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Lake Tahoe serves as an enticement to tourists with its beautiful deep blue color which sparkles at all seasons of the year.
It lies in the range of the grand Sierra Nevada Mountain between the States of California and Nevada, an iconic destination in North America. This is a very suitable spot for you if you are a fan of the beach or snow skiing.
Another attraction offered by this Lake is the various lively casinos where you could go and have fun. The spot receives countless visits from tourists every season of the year. So, you can savor array of experiences.
The region where Lake Tahoe is situated also functions as other parts of America with the summer and winter seasons. Nevertheless, you could still visit the lake at any point you wish to get there, regardless of the season.
However, you would not want to visit Lake Tahoe in the winter season when you are a summer lover and can’t wait to have the excitement the beach offers.
On the other hand as a winter adventurer, the summer season wouldn’t be a perfect one for your ice skis as the area will be all melted. Hence, the season should be of great consideration too when making your choice of a visit.
Weather in Lake Tahoe
There is a great variation in the average temperatures at Lake Tahoe.
The atmosphere has a cold temperature in view of humidity at almost all periods of the year. The chance of having rainfall in a year is too low and in comparison to other tourist locations around the world, Lake Tahoe is less temperate than some.
The period at Lake Tahoe you can come and find the summer at its hottest is in June, July and August. Around the end of June, the atmospheric temperature starts dropping gradually thereby leaving August in a warm state at about 44.7°F (7.1°C) in the night.
Precipitation (Rain or Snow)
Precipitation refers to the period when you can find the atmosphere in colder periods. The period in Lake Tahoe with very low chances of seeing rainfall or snow is mid-June.
That is when the weather is still very hot and dry. However, the rain and snow return in the early period of December. Then, you are sure of getting significant precipitation from the week where 3rd day of December falls.
Humidity and Wind
In Lake Tahoe, there are some months when the weather is humid and comfortable or otherwise, dry. August has the slightest humidity at about 28.1% relative humidity level, while January has the highest humidity at about 53%.
One special feature in the area is the calmness of the wind which gradually increases from the beginning of the year till December when it is windiest.
In March, the wind is quite average and has a speed of about 5.4 knots (6.2 MPH or 9.9 KPH). You could call this “a gentle breeze.” However, in the late period of March, the wind is at its greatest and climbs up to 14.1 that you could call a temperate breeze.
Winter Snow and Sunshine
Surprisingly, daytimes in the winter are mild and the weather hangs about the low 40s. However, the temperatures fall to the 20s in the evenings thereby making the atmosphere really cold. In this season also, you can expect to have abundant snow.
This continues till about the spring period when temperatures begin climbing to high 40s and steadily advance into the low 60s. This causes a decrease in the production of snow by April as it gradually climbs into the summer period and July when the environment is heated.
In November, the snow is back once more and covers the region totally and which is around 50 inches in some cases. This is the period when you find the wind very cold and chilly and of course, you will need your coats, boots, and jackets.
Seasonal Crowds and Rates
In the winter, you will find many snowboarders and skiers in Tahoe savoring the comfort of the season. Due to this, there is an increase in the normal rates, one pays at the hotel. Hence, you have to make your reservations early enough.
The Christmas periods, New Year and the weeks surrounding them often experience such increase too and you wouldn’t want to be caught unawares.
However, there is an increase in both the hotel rates and the crowd during the spring period around March. The increase occurs again in summer as tourists overrun the place in their numbers. To avoid paying at the increased prices of those periods, you should book several months before your arrival date.
Lake Tahoe’s Location and City’s Layout
Before coming to Lake Tahoe, it would be necessary for you to check out the area you prefer to stay in. This is due to the landmass of Tahoe. It is relatively large and has various areas. In the southern part lies Tahoe city, large hotels, and several casinos.
If you want the peace of Tahoe, the north is the most suitable for you with its quiet small resorts, picturesque towns like Kings Beach and other vacation rentals.
On the other hand, the western region serves as the most suitable place for camping as there are various sites there. The east still remains slightly developed but still accessible to tourists.
You would surely have to lease a car to tour the Lake Tahoe’s region because there is a limited supply of public means of transportation. Still, the summer period often leaves the lake’s 72-mile road crowded with traffic.
While in the winter period, you will experience difficulty in driving due to the snow, poor visibility and ice-covered motorway. However, you could use the service of the ski to shuttle between the towns and resorts.
