Lake Tahoe - Our Piece of Heaven

Lake Tahoe continues to provide new opportunities for exploration, and comfortable aspects that never seem to change. This journal will describe our experiences over more than 10 years, from both a lakeside, and mountain / valley perspective. I'll provide dining recommendations, timeshare, and area attractions.


Lake Tahoe - Our Piece of Heaven

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by txtraveler on July 12, 2002

We've experienced Lake Tahoe in their Spring (May/June), their Fall (after Labor Day - early November) and their Winter (Feb). Each trip is wonderful, in very different ways.

In May, the hiking is wonderful as you will still find patches of snow, with wildflowers poking their way through. The smell is wonderful! We've seen cougar tracks, and actually heard bears - yes, they are really out there. In Sept/Oct after Labor Day, the crowds are gone - and so are some of the attractions, like tours of houses...-but we'd rather have the fewer crowds. It's cool on the water, so pack sweatshirts and jeans then, too. In Oct, 2000, it rained, then sleeted, then snowed on us all in one evening -- snow on the beach on the lake - Fabulous! In Feb, the terrain looks totally different, and snowmobiling is definitely recommended! When you hike, watch out for snowboarders - they are wild! :)${QuickSuggestions} Even in May, you should pack sweatshirts and jeans, as it is still cold in the morning, and chilly during the day. The sun on the Lake, with a chilly breeze can't be matched anywhere else! Alway pack really good hiking shoes, and socks (if you are a hiker) and bring plenty of water.${BestWay} If you want to really experience the Lake, and all it has to offer, you'll need a car. But once you make the trip around the lake, stopping for all the scenic photo ops, don't stop there. Park that car, and walk, walk, walk. Tahoe City and Truckee are great little places to explore (see my other journal entries)...and the hiking is fantastic...and available at all levels of endurance.


Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort & Casino

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by txtraveler on July 12, 2002

I stayed on Hyatt Points / Awards, so not sure of the pricing. The Regency Club makes your stay very enjoyable, with a continental breakfast & drinks and hot snacks in the early evening. The rooms are small, but the views are spectacular! The lobby has recently been renovated, and has such a wonderful LODGE feel. The service is good, and the food in the restaurants is very good. The casino on the ground floor has also been renovated recently, and provides a "better than usual" less-smoky environment. No guarantees that you'll win big, though! They do have a players club, though, (Hyatt Country Club)and that is worth signing up for. The location is fantastic for this property. It is set in an area of beautiful houses, and is convenient to most everything. The Hyatt owns property on the beach, which we've not explored, but it holds many possibilities when we return this Fall. We've stayed there at least 4 times, and it makes a great getaway! I understand they have a fantastic Sunday brunch, In Lone Eagle's, which we'll try this next visit coming up. Look for Tahoe updates after October! www.hyatt.com will take you to more info about this great resort. Update following our 10/02 stay: The Casino Services group had invited us to stay (BD gift)with a free room night incl tax! (You need to know we are NOT high-rollers, just consistent customers...)We were put in a suite with a beautiful view! Continued high-quality service here, and lots of fun gambling in this great environment! The staff is very friendly, yet professional within the casino. We didn't make it to the Lone Eagle Grille as planned, but we've earned enough Country Club points that we're "good to go" next time! Fantastic place!
Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino
111 Country Club Drive
Incline Village, Nevada, 89451
(775) 832-1234

Red Wolf Lakeside Lodge

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by txtraveler on July 12, 2002

Best Things Nearby:
The BEACH right on the lake! Right on the road to everywhere, yet the units are far enough from the road, that you don't have noise.

Best Things About the Resort:
Amenities - paddleboats, kayaks, videos, pool, hot tub...very friendly staff. New, very comfortable unit with great kitchen & balcony.

Resort Experience:
The decor of this unit is SO Lake Tahoe. Very comfortable for 2 couples, yet still cozy, with the fireplace and balcony. They had a nice mixer one night, but other than that, no pressure to "join in" on the activities. The equipment was readily available, and my son and husband enjoyed a VERY chilly early am kayak outing. Videos are readily available, and they have a whole bookshelf of games and books to borrow. Beautiful pool & hot tub, and tables with umbrellas to lounge by. The property was well-maintained. Sorry they have a restriction on how frequently we can return; we'll definitely try to get back there as soon as we can. A plus Property!!! Highly recommend. Update 10/02: We didn't stay at this property this visit, but looked around to see how it's "holding up!" Still a VERY HIGH QUALITY property - well-maintained, and CLEAN! Didn't show vacancy, so must still be bringing 'em in! We'd like to stay here again!

