The Ultimate Lake Tahoe Paddleboarding Guide
By: Lake Tahoe Staff
Lake Tahoe is one of the clearest, largest, and deepest alpine lakes in the entire world. The cold winters and cool water temperatures keep the lake’s clarity extremely high. This clarity and the famed blue color of the lake, make Tahoe the perfect place to paddleboard – in fact, paddleboarding is one of the best Lake Tahoe water sports! The lake is full to the brim of fresh, cold, glassy water, waiting for you! Throw in a pine tree-rimmed shoreline and a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, and Lake Tahoe stands apart as one of the most unique paddleboard destinations in the world. Come and check it out!
For those who haven’t been able to experience paddleboarding yet, you may ask, “why paddleboard?” Over the past few years, paddleboarding has become one of the most popular water activities in the world, due to its surprising simplicity. At first, it may be a little shaky but, there is a quick learning curve. This activity will test your arm, back, and stomach muscles! The key is that you will be having so much fun you won’t even realize how much you’re exercising. Because you’re standing up, you have a better view looking down into the famous Tahoe waters. This is hands down one of the best ways to see the lake and the mountains surrounding it!
Located on El Dorado Beach, in the center of South Lake Tahoe, South Tahoe Standup Paddle is the place to go to rent any of the three types of paddleboards offered, the Standard SUP, the Stability SUP, and the Touring SUP. You can rent for an hour or a whole day. Open 7 am to 7 pm Monday through Sunday, there is plenty of time this summer to get out and test the waters.
Located at 871 Emerald Bay Road, SUP South Lake Tahoe offers 2-hour rentals, all-day rentals, and evening rentals which go from 4 pm to 10 am. One of the coolest things about this rental destination is that it is the only one that will supply any car with the right racks to carry the boards, giving you the freedom to paddle where you want.
Kayak Tahoe offers paddleboard rentals as well as multiple kinds of kayaks. Kayak Tahoe has several rental locations, including Pope Beach, Nevada Beach, Baldwin Beach, Timber Cove, and Vikingsholm. This wide variety of locations allows you pick and choose what paddleboarding experience you want.
1. D.L. Bliss State Park: Located on the lake’s southwestern side, a few miles north of Emerald Bay, D.L. Bliss State Park offers both camping and walk-ins and boasts some of the prettiest water in the lake. Starting at the parking lot, launch off at Lester Beach. Heading south along the shore, you will pass Calawee Cove Beach and the Old Lighthouse as you paddle along the towering cliffs of the Rubicon Trail, a perfect hike for anyone who doesn’t want to get in the water. These cliffs continue down into the water, creating a drop off beneath you of deep blue water. If you’re feeling brave, stop at the famous Rooster Rock to test your rock jumping skills with a variety of different heights to choose from. Continue south to pass numerous coves perfect for taking a dip during your paddle. Continue all the way to Emerald Bay for a longer trip.
2. Emerald Bay: While there is no direct launch place for paddleboards in the bay, you can launch at Baldwin Beach and paddle north to get to Emerald Bay. Emerald Bay is one of the most iconic locations on Lake Tahoe. The deep blue water is a must-see. Once in the bay, enjoy the calmer waters, and paddle to the famous Fannette Island. Here you can paddle to the rocks, and climb to the top of the small island, where there sits an old teahouse to explore. After visiting the island, paddle toward Vikingsholm, an old stone castle that was built long ago.
3. Kiva Beach: One of the nicest beaches in Lake Tahoe, Kiva Beach offers a wide sandy beach, shallow warmer waters, and sweeping views of the Sierra Nevadas. While it is a short walk from the parking lot, the parking lot is free. Kiva Beach has a large sand beach, perfect for laying out in the sun after a refreshing paddle. The water here is shallower and warmer because it is on a shelf. The shallow water continues out for several hundred yards, making a less intimidating paddle for beginners who don’t want to fall into deeper water. From here, it is an easy paddle to other beaches nearby, like Pope Beach and Baldwin Beach. This is the prime beach for views of Mount Tallac.
4. Cave Rock: Located on the lake’s eastern side, Cave Rock is a dramatic rock formation along the shore, with tunnels underneath, created for Highway 50. Paddle along the rocks to the north to discover coves, private estates, and more rock formations. To the south, you can paddle to Zephyr Cove, one of the most popular beaches on this side of the lake. One of the highlights to paddle boarding here, is the panoramic views of the mountains to the west, directly across the lake.
5. Lakeview Commons: Located right in the center of the city of South Lake Tahoe, beach access here could not be easier. South Tahoe Stand Up Paddle for rentals, is located right here on the beach. This beach boasts shallow water.
1. Don’t be intimidated! It’s easier than it looks.
2. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen!
3. Bring a life vest and a leash so that the board can’t escape you!
4. Make sure the paddle is about half a foot taller than you are!
5. Put your feet hip-width apart for the most stability!
6. Be prepared to take a fall every now and then, especially as a beginner!
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