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Five Things To Love About Lake Tahoe

(September 2, 2003)

It's easy to fall in love with Lake Tahoe. Twelve years ago, my husband and I eloped and honeymooned there. Today, we still find it impossible to resist a yearly summer sojourn to the area. This 191-square-mile playground straddling the California-Nevada border is intoxicating in any season and is a true outdoor-lover's paradise. Here are five reasons not to miss Lake Tahoe -- at anytime of year.

1.) Fabulous Skiing -- During the winter Tahoe's fifteen ski resorts offer some of the world's finest downhill skiing, as well as other abundant snowy activities. Heavenly Ski Resort's 4,800 acres offer breathtaking views of the lake and desert. Skiers of all levels can take advantage of Heavenly's beginner to advanced slopes. For those into cross-country skiing, on the eastern shore is Spooner Lake Cross-Country Ski Area. There are lengthy groomed trails weaving through 9,000 acres of meadows with views of Emerald Bay. Kirkwood Mountain Resort also offers excellent downhill and cross-country trails. However, it hosts some unique winter delights including a tubing hill and dog sledding adventure trips.

2.) Happening Hiking -- Great backcountry hiking can be found at Lake Aloha in the southwest area of the lake. You will need a self-issued permit to hike the area; however, this is one walkabout you will not want to miss. Hike three miles and you'll get up close and personal with Lake Aloha. Once there, you'll be able to savor the fantastic views of glacier carved valleys with jagged peaks and lakes.

3.) Far Out Biking -- The Tahoe Rim Trail is an invigorating 150-mile path that crosses the mountains and ridges encircling Lake Tahoe. Mountain biking here is supreme and you don't have to worry about hoards of bikers. If you don't want to do the entire 150-mile trek, bike the most scenic part of the trail from Kingsbury Grade Road to "The Bench" at 8,000 feet. The Bench is a hand-carved log seat, perfect for kicking back and enjoying the view. For the not so adventurous, South Lake Tahoe has excellent bike trails along the shore. Best beginner trail starts at Camp Richardson.

4.) Cool Canoe or Kayaking -- Paddle a kayak or a canoe to Emerald Bay (an inlet of Lake Tahoe), one of the most photographed spots in the world. Not only is the bay beautiful, but it's also home to Fannette Island, the only island in the lake. You can kayak or canoe to island from D.L. Bliss State Park (two miles north of Emerald Bay on Highway 89). This is a true back to nature experience as you paddle along you might be in the company of eagles as they fish for trout. Once you get to the island, enjoy a picnic lunch affording spectacular views of the turquoise blue water and mountains.

5.) Dramatic Theater -- Each summer at Sand Harbor State Park on the northeast side of the lake, great drama unfolds. Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival on the lake hosts evening performances of two Shakespeare plays. Theater buffs spread out a blanket beneath the mountains and under the stars to enjoy these intriguing performances.

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