Red Wolf Lakeside Lodge
7630 North Lake Boulevard
North Lake Tahoe, California
(530) 546-6262

Edgelake Beach Club

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by txtraveler on July 12, 2002

Best Things Nearby:
This property has the largest beach access to Lake Tahoe we've seen! Right on North Lake Blvd, so access is fantastic, but the units are set back far enough that you don't hear street noise.

Best Things About the Resort:
The view of the Lake. The unit was not "new", but was comfortable for 3 people. Full kitchen, friendly staff, the BEST PIER out onto the water - really out far over the water. Spent a lot of time up there just listening to the silence, and looking across the lake at the mountains. Fantastic sunrises and sunsets with unobstructed views.

Resort Experience:
The unit has a full kitchen, and comfortable living room with fireplace. Bedrooms and baths are VERY small, but also very clean. We had some problems with our dishwasher, and the maintenance was prompt and apologetic. It was cool while we were there - October - but they have a deck outside with plexiglass surrounding it, and tables to sit at...so we could enjoy the sun and the view, with a wind break. The pier makes it quite unique, and the very easy access to the beach, and thus a nice quiet walk along the beach makes this property very attractive. We will definitely return here! The activities were very sparse - do I remember if there were any?...but that didn't matter to us. It was off-season, and truly we more enjoyed the quiet. So, that FAIR rating is NOT a negative... Update 10/02: We didn't stay here this time, but stopped and looked around. Still well-maintained, and inviting. We hope to stay here again, as the location right at the water's edge is FANTASTIC for sunsets, quiet, and just a different feel for the lake.

Tahoe Edgelake Beach Club
7680 North Lake Boulevard
Tahoe Vista, California, 96148
(530) 546-5974

Olympic Village Inn

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by txtraveler on July 13, 2002

Best Things Nearby:
Truckee Tahoe City The mountains / hiking right outside the back door Lake Tahoe Walking distance to the gondola to High Camp Squaw Valley & Olympic History

Best Things About the Resort:
Friendly staff, activities, the scenery, well-maintained grounds, immaculate units! The history attached...this is where the Olympic athletes stayed many years ago!

Resort Experience:
We've stayed here many, many times. This property has a one in 3 or 4 rule now, so we're desperately trying to get in this year, our first time avail in a while. The units ARE small, and they are very upfront about that in the RCI description, but think of them as cozy and quaint, and you'll be fine. Definitely not good for 2 couples. Privacy for one couple, with a pull-out sofa separated by a bathroom and 2 doors. Mini-kitchen, stovetop, and tiny refrig and microwave, pull-down from the wall table for 2. Perfect for breakfast, and lunches. Grills outside on property, and lots of restaurants nearby. Each unit has an entry of a common outside area, and a private balcony with fantastic views. This property has faithfully maintained its very high standards. You can literally walk out the door, and start up the hiking trails. They've marked several good trails, and we so appreciate that! Within walking distance of high-camp, right down the road from horseback riding, a short ride into Tahoe City. Rent videos from the front desk, and participate in as many or as few activities as you wish...no pressure. Small laundry area, as clean as the units. This is a GREAT property! Update following our 10/02 stay: Another fantastic experience, and the truth is: we've now purchased 2 weeks at this resort. The property is consistently maintained, we enjoy the staff and the gorgeous location, so now we know we will be able to get in when we want; and won't be hindered by the 1/4 rule. I would highly recommend this property for a quiet, laid-back (with easy access to activity)experience.

Olympic Village Inn at Squaw Valley
1909 Chamonix Place
Olympic Valley, California, 96146
(530) 581-6000

Olympic Village Inn - Updated

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by txtraveler on January 26, 2003

Best Things Nearby:
Lake Tahoe! Hiking outside of your back door! The combination of nature up close and convenience of great restaurants, shopping, and historical sites very nearby. Our favorite destination!

Best Things About the Resort:
The coziness of the unit! The location, the staff. We've come to enjoy it so much that we purchased two weeks after our last stay! This will ensure that we can return each year! The upkeep of the property, and the consistency of the staff, makes for a high-quality property, visit after visit!

