Top places to cross-country ski in South Lake Tahoe
By: Lake Tahoe
North of South Lake Tahoe’s “Y” intersection of Highway 50/89, on the lakeside, you’ll find mostly flat and short trails at Pope, Kiva, and Baldwin Beaches, as well as at the nearby Tallac Historic Site and Taylor Creek Visitor Area. Cross country skiing at the beaches is almost the definition of cross-country skiing in South Lake Tahoe because you are right on the lake! Camp Richardson (no pets, trail pass required) offers groomed trails once the snowpack reaches two feet.
On the opposite side of Highway 89 is Fallen Leaf Lake Campground, Mount Tallac Road (leads up to Floating Island and Cathedral Lakes), and the Taylor Creek Snow Play Area (permit required).
West of the “Y” you’ll find a number of easy to moderate trails along Lake Tahoe Boulevard, Tahoe Mountain Road, and North Upper Truckee Road. Park at the Forest Service gates along those roads and ski around Tahoe Mountain, Washoe Meadows State Park, and to the Angora Ridge, Lakes, and burn area.
Traveling west of Echo Summit on Highway 50, turn right onto Lincoln Highway (near Little Norway) and park at the Echo Lakes/Johnson Pass Sno-Park (permit required). Then, ski through Desolation Wilderness to Echo Lakes and Lake Aloha. This is one of the most stunning landscapes you will see in the area, making the region excellent for cross country skiing in South Lake Tahoe. Don’t forget to take a few photos
This region is very popular for cross country skiing in South Lake Tahoe due to its higher elevation. Grass Lake and neighboring Hope Valley are mostly flat, whereas Big Meadow and Carson Pass Sno-Park (permit required) offer more challenging routes. Kirkwood Ski Resort (no pets, trail pass required) has easy to advanced options along their groomed trails (80km in optimal winter conditions).
Stateline has great cross-country skiing once winter is in full swing. Rabe Meadow, on Kahle Drive, is nearly at lake level, so it’s best to cross country ski when winter is in full swing.
Click on the thumbnail below to download a map of these and other South Shore cross country ski areas: