Lake Tahoe Fall Guide: The ULTIMATE LIST of Things To Do 🍂
Updated: Oct 30, 2021
When thinking of fall destinations, Lake Tahoe may not be the first place that comes to mind, as it's more well-known for its summer and winter activities. But Lake Tahoe is actually a fantastic place to enjoy the fall season! From the crisp temperatures to the spectacular fall foliage to the festive activities- there are tons of autumn vibes going on. Here are 10 of the best things to do in Lake Tahoe in the fall. 🍂
Please enjoy Lake Tahoe responsibly by practicing the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace.
1. Taylor Creek
Taylor Creek Visitor Center in South Lake Tahoe is a great spot to enjoy fall colors in Lake Tahoe. And that's because this area has tons of aspen trees that turn bright orange and yellow come autumn.
Two popular trails in Taylor Creek are the aspen-lined Rainbow Trail and the Lake of the Sky Trail, which has views of Mt Tallac and leads down to Kiva Beach. Taylor Creek is also home to the annual Kokanee Salmon Run. During this time, black bears are often seen feasting on salmon at the creek.
The best time to see fall colors around Taylor Creek is mid-October.
2. North Canyon Road
North Canyon Road in Spooner Lake State Park is hands down my absolute favorite spot in all of Tahoe to see fall colors. The aspen-lined path is just sooo photogenic from every single angle. To reach this spot, it's just a short hike from the Spooner Lake State Park parking lot. Hike for about a mile, and you'll be in fall heaven.
The best time to visit North Canyon Road is mid to late October. The images above were taken on October 20th, 2021.
For more on North Canyon Road check out the video:
3. Apple Hill
About an hour's drive from Lake Tahoe, near the Sierra foothill town of Placerville, is Apple Hill. Apple Hill is a community made up of roughly 50 locally-owned farms, and it's a fun, festive place to visit during the fall season.
If you love apple picking, pumpkin patches, and warm baked goods, then Apple Hill is where you want to go. Don't forget to stop by Rainbow Orchards for their legendary hot apple cider donuts!
The best time to visit Apple Hill is September through October, preferably on a weekday, because this place gets crazy crowded on the weekends.
4. Take A Fall Drive
Who doesn't love a scenic autumn drive? HWY 89, a.k.a Emerald Bay Road, is the perfect road for just that. Around the Taylor Creek area and on the way to Emerald Bay, there are pockets of brilliant yellow and orange aspens on both sides of HWY 89. Speaking of which, Emerald Bay is also a great spot to see fall colors. I have noticed that the leaves change a bit later in the season at Emerald Bay, usually around the end of October or early November.
5. Hope Valley
Located about 30 minutes from South Lake Tahoe, Hope Valley is a top location to see fall foliage. The old cabin off HWY 88 (1st image) is perhaps one of the most popular photography spots in Hope Valley in the fall.
During your visit, be sure to check out the Wylder Hotel. While sections of the hotel are for guests only, the hotel is very nice about letting people walk the grounds and take photos. There's also a restaurant, an outdoor bar, and live music on the weekends. If your looking for a cozy romantic fall getaway, this charming hotel is a great option.
6. Brewery Hop
Anytime is a great time for a cold crisp beer, and autumn is no exception. There's no shortage of breweries in Lake Tahoe, and many of them offer live music and outdoor seating with firepits, making for a fun, cozy scene. A few of my favorite breweries in South Lake Tahoe are Lake Tahoe AleWorX, South of North Brewing Company, and South Lake Tahoe Brewing Company.
7. Go for a hike
There isn't a bad time of year to go for a hike in Lake Tahoe, and each season has its advantages. In the fall, the temperatures are pretty mild, and on some afternoons, it's even warm enough to wear a tank top! Just make sure to dress in layers because mornings in Tahoe are usually cold! If you need a few hiking trail recommendations in Lake Tahoe, then check out my Lake Tahoe hiking guide or watch the video below.
One might assume that summer is the time for watersports in Lake Tahoe, and it is! However, fall is still a great time to go kayaking or paddleboarding in Tahoe. Not only is it still relatively warm out, but the lake is also free of boats, creating calm conditions that are ideal for kayaking and paddleboarding.
Many of the tour companies are open through October as well. I highly recommend doing a tour with transparent kayak company Clearly Tahoe. They launch from multiple locations on the lake, but my favorite tour of theirs is the Bonsai Rock Tour, which takes you along the east shore.
9. Mountain Biking
If I had to recommend one bike trail in Lake Tahoe, it would be the incredibly scenic Flume Trail. The 14-mile trail starts at North Caynon Road in Spooner Lake State Park (mentioned earlier in this post) and takes you past Marlette Lake and then high above Incline Village. From here, the views of Lake Tahoe are mind-blowing. The trail ends at Tunnel Creek Cafe where you can grab a coffee, some lunch, or a beer after your ride. Flume Trail Bikes in Incline Village offers bike rentals and a shuttle that drops you off