Resort Experience:
If you're looking for a high-energy, activity-filled resort, this isn't it...at least, at the times we like to go - before Memorial Day and after Labor Day, but before snow season. In other words, we prefer the "off-season." Don't get me wrong - the Activities Directors are top-notch - they will guide you through hikes, on your own or accompanied; and there are bikes, and ping-pong tables for free. But most of the activities are offered to you, and then you aren't pressured to "join!"

We enjoy the gas grills and outdoor eating tables for daytime and nightime eating. Each unit has its' own balcony with chairs and small table, so snacking and early morning coffee can be enjoyed outside with privacy.

We had a couple gorgeous (chilly, sunny) days in late September, early October 2002, and enjoyed lazing around on the hammocks and lawn chairs by the brook that runs through the property. Big, loud blue jays abound, rustling leaves and cool breezes refresh, and quiet, quiet, quiet allow us the chance to recharge each time at this fantastic resort! And, for those of us who never get to watch movies at home, you can rent movies for $2 to watch in your room! The week ALWAYS goes by too fast here.

Olympic Village Inn at Squaw Valley
1909 Chamonix Place
Olympic Valley, California, 96146
(530) 581-6000

Lanza's

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by txtraveler on July 12, 2002

Lanza's is within walking distance of both EdgeLake Beach Club, and Red Wolf Lakeside Lodge...a run across the street...which made it very attractive to us. Another example of asking a local where THEY like to eat, and getting a great recommendation. Great Italian food, service is not polished, but think the place has been there so long, and they are so popular with locals, that they don't have to try? The food is fantastic, though, so we've returned there...huge portions, so that takes care of lunch the next day! Reasonable wine list, great selection of pizza and Italian food. Casual, casual, casual. Good value.
Lanza's
7739 North Lake Blvd
Lake Tahoe, California
(530) 546-2434

Lakehouse Pizza

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by txtraveler on July 12, 2002

*UPDATE 10/2005* This burned to the ground in 2004! We pulled into the drive on our last trip, to relive great memories and for some great food - and it was surreal! The entire building had burned to the ground. Locals say no plans to build on this pricey lakefront spot. I literally cried! Fantastic pizza! Eat inside with locals, outside on the deck - heated in the winter - RIGHT ON THE LAKE, with tourists and locals..or take it back to the condo! This is truly great pizza, reasonably priced, with a wonderful, laid-back lake atmosphere thrown in for free. Ice cold beer, hot pizza, heated deck on Lake Tahoe...it doesn't get any better than this! Fantastic view...great breeze when it's warm, and great heaters when it's cold! And the food is very good!
Lakehouse Pizza
120 Grove Street (On the lake)
Tahoe City, California, 96145
(530) 583-2222

The BridgeTender Tavern

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by txtraveler on July 12, 2002

If the weather is nice, ask to sit on the patio, which overlooks the water flowing under Fanny Bridge - they call it that because everyone leans over to throw fish food to the huge fish and seagulls! Great burgers, fish and chips, and beer. Laid-back, friendly, but attentive service. Good value, big portions. There is a huge tree growing in the center of the restaurant, which they built around. This used to be the building where the BridgeTender worked and lived. We go here every time we go to Lake Tahoe! Fantastic, fun place! Update following 10/02 visit: They've moved across the street, food remains wonderful! Young, local crowd in the bar on Friday night - very crowded...but smoke-free! I love California! Enjoy the blue cheese/bacon burger with a local beer! YUM! Here are some links which will tell the story of why they moved! htmhttp://www.tahoesbest.com/Restaurants/bridgetendermenu.htm http://www.placer.ca.gov/biznews/bridgetender.htm
Bridgetender Tavern and Grill
65 West Lake Blvd
Tahoe City, California, 96145
+1 530 583 3342

Mandarin Village

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by txtraveler on July 12, 2002

