Heavenly Ski Resort & Gondola#8 in Best Things To Do in Lake Tahoe
With its summit soaring 10,067 feet above sea level (the highest peak in Lake Tahoe), this wildly popular resort truly is heavenly. And it's the only ski area located on the southern shores of Lake Tahoe. It offers more than 4,600 skiable acres – with runs appropriate for all levels – as well as two snowboard parks, nearly 30 lifts and a 50-passenger aerial tram. The Heavenly Resort also offers daycare programs and children's ski lessons, so feel free to bring the kids along.
Despite Heavenly's incredible runs, its main draw is not its fresh powder but rather its soaring Heavenly Gondola. These suspended cable cars carry passengers more than 2 miles through the mountains to a 9,200-foot-high observation deck. Rides will cost you a small fortune ($58 for adults, $35 for kids), but travelers agree that the experience is a must for first-time visitors. In addition, in the summer at the resort's Epic Discovery adventure area, visitors can enjoy ropes courses, zip lines, a mountain coaster, climbing walls, tubing and guided hiking tours. Book the Ultimate Adventure Pass to try them all for $99 (or $74 for those shorter than 54 inches), which also includes the gondola ride.
Heavenly Ski Resort sits less than 5 miles east of South Lake Tahoe. Lift tickets and lodging can be expensive, so book in advance and check the resort's website for online deals. During the winter ski season, lifts run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and open 30 minutes earlier on weekends. The resort's other activities have separate hours of operation. If you don't have your own set of wheels, there is a shuttle that service the resort – the Tahoe Transportation District Heavenly ski shuttle, which makes stops at most accommodations in South Tahoe. For more information, including lift ticket prices and packages, check out Heavenly Resort's website.
More Best Things To Do in Lake Tahoe
#1 Emerald Bay State Park
Carved millions of years ago by passing glaciers, this state park is a must-see for anyone looking to experience Lake Tahoe's beauty. Sheltered by towering trees, this inlet along the southwest shore of Lake Tahoe is known for its colorful granite cliffs and stunning panoramas. Follow Highway 89 south from Tahoe City (about 20 miles) or north from South Lake Tahoe (about 10 miles) and you'll come across the Emerald Bay Lookout, the park's crown jewel. And you should make sure you have a camera on hand – the scenery is breathtaking and travelers say there are photo opportunities everywhere you turn.
But staring off into the sunset isn't the only thing to do here. Emerald Bay State Park is also home to several attractions. Budding geologists can hop a boat out to Fannette Island (the only island on Lake Tahoe) where evidence of glacial activity abounds. If you're into history, a stop at Vikingsholm is a must: Built in the 1920s, this former summer home is one of the best examples of Scandinavian architecture in the country. Plus, many of the materials used to construct Vikingsholm came from the Lake Tahoe area, making this mansion an authentic part of the landscape. Adults can tour the home for $10 (children ages 7 to 17 and college student pay $8). Getting to the house takes a bit of doing. After parking in the Vikingshom parking lot by Highway 89 at Emerald Bay, visitors must hike via a steep 1-mile trail that drops 500 feet in elevation. Those with medical conditions or mobility issues are advised not to attempt this hike.
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