Lake Tahoe Emerald Bay Adventures - Kayak Tahoe - Bike the Beaches - Hike Desolation


Emerald Immersion

Turquoise waters surrounded by steep granite cliffs, waterfalls, Jeffrey pines, and soft sand beaches make Emerald Bay one of Lake Tahoe’s most coveted jewels. Here’s how to make it your weekend centerpiece for summer fun.  

Kayak Tahoe

Credence Clearwater

Famous for being pure, clean, and oh so clear, the best way to see Tahoe's water is to get out on it. Kayak Tahoe has been paddling on Emerald Bay for nearly 20 years, and they're the only company with a permit to launch from a beach right on the bay. Go with one of their guides on a morning excursion and paddle the perimeter of the bay, gliding over blue-green water. On your journey you'll see some of the bay's highlights, including secluded boat-in campgrounds (currently closed for restoration), a sunken barge clearly visible 30 feet below, and multiple osprey nests. If the winds are fair, cross over to get a closer look at Tahoe's only island. Set in the center of the bay, Fannette Island is famous for the "Tea House" perched at its peak. Paddle onward to a snack break on the beach at the Scandinavian-inspired Vikingsholm mansion. Then catch a tailwind back to your put-in.

TIP: Do-it-yourselfers can rent kayaks from Baldwin Beach and paddle 3 miles (one-way) to reach Emerald Bay.

Kayak Tahoe, on the water at Timber Cove Marina, South Lake Tahoe; 530-544-2011.

Baldwin Beach Lake Tahoe

Bike, Beach, and Beacon - Brilliant!

Bikes and beaches make a natural combo. Bring your own two-wheeler to explore Tahoe's honey-colored sands, or rent one from Anderson Bicycle Rental, conveniently located at the start of the Forest Bicycle Trail. This flat, paved 4-mile bike path runs parallel to Lake Tahoe's shoreline, with a few beaches making good detours for sand-lounging. Pedal through forest (past Camp Richardson) all the way to Baldwin Beach. Behind you, stately Mount Tallac looms; in front of you, 22 miles of Lake Tahoe stretch away clear and blue. For those who prefer a dog-friendly setting, Kiva Beach behind the Tallac Historic Site butts up to the forest, with plenty of space to roam. End the bike-beach combo on The Beacon's outdoor wooden deck at Camp Richardson. Hear live music while sipping a Rum Runner—a Beacon specialty. Brilliant!

The Forest Trail Bike Path starts 1 mile north of the Hwy. 89/50 intersection. Look for the Anderson Bicycle Rental sign on Hwy. 89 and 13th St. Ride down 13th St. and make a left onto Eloise Rd., which takes you to the path. Bike rentals from Anderson's are $9 per hour, the fourth hour is free. Open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

desolation wilderness

(Briefly) Into the Wild

Want to hike into a granite wonderland, past glacier-carved lakes, and up to panoramic views of Lake Tahoe? Make it happen on a 6-mile loop hike in Tahoe's Desolation Wilderness. Start at the Eagle Falls trailhead and temporarily join the hordes of eager people heading to Eagle Lake, a glinting oasis set amidst a granite amphitheater. After checking out the lake, backtrack about 500 feet to the Velma Lakes intersection; there you'll lose the crowds and quickly ascend into the rugged backcountry. The only sounds you'll hear are the wind blowing through lonely lodgepole pines and gnarled juniper trees. Gaining 1,200 feet over 1.6 miles, each step takes you higher into the beautifully barren rocky terrain, with mountains layering far into the distance. Make a left at the three-way junction onto Bayview Trail and get ready: The ultimate Lake Tahoe view—Emerald Bay in plain sight—is your backdrop for most of the trip down. But before descending Bayview, scramble off-trail toward northern Maggie's Peak for an unforgettable ridgetop lunch spot overlooking the wild.

From the Eagle Falls trailhead, fill out a free wilderness permit and follow the signs toward Eagle Lake. After visiting Eagle Lake, backtrack 500 feet and follow the trail toward Velma/Dicks Lake. After climbing 1.6 miles, make a left onto the Bayview Trail and hike 2.8 miles to the Bayview trailhead. Take a BlueGO shuttle 1 mile north on Hwy. 89 back to your car at Eagle Falls. To catch the BlueGO shuttle, stand on the northbound side of Hwy. 89 at the entrance to Inspiration Point. Shuttles arrive hourly, between 40 and 50 minutes past hour. Wave at the shuttle when it arrives. It's $2 per person.

High Fourth of July

Play outdoors during the day; enjoy dinner and a show at night. South Lake Tahoe's got you covered 24/7. And's got the best deals around, offering great prices on weekend or weeklong vacations in South Lake Tahoe.

With the largest fireworks show this side of the Mississippi, Lake Tahoe is the ultimate Fourth of July destination. Even better, the show is free! Lights on the Lake will ignite the alpine sky with jellyfish, stars, butterflies, and smiley faces, all choreographed to music from local radio stations. Watch the action from a number of premier spots, including Baldwin or Pope Beach, or right on the water aboard the M.S. Dixie II or Tahoe Queen paddlewheelers. Book your trip now and get great deals on accommodations, food, recreation, and entertainment. Get high this Fourth of July!

Visit to find out more about 4th of July at the lake, and other great trip-planning ideas and deals for the entire summer.

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