As a life-long resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s pretty shocking that I’ve never been to Lake Tahoe over Fourth of July before. I’m glad I finally took the plunge and opted into a friend group trip that involved renting a cabin near the Squaw Valley Ski Resort and partaking in a few extremely fun outdoor activities.
Kayaking on Lake Tahoe
We all got into our cabin Friday night to settle in, meaning that we woke up fresh and ready to go Saturday morning. So fresh, in fact, that I went on a 6-mile morning run with two of my friends to the Squaw Valley Resort. There are biking/walking paths that run alongside most of the major roads in the area, ideal for scenic runs. We re-joined the rest of our group after the run and we made the 30-minute drive from our cabin to our kayak rental shop of choice, Tahoe EcoSports (Enviro-Rents), located on the beach in Kings Beach.
We paid $20 per hour for each of our single kayaks, and launched from the beach directly behind the rental shop. The views were absolutely stunning while were paddling around on the beautiful, clear blue water. We stuck pretty close to the shore and paddled a little over a mile to Speedboat Beach. We pulled our kayaks up on the beach and the more daring members of our group took turns jumping off of the large rocks that surround the cove.
After a little time for shenanigans, we paddled back to the kayak rental area, fueled by our lunchtime hunger. We walked two blocks from Tahoe EcoSports to La Mexicana, a Mexican grocery store with a little restaurant attached. The food there was cheap and delicious. I ordered the fish tacos and it certainly hit the spot after a day of intense paddling.
Hiking at Squaw Valley Ski Resort
We apparently weren’t tired enough from kayaking, because we made a unanimous group decision to go for a sunset hike at Squaw Valley Ski Resort Saturday evening. We ended up hiking up a few different ski slopes in an attempt to get a good view of Squaw Valley for sunset.
My favorite aspect of the hike was trudging through a few patches of snow that were still left on the slopes. Making snow angels and throwing snowballs in shorts and a tank top in July was so fun.
Hiking Mt. Tallac, Desolation Wilderness
As the grand finale of our weekend activities, we decided to take on the hike up Mount Tallac on Sunday. Mount Tallac is the highest point on the mountains that surround Lake Tahoe, at 9,735 feet above sea level. The hike is 9.5 miles roundtrip and is strenuous, with 3,500 feet of elevation gain.
You must fill out a free Desolation Wilderness permit at the trailhead, and from there on out you will be faced with steep, rocky trails and many switchbacks. There are also still patches of snow and ice further up on the mountain. We stopped for lunch at Cathedral Lake and it was a perfect place to relax in the shade and do a bit of wading.
I was surprised to find that the summit of Mount Tallac was fairly crowded, but it was easy to find less populated areas to sit and reflect on the truly amazing scene laid out in front of you at that altitude. We hustled down the mountain after taking our summit pictures, and made it down the mountain in a lot less time than it had taken us to climb up.
The entire hike took us around six hours, including a generous lunch break and time at the summit. Remember to bring your bug spray on this one! When it got to be evening time, the mosquitoes came out in full force. We headed back to Tahoe City after getting our minds set on Thai food for dinner and decided on Thai Kitchen Restaurant. I got my favorite Thai dish, Pad Thai (with a side of sticky rice), and it was delish!
And that’s all she wrote!