Squaw Valley#2 in Best Things To Do in Lake Tahoe
Sprawling across six peaks on Lake Tahoe's western shore (about 10 miles northwest of Tahoe City), Squaw Valley has been dubbed one of the world's finest ski resorts thanks to its nearly 4,000 acres of ski-worthy terrain and its advanced lift system. It's no wonder this resort was chosen to host the 1960 Winter Olympics.
Recent visitors were impressed by the sheer size of the resort and said it offers a wide range of exciting runs – when the weather cooperates. Squaw is a smart choice for first-time skiers too; about 70 percent of its slopes are geared toward those at the beginner and intermediate level.
But top-notch powder isn't the only thing Squaw Valley has to offer. You can take the family snow-tubing at the SnoVentures Activity Zone located in the base area of Squaw Valley adjacent to the parking lot or, if you're in need of some rest and relaxation, head to the Trilogy Spa at Squaw Valley for some pampering. Squaw Valley also has an indoor climbing wall, located in the Aerial Tram building, and a stunning pool and hot tub found at High Camp. Meanwhile, the Village at Squaw Valley offers ample dining options as well as nightlife venues. And if you're visiting Lake Tahoe during the summer, you can tee off at the resort's championship golf course.
The winter season spans from November to mid-May while the brief summer season stretches from mid-May to mid-September. The lifts are open every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during ski season; night operations on select days are available from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Lift ticket prices vary by month and day, but you can expect to pay at least $100 for an adult one-day ticket. To save on lift tickets, purchase in advance online. You can also save by purchasing multi-day packages. Because Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows operate as one mega-resort, you can easily hop between the two (lift tickets and season passes are interchangeable between each resort) thanks to the free shuttle. For more information on ticket prices, lodging and summer activities, check out the 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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