+UPDATE 10/2005* This burned to the ground in 2004. We pulled into the drive, and the whole building was gone. This is above Lakehouse Pizza - also a loss! I literally cried - lots of great memories and super food there - now gone! Another example of asking a local where to eat, and it paying off! This little Chinese restaurant sits atop LakeHouse Pizza, and you wouldn't know it was there. Views of the Lake from all the tables, friendly attentive service, and a very laid-back relaxing dining experience. The best Won Ton soup I've ever had. This isn't your ordinary soup - served family style - we've gone back three times over the recent years. The entrees are plentiful, and they are happy to pack up your leftovers - you will have them - to take back to the condo. Excellent food, not fancy, but you will truly enjoy! Update following 10/02 trip: We ate a late lunch there this time, and the food and service were still fantastic! The food is just too good to believe! We shared with our server (one of the owners, I believe) that we return to her restaurant each time we are at Lake Tahoe, and she was pleased. When we received our bill, we pointed out that she had under-charged us by one plum wine. She said she knew that; it was a gift. We Love this place!
Mandarin Village
120 Grove Street (above Lakehouse Pizzeria)
Lake Tahoe, California
(530) 583-1188

Original Old Post Office

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by txtraveler on July 12, 2002

This restaurant is in the OLD POST OFFICE! Full of locals...to die for breakfasts, soups, and sandwiches...and salads! Unhurried service, good value...clean restrooms...just a fun place to get a BIG bite to eat! Update 1/2003 - When we were at Lake Tahoe last fall, this place is still "kickin'!" The crowds continue, the quality is there, and it is just a great locals kind of place. Give it a try!
Original Old Post Office
5245 N. Lake Blvd
Lake Tahoe, California
(530) 546-3205

Jason's

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by txtraveler on July 13, 2002

Jason's was an unexpected surprise. We stopped to eat there at about 3:00 pm, and even at an off hour, the service was fantastic! We had some of THE best burgers ever: Blue Cheese and Alpine Burgers, with super fries! Ice cold beer, fat burgers, laid-back relaxing booths, and friendly service! This is a GREAT choice for casual dining. We returned again last year, in cooler weather, and they had their firepit going, which has a seating area around it in the corner of the restaurant. Next time, we'll go there to have a drink and sit by the fire, too. Highly recommend both for luncheon fare, and a good, hearty dinner. Two out of Two visits - A plus.
Jason's
King's Beach
Lake Tahoe, California
(530) 546-3315

Hacienda del Lago

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by txtraveler on January 26, 2003

Coming from Houston, TX, eating Mexican food while at Lake Tahoe may seem strange! We had read the recommendation by another RCI Community Member, though, and decided to give it a try! We went late afternoon, and got a wonderful table by a window with a fantastic view of the lake. Their salsa was good, though different than what we're accustomed to. It was great to try the local flavor of Mexican food.

The portions were huge and reasonably priced. Took my leftover burrito home, and we ate lunch for two the next day. Fresh food, clean and comfortable environment, great view, and very friendly servers. The margaritas could find their way into a Texans' heart, too!

We travel to Lake Tahoe at least once a year, and have never been here before, but will definitely go again!

Hacienda del Lago
760 N. Lake Blvd
Lake Tahoe, California
(530) 583-0358

King's Beach Area

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by txtraveler on July 12, 2002

This is a great "hold hands and walk along" kind of place. Little shops with everything from weaving to t-shirts to carvings. Coffee shops and ice cream parlors along the way for snacking. Quiet, small town feel, on a busy road....great couple of hour activity!
King's Beach Area
King's Beach On Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe, California

Eagles Lake

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by txtraveler on July 12, 2002

Look at the map at the bottom of the trail. Use the facilities at the beginning of the trail - that's it. This is a relatively difficult in some places, very easy in others type of hike - thus the intermediate rating. Take it slow, though, you're not in a hurry....and enjoy the walk. We spent over 6 hours on one of the hikes. When you start running into folks with tents on their back, you know it's probably time for YOU to turn back...time really gets away from you in that beautiful setting. Highly recommended.
Eagle Lake Hike
Highway 89 at Emerald Bay
South Lake Tahoe, California, 96143
N/A

Snowmobiling at Lake Tahoe

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by txtraveler on July 13, 2002

We spent a long weekend in Lake Tahoe in February. Went snow-mobiling for the first time! Found a reputable company (can't remember their name), but recommended by the Hyatt Regency, where we were staying. We took a 2.5 hour tour after a fresh snow....lots of snow! Once we got the hang of how the machines worked, it was a blast! And, what a workout! The best thing is that we could go places that cars and feet wouldn't take us. Fantastic photos! Breathtaking views! Well worth the money!
Snowmobile Treks at Lake Tahoe
9980 North Lake Blvd
Crystal Bay, California, 96151
+1 530 546 4280 Nort

