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Best Kayak Rentals and Tours in CA - South Lake Tahoe

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About Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is a huge freshwater and cobalt blue lake nestled into the majestic mountain range of the Sierra Nevada. Bordered by California and with Nevada, Lake Tahoe attracts visitors, explorers, and adventurers from around the world to its shores. The Tahoe area offers a plethora of outdoor activities in both winter and summer seasons. One of the most popular vacation spots in California, Lake Tahoe it is an outdoor adventure paradise with activities ranging from skiing to kayaking to rock climbing and hiking.

What makes Lake Tahoe Unique

With its crystal clear water and deep cobalt blue color, Lake Tahoe is one of the world’s purest lakes with 99.994% pure water. It is also the largest, and second deepest alpine lake in North America, and contains around 39 trillion gallons of water. It is so deep that it could submerge the entire Empire State Building! 

Lake Tahoe is located ⅔ in California and ⅓ in Nevada. It is 2 million years old and is known to be counted among the 20 oldest lakes in the world. It is surrounded by many notable peaks, Freel Peak is the highest peak (10,881 ft.) and Mount Tallac (9,735) being the lowest. Hiking, biking, paddle sports, rock climbing, skiing, and snowboarding are some of the popular outdoor activities in the Tahoe area. Summer season promises hikes in the foothills, paddle boarding, and bike trails while winter season is famous for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. 

All of your outdoor adventures can be booked easily on TripOutside. From kayak rentals to ski and snowboard gear, easily book it all online.

Where to Kayak on Lake Tahoe

You will have a plethora of places to launch your kayak on Lake Tahoe on various sections of the Lake Tahoe Water Trail. From the North Shore to Sand Harbor to Cave Rock, you will find fantastic opportunities for kayaking across the entire lake. 

The North Shore is located between Tahoe City and Kings Beach and is popular for its many shops and restaurants. There are several public launch and landing sites for kayaking and paddleboarding.  

Sand Harbor is one of the most famous launch points in the Tahoe Basin with many sandy beaches around. 

The Cave Rock area is tucked along a rugged shoreline and offers a convenient spot for swimming, sunbathing, and kayaking or canoeing.

Emerald Bay has the only island on Lake Tahoe – Fannette Island. It is one of the most photographed locations on earth, which makes it a fantastic place to paddle.

Other Summer Lake Tahoe Activities

Paddleboarding is another great way to enjoy the crystal clear Lake Tahoe in the summer. Since you will have a higher viewpoint from a paddleboard, you will have a clear view deep down into the clear water. This is by far one of the most amazing ways to explore the beautiful lake and the mountain scenery surrounding it.

Mountain biking in Lake Tahoe offers many mountain biking trails- Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Sawtooth Trail, Corral Trail, Christmas Valley Trail, Armstrong Pass Trails, Tahoe Rim Trail, to name a few. One can find many spectacular rides around Lake Tahoe. Find a bike shop on TripOutside for bike rentals!

Hiking is another popular activity in Tahoe. Lake Tahoe has a range of hikes with varying lengths and levels—from easy to difficult levels, there really is something for everyone. Some of the popular hiking trails are Rubicon Peak Trail (3.5 miles), Vikingsholm Trail (1.7 miles), Tahoe Meadows Interpretive Loop (1.3 miles), Tahoe Rim Trail, Flume Trail, and Spooner Lake Loop Trail.

Lake Tahoe Elevation

Lake Tahoe sits at an elevation of 6,224 ft. Some of the surrounding ski resorts have peak elevations of over 9,000 feet. Heavenly Mountain Resort’s peak is 10,067 feet and Squaw Valley’s peak is 9,050 feet.

How to Get to Lake Tahoe

North Lake Tahoe is primarily located in California and South Lake Tahoe is located in Nevada.

Reno-Tahoe International Airport is the nearest commercial airport and is about 45 minutes’ drive from Lake Tahoe. One can easily rent a car or take a shuttle from the airport. Shuttles operate on a regular basis and can drop you at the location of your choice in the Tahoe region. However, making a reservation in advance is recommended.

Sacramento International Airport and San Francisco airports are 2 and 3.5 hours drive respectively. Travelers from the Bay area can also opt to take a direct flight to the Reno-Tahoe International Airport.

The nearest airport to South Lake Tahoe is the Reno-Tahoe international airport, located just 1 hour away. You can find shuttles parked outside the airport. One can also hire a taxi, limo, bus, or car easily.

Best Time to Visit Lake Tahoe

While Lake Tahoe sees an amazing summer season that can sometimes stretch from May to mid-October, the temperature of the lake water can still be in the mid-40s in the spring season. Therefore, late summer or early fall are considered to be the best time for that kayaking Lake Tahoe trip. Spring season is also preferable as the melting snow raises the water level of the Lake, making it ideal for adventurers to go kayaking.