Five Must-See Lake Tahoe Landmarks and Vistas in Tahoe South
Sightseeing adventures await once you step outside The Ridge Tahoe. Whether you’re looking to hike, pedal up trails, or travel by motorcycle, vehicle or tour bus, we’ve narrowed down some of the best Lake Tahoe landmarks and views to see during your stay.
A National Natural Landmark, Emerald Bay is one of Lake Tahoe’s most photographed and popular locations. Emerald Bay is part of the California State Parks system, and it includes Fannette Island, Eagle Falls and Vikingsholm, a 38-room mansion that is considered one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the United States. In 1994 California State Parks included the surrounding water of the bay as a part of the park, making Emerald Bay one of the first underwater parks of its type in the state. It is the resting place for many boats, launches and barges used in the lake before the turn of the century, during the heyday of Emerald Bay Resort and used in the construction of Vikingsholm. Visitors to Emerald Bay State Park enjoy hiking, swimming, kayaking, scuba diving, boating, sightseeing and touring Vikingsholm in the summer months.
A 2.4 mile ride up the Heavenly Mountain Gondola will leave you breathless as you take in panoramic views of Lake Tahoe. On your way up, stop at The Observation Deck – a 14,000 square foot mid-station observation platform, located at 9,123 feet. Take in views of the Carson Valley, Desolation Wilderness and shore-to-shore of Lake Tahoe. The Resort gondola operates seasonally, with access in winter and during the summer months.
Highway 50 goes right through Cave Rock, a huge rock formation that is the neck of an old volcano. The name comes from the small caves on the west side, cut by waves when the lake was 140 feet higher during the ice age. Cave Rock is also a spiritual site of the regions earliest residents, the Washoe Indian Tribe. A small day-use area is tucked beneath the rugged volcanic face of Cave Rock. Facilities include a boat launch ramp and dock, comfort station, picnic sites, and a small sandy beach. Hike to the top for the best overview, it is short but steep with amazing views.
A popular place for weddings with its sweeping backdrop of Lake Tahoe, Logan Shoals Vista Trail is a hidden gem on the Nevada shoreline, just north of Cave Rock on Highway 50. The site provides a panoramic vista across the lake, where you can see the broad u-shaped valleys carved out of glaciers. The main path is paved with informative placards about Tahoe‘s geography and history along the way. The best views, however, are found on the unpaved paths that go just beyond where the paving stops. In particular, there is a gorgeous panoramic view of the whole lake if you walk behind the rocks at the end of the path.
Sand Harbor provides unparalleled opportunities to enjoy Lake Tahoe – including sandy beaches, rocky coves, forested areas and panoramic views. It is arguably one of the most beautiful and easily accessible of the south shore beaches. The sand is soft and the waters are crystal clear. There are multiple little beaches and coves you can explore and set up your towels on the sand. The water is calm for kayak and standup paddle boards, and there are rentals available on site. There’s also a visitor center, parking, bathrooms, and a restaurant/cafe with a shady deck on site.
Do your summer vacation plans include a visit to these five Tahoe spots?