• Gabriella Viola

Lake Tahoe In The Summer: 10 Adventurous Things To Do

Updated: Apr 13


10 things to do in lake tahoe in the summer

In this post, I'll be listing 10 adventurous things to do in Lake Tahoe in the summer. While it is true that most of the activities mentioned on this list are doable year-round, some of them are more accessible and just more enjoyable during the summer months. All activities listed in this post are things that I have done personally while living in Lake Tahoe.


P.S. If you're visiting Lake Tahoe, please help keep it beautiful by Leaving No Trace.


With that being said, here are 10 Adventurous Things to do in Lake Tahoe in the Summer.

1. Emerald Bay State Park

Emerald Bay State Park in South Lake Tahoe California
Emerald Bay Overlook
Fannette Island at Emerald Bay
Paddling to Fannette Island
Emerald Bay State Park in South Lake Tahoe California
Beach area at the bottom of Emerald Bay

Emerald Bay is one of the most iconic spots in Lake Tahoe and for good reason, as it has some of the most beautiful views of the lake. You can enjoy the views from the Emerald Bay Overlook or you can take the short and easy hike down the Vikingshom trail down to the beach. From here, you can check out the Vikingsholm Castle, hike to Lower Eagle Falls, pick up the Rubicon Trail, or rent a paddleboard and paddle out to Fannette Island.

2. Paddle Boarding and Kayaking

Paddle Boarding on the east shore in Lake Tahoe
Paddle Boarding on the east shore
Paddle Boarding at Secret Cove in Lake Tahoe

Kayaking in Lake Tahoe Nevada

Any time of year is a great time for paddle-boarding and kayaking on Lake Tahoe, and summer is no exception. The best time for paddling is in the morning before the afternoon winds arrive and while there are fewer boats on the lake. It's also a good idea to stick close to the shoreline if you are new to this activity.


My favorite spot for paddle-boarding is the east shore, but other popular areas include Speedboat Beach on the north shore, Cave Rock State Park in South Lake Tahoe, and paddling out to Fannette Island at Emerald Bay.

3. Bonsai Rock

Jumping of Bonsai Rock in Lake Tahoe
Would you jump off Bonsai Rock?
Paddle Boarding at Bonsai Rock
Bonsai Rock is a favorite spot for paddle-boarders and kayakers
Aerial view of Bonsai Rock
Aerial view of Bonsai Rock
Shoreline at Bonsai Rock
Tons of rocks to lounge out on near Bonsai Rock

Bonsai Rock is another iconic spot in Lake Tahoe. One really fun thing that a lot of people like to do in the summertime is to jump off the rock. But if you're not feeling that adventurous, you can just relax on one of the many boulders along the shoreline and watch the paddle-boarders and kayakers go by. Bonsai rock also happens to be one of my favorite spots for drone photography.

4. Sunset Hike

Sunset views from Monkey Rock in Incline Village
Sunset views from Monkey Rock in Incline Village
Gorgeous pink sunset captured from the east shore in Lake Tahoe Nevada
Gorgeous pink sunset captured from the east shore
Pastel sunset along the Flume Trail in Incline Village
Pastel sunset along the Flume Trail in Incline Village
Sunset views from Monkey Rock in Lake Tahoe Nevada
Sunset views from Monkey Rock facing south

I have to say that Tahoe produces some of the most brilliant sunsets that I have ever seen. It must have something to do with that alpenglow. Whether hiking up to a high viewpoint or just taking a short hike down to the water, summer is a great time to get out there and catch a Tahoe sunset.


A good way to tell if the sunset is going to be good is by gaging the clouds throughout the day. I also use an app called "AlpenGlow" which predicts if the sunset is going to be good. It's not always accurate but it helps.


A few of my favorite spots to catch the sunset in Lake Tahoe are Zephyr Cove, Monkey Rock, Emerald Bay, and the east shore.

5. Check out a Waterfall

Glen Alpine waterfall in South Lake Tahoe
Raging falls at Glen Alpine in South Lake Tahoe
Glen Alpine WAterfall in South Lake Tahoe California

Eagle Falls in South Lake Tahoe California
Eagle Falls in South Lake Tahoe

Due to an abundant amount of spring runoff, there are quite a few incredible waterfalls in Lake Tahoe. The best time to visit the waterfalls is in late spring and early summer when they are at their peak. Some of the more well-known waterfalls such as Eagle falls and Glen Alpine falls are easily accessible via a short hike. And of course, there are plenty off the beaten path waterfalls as well.

6. Explore the Surrounding Lakes

Fallen Leaf Lake in South Lake Tahoe
Fallen Leaf Lake in South Lake Tahoe
Fallen Leaf Lake in South Lake Tahoe
Golden hour at Fallen Leaf
Sardine Lake in Tahoe National Forest
Sardine Lake in Tahoe National Forest

There are tons of beautiful snow-fed alpine lakes in the Tahoe area. Some of these lakes are easily accessible via a short hike, while others involve a bit more hiking and possibly a backcountry permit. Fallen Leaf Lake and Eagle Lake are great options if you're looking for something on the more accessible side. Also, if you are up for a short road trip, there are plenty of lakes to explore in Tahoe National Forest.

7. Hang Gliding





If you're afraid of heights you might want to skip this one. The first time I ever came to Tahoe back in August 2015, for whatever reason, I was set on doing the most adventurous thing I could think of (in the Tahoe area). In doing some research, I came across Hang Gliding Tahoe. Don't get me wrong, this is a splurge, but it's an unforgettable experience.


By the way, I am not sponsored or affiliated with Hang Gliding Tahoe in any way, I just really enjoyed doing this and wanted to add it to the list.


If this is something you are interested in doing here's the link.

8. East Shore Beaches

Secret Cove in Lake Tahoe
Taking a dive at Secret Cove
Glassy days on the east shore

The east shore is my favorite side of Lake Tahoe. The turquoise water against the alpine backdrop is a visual stunner. It is also my favorite section of the lake for swimming and just lounging out. Keep in mind that the temperature of the lake never really gets warm even in the summertime, but it is certainly refreshing. A few east shore gems that I can recommend are Hidden Beach, Chimney Beach, and Secret Cove.


9. Sugar Pine State Park




Located on the west shore of Lake Tahoe, Sugar Pine State Park is a historic zone and also home to some of the largest pine trees in the world, known as Sugar Pines. The best part of the park is the old train tracks that disappear into the lake. They are located on the south end of the park (there are several posted maps to help navigate the park). It was somewhat choppy when I last visited, but on a glassy lake day, the train tracks make for a pretty cool photo op.

10. Stateline Fire Lookout




Stateline Fire Lookout in Kings Beach is a short hike that offers stunning views overlooking Crystal Bay and the north shore. The hike gets its name from an old fire lookout tower from the 1930s. There are also several educational plaques with facts about Lake Tahoe and its logging history (if your into that sort of thing). Stateline Fire Lookout also happens to be one of my favorite spots to catch the sunset over Lake Tahoe.

There you have it! 10 adventurous things to do in Lake Tahoe in the summertime. I hope you enjoyed this list and found it helpful! I know I’ve left quite a few activities off the list, so let me know what I missed in the comments!

WATCH THE VIDEO VERSION HERE:

Please enjoy Lake Tahoe responsibly.

Always practice the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace.


You might also enjoy:


Living in Lake Tahoe: Pros and Cons


A Guide to the Most Stunning Photo Locations in Lake Tahoe


6 Easy Hikes with Killer Views of Lake Tahoe



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ABOUT

Gabriella Viola is a photographer and outdoor enthusiast currently living in Lake Tahoe, California. 

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