Slow Down and Take In All of Tahoe This Summer

By: Trent Unruh

As a world-famous destination without rival, Lake Tahoe is certain to be on many travelers’ must-do lists. Unfortunately, between planning for a vacation and taking in that first full breath of mountain air, many of us forget to relax, ease off the accelerator, and enjoy the ride.

A Mountain Range With Plenty of Time

You’re sure to find stunning views on the observation deck at Heavenly Mountain.

The Sierra Nevada Mountains are just getting started in life as a relatively young mountain range (estimated at 40 million years old). Compare them to the Rocky Mountains at 70 to 80 million years old, and you will realize Lake Tahoe and the mountains that surround it have at least tens of millions of years left.

Historical Perspective

Washoe Fishing Camps at Lake Tahoe. Photo by KUNR.

As the first group of people to settle in the region, the Washoe Tribe made regular trips to Tahoe, on foot from Carson Valley, Woodfords, and other nearby areas giving them plenty of time to learn about and appreciate the natural world around them.

Even after the arrival of European settlers and the horses they brought with them, trips to Lake Tahoe from Sacramento and Virginia City took days of travel through the area’s unfettered wilderness.

Views for Days

Scenic views of Lake Tahoe from a hiking trail. Photo by Emily Taylor.

In case you missed it, the Tahoe Basin is a feast for the eyes no matter where you look. From the deep-blue waters of Lake Tahoe’s surface to sea pine trees, and the rugged granite mountains above, Lake Tahoe is sure to leave you in awe of its majesty.

Instead of focusing on the views you are going to see, take a page out of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s book and appreciate the sights you see on your way here. After all, “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey”.

Slow Down For Our Animals

A family of black bears crossing the road. Photo by @jhestenes.

As a city in the middle of a forest, the roads through and around South Lake Tahoe run through the habitat of countless animal species. Unfortunately, the animals don’t know that with many collisions taking place on Friday nights when cars are coming into town.

“Don’t let your mad dash to Tahoe end with a collision with wildlife” said Denise Upton with Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care. “The hotel front desk will wait, the trails aren’t going anywhere, and who cares if you’re a few minutes late to the show? You can make a positive impact just by slowing down and looking for the animals that call Lake Tahoe home.”

Bear cubs can be especially vulnerable while traveling on the road at night. If you ever see a bear crossing the road, don’t assume that is the only one. Cubs are usually following close behind the adult and could use the help of patient motorists to be sure they make it across safely.

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