a snowy hike or a person who loves relaxing at spas, there's something for everyone in winter here!

If you're looking for a perfect winter getaway or just want to explore Lake Tahoe during winter, hopefully, this list of 15 Lake Tahoe winter activities will help you plan your winter adventure to Lake Tahoe.

This article was edited by Loredana Elena.

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Written by Rasika

rasika BLOGGER Rasika is the owner of a California travel blog. She is from the Bay Area, and her blog covers California destinations. She hopes that her readers will fall in love with California, just like she did.


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