Strap on Your “Shoes”!

Set Your Own Pace

Snowshoeing at Lake Tahoe can be measured by the beauty one encounters along their path. The sapphire blue of Lake Tahoe, the gray skeleton framework of aspens standing sentinel in Cathedral Meadow, the lichen covered granite boulders along the path to the Rim Trail at Van Sickle Bi-State Park are waiting. 

Snowshoe Tahoe Snowshoeing at Emerald Bay Snowshoe races at Camp Richardson


Snowshoeing on Lake Tahoe

Some of the best things about snowshoeing are: it’s inexpensive; you can do it at your own pace; there are no sport-specific skills needed; if you can walk, you can snowshoe; you can determine a level of effort that fits your ability and desires.  It’s also an opportunity to enjoy a picnic in an incredibly beautiful, natural setting with a small day pack. Sandwiches and beverages can be purchased in a number of locations if you don’t have access to a kitchen. Please remember to pack-out what you pack-in. There are no trash receptacles or maintenance people.

With snow the roads and fields are white; But here the forest’s clothed with light And in a shining sheath enrolled. Each branch, each twig, each blade of grass, Seems clad miraculously with glass.

William Sharp (Scottish Writer)

It’s a sunny spring day.
The temperature is 63°F.
Ready to enjoy the mountains?

Fun Places to Snowshoe

The Lam Watah Trail/bike path through Rabe Meadow to Nevada Beach follows the path the Washoe people used for about two thousand years. There are interpretive signs along the way that provide interesting information about the area.  The start is just off Hwy 50 on Kale Drive in Stateline. There are a small number of parking spots and toilets are available, too. It’s a relatively flat walk of about 1.5 miles each way with beautiful views of Lake Tahoe, Mt. Tallac, and the Sierra. Once you cross the meadow, you’ll traverse beneath towering pines, through the Nevada Beach Campground, and then the shoreline area. Dogs are allowed on a leash. One can extend their distance by walking along the shoreline toward the rock jetty at Elk Point.

Winter sunrise of Emerald Bay
Winter Sunrise at Emerald Bay State Park

Van Sickle Bi-State Park is an especially handy spot to snowshoe for those staying in the Stateline area because one needn’t get in their car.  The entry is off Lake Parkway at Heavenly Way between Heavenly Village and the Village Center. Rentals are available in both locations. While the gates are closed during winter, foot traffic is welcome. Walk up the road to the trailhead. If the road isn’t blanketed in snow, there’s a distinctive California/Nevada Stateline stripe along the way that’s a fun spot for photo ops. There’s a gentle climb to the trailhead and once you’re there, you’ll find a map to help you decide how long you want to stay out and how much effort you want to expend. It’s a gateway to the Tahoe Rim Trail so there’s plenty of opportunity to go big miles and exert major energy if desired. It’s a good idea to rent poles along with the snowshoes on this trail as even the easier trails have some up and down terrain. You’ll find massive, granite boulders left over from the last glacial period on this trail along with loads of Tamarack pines. Gorgeous views of Lake Tahoe become evident after about 20 minutes of climbing up the entry trail. 

Camp Richardson through the Tallac Heritage Site is a gentle, cruiser snowshoe experience mostly along the shore of Lake Tahoe. Rentals are available at the resort. Parking may be available at the Beacon Restaurant, but if not, walk down Jameson Beach Rd to the shoreline (the Beacon Restaurant is there) and head to your left or go along the bike path to Valhalla Rd, turn right and start in. While the historic buildings aren’t open; it’s easy to  imagine the grandeur and opulence of life at Lake Tahoe for the Bay Area elite Pope, Heller and Baldwin families that built the mansions at the end of the 19th century. The Valhalla Estate is a magnificent timber structure that features a large hall that the Heller family built in 1923. To extend the experience continue north until you reach Baldwin Bay. The views of Mt. Tallac across the bay and marsh areas are awe inspiring and photo opportunities abound. On the return, you’ll see Heavenly Mountain Resort California side ski runs to your left.

Snowshoeing at Cathedral Meadow requires a sno-park permit that can be purchased online. There are two main trails to choose from that end in the same place near the bridge over the dam between Fallen Leaf Lake and Taylor Creek. A fun thing to do is to make a loop out of both. One winds through pines along the Taylor Creek and the other through grey, leafless Aspens in Cathedral Meadow. Mt. Tallac is the dominant feature in the Cathedral Meadow section and makes for wonderful photos. To extend the experience, cross the bridge and snowshoe along Fallen Leaf Lake. It’s another spot for terrific photos. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous take the trail into the Fallen Leaf Campground back to the bridge. There are some very old and huge cedar trees along the way. 

Snowshoeing on the Lake

Snowshoeing is the opportunity to burn enough calories to earn your next meal while treading through some of Tahoe’s quieter realms and as long as you’re with members of your household or wearing a mask and distancing from others you’re relatively safe from COVID.


With a quick learning curve (walk a little wider and pick up those knees), snowshoeing is an enjoyable way to experience Tahoe’s backcountry. There are many places to snowshoe in Lake Tahoe, ranging from flat and easy to steep and strenuous.

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