• Kat Fenton

Travelin' To Tahoe

Cruisin' for a bruisin'


For those of you who don't know, California is ablaze with wild fires right about now. Skies are cloudy with ash and the smell of smoke is inescapable almost everywhere. Even Tahoe was touched as a light haze was present on the horizon at almost all times. Thankfully, it wasn't as thick as most places and I was able to breath easy.


To start out, a friend and I decided to drive out to the lake Friday evening. We both took a half day at work, I picked her up from the bart outside of San Francisco, and we started our drive. Without traffic, it takes about 3.5 hours to get to the north side of Lake Tahoe from San Francisco. It's an easy drive, mostly highway views that turn into a gorgeous forest about 45 minutes from the lake.


AirBnB is my go to for finding a place to stay when I travel as they tend to be cheaper and a bit more private. Our location for this trip was a room at Granlibakken Resort. It was super cute, very homey, and the perfect location in respect to the lake. Arriving at 9pm meant both my friend and I were too exhausted to do much exploring. On Saturday the adventure really began. Beginning with a buffet from the resort, we made our way to the south side of the lake. Emerald Bay and Vikingsholm were first up.


The 2 mile round trip hike down to Emerald Bay and Vikingsholm is really worth it.

Vikingsholm has a unique history of being one of the first homes in the Tahoe area. There's a small castle on the island in the bay as well as the actual mansion further down the trail. We decided to skip it in lieu of a ton of pictures and videos of the lake itself. The water here is extraordinarily clear (and cold).



Afterwards we drove along to the south side of Lake Tahoe. There we grabbed a bite to eat at Cold Water Brewery, I went with a juicy burger and a side of fruit (a girl's gotta pretend like she's trying to be healthy, ya know). Across the parking lot we checked out a vegan cafe, which for lack of a better term, was not up to my standard when it comes to taste. It was cute, but the food and drink was not the most flavorful and the guy behind the counter was so high I'm surprised he was able to take my order.


Tired from hiking and full from food, our next stop was supposed to be a lovely hot spring about an hour north of the lake. I guess the bad food from the vegan cafe should have been a sign to call it a day, but I'm always a sucker for adventure.


Sierra Hot Springs is a lawsuit waiting to happen. While google describes it as a "quirky resort with hot spring pools", a more accurate description would be a "clothing optional, hippie hideout". $25 for a 4 hour soak, no private changing facilities, and a predominately male customer population made for a very uncomfortable experience. This is definitely not a resort. It's located in the middle of a field of cows.


After a hasty exit, my friend and I grabbed a much needed dinner from the nearby town of Truckee. We grabbed a bite to eat from Morgans (super delicious seafood) and hopped over to a local bar to get a feel for the town. I ended up finding a beer that I actually like, Anderson Cream Ale if anyone is wondering. Eventually, we packed it in for the night.


Sunday was mostly meant for last minute sightseeing and gift grabs. Fire sign cafe was our first stop. While we waited for our seat, we stopped in West Shore Market for some souvenirs. For a Sunday morning (roughly 9am) things were packed. The lake was also much more windy and cold than the day before, so we didn't spend much time outside. The cape cod benedict safely tucked away in my stomach, we drove back out to Truckee.


A town filled with cute shops, bustling restaurants, and even a small screen printing facility, I recommend stopping here if you need a break from the outdoors.

The drive back home after that was comparatively uneventful. Well, other than the wall of smoke we encountered as we passed near Sacramento. So here's a quick list of some of the things I would recommend doing if you visit Tahoe.


Drive yourself or carpool with friends - this is the best way to do what you want to do, without being stressed about the time.


Both the North and the South sides of the lake are lovely - the South side has more casinos though and a general party culture vibe.


Emerald Bay & Vikingsholm - a must see hike down to the lake and a historic vista.


Truckee - more of a tourist trap than any place near the lake, Truckee is super cute and worth the 20 minute drive from the lakeside.



I love to hear from my readers, so if you liked this blog post leave a comment. It's always great to hear where other people recommend going when they visit Tahoe too! So please, drop by the comments section. I am always looking for feedback and critique, not just on this post, but all of them.

Kat Fenton | Cincinnati, OH | fentonke@mail.uc.edu

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Kathryn Fenton