Best Time To Visit Lake Tahoe for Seasonal Activities
In the winter at Tahoe, the most common activities are snowboarding and skiing. This is the obvious “best time to visit Lake Tahoe” (more on this idea later…).
One of the sites where you can partake in snowboarding is at Squaw Valley Resort which is just 15-minute away from the North Shore.
Another site for this is the Heavenly Ski Resort, which is the only area you can go skiing in the entire South of Lake Tahoe. Aside from these, you could also engage yourself in other winter adventures like sledding, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.
Hiking is also an activity done at Lake Tahoe but not in the winter. Instead, the spring is wonderful for hiking as the atmosphere is cool with mountain flowers blooming everywhere. There are various trails dotted all over the West Shore, South Shore, and East Shore, and North Shore regions… wherever you find yourself.
Nevertheless, you should keep yourself guarded still as the weather could quickly alter itself. Hence, you should never forget to stuff yourself with cloth layers, water cans, and durable boots to aid your hiking.
In the summer, you will find many tourists either renting a pedal boat or kayak to ride on the lake. Some activities you could engage in this period include tubing and river rafting on the Truckee River.
You would find yourself nearly alone at the golf course or on the slopes in the fall when the Lake is empty. However, the path along the lakeside is suitable for a quiet bike ride in the crisp of the autumn weather.
Lake Tahoe’s Busiest Tourist season and off-season
In June, Lake Tahoe is most busy and you will find the hotel or flight price at exorbitant rates. This continues with the month of July and August till November when the prices are now cheap.
To avoid this, you will have to make reservations beforehand or visit in the inexpensive months of the year.
What you benefit from visiting Lake Tahoe during the Off-Season
In the winter, you could enjoy have several experiences like the multiple ski resorts surrounding the basin, family activities, and events in the snow, stunning snowy mountain views. The summer seasons also offer countless outdoor activities, warm beaches (like Sand Harbor), and water sports.
This is the reason several visitors or tourists see these two seasons as the only seasons you could take a break at Lake Tahoe. But do you have an idea that you could have a gorgeous vacation at Lake Tahoe in the autumn and spring seasons likewise?
A little known secret:
Tourists can equally enjoy many benefits in Lake Tahoe during the off-season months.
Various holiday rental firms and hotels normally cut the rates they charge customers during the fall and spring periods.
Several properties also cut their rates around the 1st week of April to about the middle weeks in June. This occurs once more in the fall beginning from Labor Day till about the middle week of December. This way, you could have an interesting eleventh-hour family weekend escapade, or go along with some friends for a spontaneous trip to the Alps!
You will find warmer and sunny days in the spring months when the severe snow storms subside. Still, there will be some light rainfall and flurries of snow but most of all, you are sure of the mildness of the weather.
When the summer ends, the fall or off-season kicks off immediately after Labor Day. This period is a really beneficial one due to the beautiful warm summer weeks that last till the last day of September. Cooler sunny day follows immediately and light rainfalls come in October and November.
Are you a lover of nature? The beauty of Lake Tahoe and its environment is one that will stun you as there is an abundance of aspen trees there. These trees are typical for their remarkable fire colors of bright red, tangerine orange, and yellow which you see in early October.
Furthermore, these are the months when you could engage in numerous outdoor activities like; sightseeing, fishing, boating, kayaking, biking, standup paddle boarding, mountain biking, hiking, etc.
One benefit that the off-season gives is the reduction in the number of people at that moment. You would obviously own the town as the beaches, tourist attractions, restaurants, and outdoor activities will be less crowded with tourists. The number would also be lesser around the middle of the week period when people will be at their jobs.
At this period, you will not want to miss out on the restaurants by the Stateline casinos, sights around Emerald Bay, The Beacon Bar & Grill restaurant, Camp Richardson Resort, the hiking trails near Emerald Bay (and the Emerald Bay State Park), and the Shops at Heavenly Village.
The melting of the heavy pack of snow at Lake Tahoe after the winter gives rise to some remarkable waterfalls around the basin. You can find the most interesting waterfall in the Fallen Leaf Lake and Emerald Bay areas.
The Best Time to Visit Lake Tahoe:
The four seasons consideration:
Spring (March through May)
In spring, Lake Tahoe gradually transits from a skiing zone to a warm beach outpost. This is also the period when tourism gets busier to an extent as the crowd is second largest among all the seasons.
The summer period which runs from July to August come with a lot of outrageous rates that you won’t find in the spring period. Because of the lesser crowds too, you could gently stroll to the beach at 10 am to spend some time.