Taylor Creek and the Salmon Run

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by txtraveler on July 13, 2002

What a treat! Taylor Creek is where the Kokanee salmon come to spawn, their lives begin and end at this place. There is a bridge for viewing, with educational placards, a beautiful walking trail, an exhibit that is TOP NOTCH that talks about the SEASONAL LIFE OF THAT CREEK -- learned a lot about salmon! The neatest thing is that you can literally walk right up to the edge of the water next to the salmon when you go back on the walking trail. The most up close and personal experience! Kids and adults alike were visibly amazed. You MUST do this if you are in the Lake Tahoe area.
Taylor Creek and the Salmon Run
On main road
Lake Tahoe, California, 96150

Emerald Bay & Vikingsholm

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by txtraveler on July 13, 2002

Emerald Bay has been photographed millions of time, I'm sure, and we've contributed a lot to that! You just don't tire of standing and looking at the blue water! Walk the trail to the bottom - and see Vikingsholm - warning, it is closed after Labor Day, this is an asphalt wide trail, and is highly traveled. Not at all treacherous, but about a mile. Going back up is more difficult than going down. Even if you decide not not venture down to see the beautiful mansion, you can learn about the area through the placards at the observation area. There are "restrooms" at this stop, and parking can look like it will be a problem, but the in-and-out traffic has always allowed a space to open up right as we pull in! Truly a beautiful back drop for any special photos of your traveling companions, or of the scenery itself. There is quite a comraderie among visitors to this spot, and folks have always been willing to trade off and take pictures of other couples. Enjoy this gorgeous, scenic spot!
Vikingsholm Castle
Highway 89
South Lake Tahoe, California, 96143
+1 530 525 7277

Sugar Pine Point State Park

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by txtraveler on July 12, 2002

We spend hours here each time we go to Lake Tahoe! We pack a picnic and eat out on the pier over the Lake. The mountain views are fantastic, and the grounds are well-maintained. Great walking trails, HUGE pine cones, quiet, quiet place to really enjoy the scenery. UPDATE from Oct, 2002 trip: This park is under renovation, and we weren't able to access this time. The signage indicated that it will be closed until August, 2003! :( We'll be back when it reopens! Still one of our favorite quiet places at Lake Tahoe!
Sugar Pine Point State Recreation Area
Highway 89 at Pine Street
West Lake Tahoe, California, 96145
+1 530 525 7232

Hiking around Lake Tahoe

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by txtraveler on July 13, 2002

We''ve enjoyed wildflowers in their spring, snow in their spring, fall, and winter, and never tire of the views around the Lake and in the mountains.

1/23/2003 update: As many times as we''ve traveled, hiked, and chatted about this area of the country, we ALWAYS find something new... a new trail, a flower we''ve not seen before, a new bird. The silence is what draws us back again and again -- such a reprieve from our normal hectic lives, a chance to recharge, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Hiking!
Various Locations
Lake Tahoe, California

High Camp

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by txtraveler on July 13, 2002

Watch out for the snow-boarders if you're hiking! Great exhibit of the Olympics inside the building, restrooms, eating places. Pool, skating rink, walking areas. Make a day of it! The ticket price is steep for just the ride, so plan to spend hours there, and you will definitely feel as though you've gotten your money's worth! Take your camera. The view is different than from anywhere else!
High Camp
Squaw Valley
Lake Tahoe, California

The Beach at Tallac Historic Site

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by txtraveler on January 26, 2003

This was an absolutely delightful find! We've been to Taylor Creek for the salmon numerous times, but hadn't ventured behind the facility to find this gorgeous beach! Apparently, others don't know it's there either as we were there for about two hours and saw only one other person! Next time, we'll take a picnic lunch!

We found a fallen tree with a petrified shell inside the root, wonderful wildflowers, great pebbles and rocks, and the best part was the silence of the breeze as it moved across the lake and onto the beach. Marshy areas are restricted as they back up to the salmon areas and are protected for wildlife. The beach is immaculate and is bordered by woodland areas which back up to the Tallac Historic Site (see other journals)...a wonderful day! Good weather or bad, you'll enjoy this deserted gem!

Pope Estate and Tallac Historic Site
Highway 89
South Lake Tahoe, California, 95705
+1 530 541 5227

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