Due to the elevation of the Tahoe region, the peak months aren’t as hot as some other places. A simple definition of the weather in this season is your inability to go swimming then.
The outdoor activities are also carried out in this season though you can’t go swimming. Nevertheless, you can hang out at the beaches with those golden-colored sands scattered around Lake Tahoe. Hiking would also be a wonderful option since you would not be heating up soon after covering a short distance.
Aside from these above-mentioned activities, you could also engage in several other activities to give you the greatest fun you wish. They include riding on horseback, taking tours with the friendly guides, use the helicopter provided at the Lake to ride around while surveying the beautiful sights from above.
The Historic Downtown Truckee isn’t a place you would want to leave Lake Tahoe without visiting. Other wonderful places are the KidsZone museum and the old jailhouse.
You would happily savor the excitement this season has to offer as the sky will really be your limit. You are not held back by the cold weather or snow you will find in the winter or the extreme heat the summer offers. Hence, you can do almost everything in Lake Tahoe including fishing at the feeder lakes or camping around this serene environment.
Main Spring Events in Lake Tahoe
- Crushing Crossing (April)
- WinterWonderGrass Tahoe (April)
- Snow Golf Tournament (April)
- Earth Day (April)
Summer (June through August)
In the middle of the year, you will find the months relatively warm and having cool temperatures. These periods are quite comfortable to relax as they do not see much precipitation.
However, the summer is the busiest among other seasons if you are out for tourism. Due to this situation, the accommodation and lodging at Lake Tahoe will, of course, be exorbitant and costlier, particularly in the Incline Village area.
Nevertheless, you will enjoy the warmth the environment offers with fresh tracks where you could go hiking and warm beaches you could comfortably spend hours just dozing on. The lakes are not left out as they are available for you to paddle about on.
This is also the season when you will find Lake Tahoe at its most crowded as the number of tourists is at its greatest.
The cost of everything at Lake Tahoe also climbs up in this period so you should consider making early reservations so that your accommodation could cut down cost for you. I would suggest you could make such reservations, three months before your arrival date.
Main Summer Events in Lake Tahoe
- Brews, Jazz & Funk Fest (August)
- America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride (June)
- Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival (July – August)
- Tahoe Brewfest (June
Fall (September through November)
The period between the summer and winter is known as the fall. It is also a wonderful time to visit the region. Just as the temperature gradually drops from about the low 70s to the high 40s, likewise do the prices at Lake Tahoe drop too. As kids return back to their schools, you will notice a significant slump in the number of tourists.
Though the winds will begin biting, you will be free from the hustle and bustle with the crowd of tourists you experienced in the winter periods. You will also find little or no snow in the region in this season and rain will be quite. This is the period when tourism is very slow and the prices of accommodation are really affordable.
However, you will find in late September, some significant trailblazing which will last for only a few days. Also, the ski season (and winter sports) begins in late November and you could be there to get a jump before the ski resort crowd hits.
The lake is not left out too as it is normally warm in August and September but begins to get cooler in October.
Since the weather is not too warm or cold around this period of the year, Lake Tahoe will be suitable for a romantic or family vacation. Hence, you and your family or partner can enjoy the various outdoor activities the region has to offer.
In the southern part of Taylor Creek, there are lots of kokanee salmon for you to discover spawning the area. You would normally find them leaving the region and heading upstream to the creek area where they are all about in their numbers.
Lake Tahoe has 63 tributaries of which Taylor Creek is one of them, lying in the southern area. It is also the site where you can find more than 90 percent of the kokanee salmon in the Lake Tahoe. If you are around this region at the moment, you should try to not miss it as it is a very impressive sight for a tourist.
You wouldn’t also want to miss out on the beautiful colors Lake Tahoe takes in this season as the fall colors gradually begin blooming. The landscape close to the Alpine forests gradually beginning taking shades of yellows, oranges and deep auburn that intensely contrast them with their classic shades.
If you want to get a full view of this scene in this season, you have to make your way to Hope Valley, which also lies in the South of Lake Tahoe.
Do you enjoy Mountain Biking? If yes, then the fall is perfect for you as there are several trails scattered all over the lake area. In the North of Lake Tahoe there lies the Northstar resort with its mountain bike park. This is a good spot for you to stop over and take a break from your riding if you feel tired along the way. At this moment, mountain biking is just perfect as the weather is not too cold or hot.
- Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival (September)
- Genoa Candy Dance (September)
- Sample the Sierra (September)
- Camp Richardson’s Annual Oktoberfest (October)
- Lake Tahoe Fall Fish Festival (October)
Winter (December through February)
The winter season is no holiday season for tourists who prefer warm weather. The atmosphere is far too cold and the average high is between 49°F (9.4°C) and 42.3°F (5.7°C). This is another season when tourism is slow as rainfall and snow is of a fair amount: This could be only 6 times at most in a month.
Nevertheless, the snowy winter at Lake Tahoe isn’t completely bad so you could still come out to enjoy the activities the spot offers. This is mostly the holiday period for students so you shouldn’t expect to enjoy the scene alone. Prices will still rise at Lake Tahoe during this period and you can avoid that by making your reservations several months before your arrival.
- SnowGlobe Music Festival (December)
The Best Time to Visit South Lake Tahoe and North Lake Tahoe
The best time to visit North Lake Tahoe is in the Winter season. North Lake Tahoe offers several winter activities that are more appealing than the South’s. You will also find lots of slopes that are perfect for several winter activities.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that the North offers its activities only in the winter season. In the spring and summer periods, you can as well visit the Donner State Park just close by or take a tour around the entire Downtown Truckee.
Still, the North of Lake Tahoe can’t match the South when it comes to the summer. There are tons of beaches lined with golden-colored sands that are perfect for you to lie on while getting sun-bathed.
There is a bike rental shop in South Lake Tahoe where you could lease a bike to ride around the lake or if the bike is not a good idea, a stroll could also suffice. Aside from these, South Lake Tahoe is also open to some other activities like fishing, picnicking and camping.
This is the reason Lake Tahoe stands as a perfect place for a summer holiday. Anytime you arrive at the Lake, you are sure to find an activity to satisfy your quest despite the season of arrival.
When spending some time at a pensive cabin just beside the Lake or in a splendid mansion with magnificent panoramic sights, there is a feeling you get that could enhance the enticement and enjoyment you get on your trip.
Best Time to Visit South Lake Tahoe – Weather Consideration
The southern part of Lake Tahoe is just so attractive and has several outdoor activities, there is something special you can get when you arrive despite the season. In the summer season, Lake Tahoe is at its busiest due to the holiday breaks schools had embarked on and it is the period when you can find several attractions accessible.
The second busiest season is the winter due to the coldness of the weather and the snow-covered ground which is perfect for snowboarding and skiing. The spring which is also the third busiest is also a good period to visit the Lake as the environment begins to get gradually warm up.
Plants and flowers begin to grow and bloom. Everywhere start to shine again and look beautiful. The least busy season is surely the fall. Children must have returned to school and there is some foliage surrounding the lake which makes it look fabulous.
In early September, you will find the first autumn snowfall arriving and that is the earliest time it can arrive. However, snow could also arrive very late in the month of November. In June, the snow falls its last till the September or November period again. In the resort city, you would find no snow in the months of July and August.
Immediately after Labor Day when the summer season just concludes, the fall off-season starts and it is the best time for Tourists. The region is generally warm and beautiful through September and finally experience some light rainfall in October and November.
The months of June, July and August are the hottest months at Lake Tahoe with July being the hottest and June being the least hot. The region is relatively warm and is perfect for beach time and swimming.
Best Lake Tahoe Hiking Trails
Although this list isn’t exhaustive, some of our readers have asked for a good list of hiking trails to check out. Our working list is:
- Donner Lake trails (various)
- Eagle Rock Trails
- Bayview Trails
- Cascade Falls Trails
- Flume Trail
- Rubicon Trail
- Tahoe Rim Trail
- DL Bliss State Park trails (various
Conclusion: When to Visit Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is a wonderful place for you to visit either alone, with your partner or even the entire family. In this article, you have seen the various periods when you can make your way to the Lake to enjoy the multiple activities the Lake offers to you.
As you can see above, the periods between March and May and September and November are the best periods to visit Lake Tahoe.
Besides these periods, you can still visit the lake at other periods of the year as it is open to tourists and visitors every day. You would not want to miss out on the warm weather when you have the shores scattered with sun-drenched individuals and oversized umbrellas.
In the fall season, the tourism rate declines but as the temperature keeps reducing, you will find visitors returning to make full use of the snow for their skis. However, you should not forget that when you travel in March or November, you would meet rates at only a bit of the full price.