Tahoe's Top Attractions
Stateline Fire Lookout
Poorly marked and generally overlooked by most visitors, this facility straddling the California/Nevada border is without a doubt the best high-elevation vantage point (7,017 feet) on Lake Tahoe's north shore -- an excellent destination for snowshoe excursions in winter. Stateline Fire Lookout it has spectacular vistas of Crystal Bay and Brockway beaches, as well as the entire Tahoe basin and its watershed. There's an excellent self-guided interpretive trail with detailed signposts explaining the human and natural history of the area, as well as several strategically placed picnic tables. The area has long figured in an ongoing boundary dispute between the two states. The lookout tower, infrequently used today, is the best spot for photographs. One drawback is the occasionally bothersome cloud of gnats and midges that might be encountered along the paved walkways. To reach the lookout, don't bother looking for signs. At Crystal Bay, Nevada, turn up Reservoir Road between the Tahoe Biltmore Lodge and Casino and the old Tahoe Mariner casinos, then turn right at the firehouse and continue up the hill until you reach a point where a steeper U.S. Forest Service road doubles back to the left above you. Follow this for one-quarter of a mile, beyond the green metal gate, to the parking lot. If the gate is closed, park and walk the distance. Admission is free. Information: Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, (530) 573-2600.
Heavenly Ski Area Tram
How's the view from the top? Just hop on Heavenly's tram for a quick lift some 3,000 feet above the lake, where you can fully appreciate the grandeur of Tahoe and its snow-capped mountains. There's a decent restaurant at Monument Peak, as well as a spacious outdoor deck. You can hang out here for the view of Stateline's high-rise casinos and the city of South Lake Tahoe, or you can scramble up a mile-long, self-guided nature trail through woods and boulder fields for more vistas. The best time to arrive is just before sunset, when the light is magical and the paddlewheel cruiseboats are chugging back and forth to Emerald Bay. Admission: Adults, $20; children 6 to 13, $12; children under 5, free. At the end of Ski Run Boulevard, South Lake Tahoe, CA. Information: Heavenly Ski Area, (775) 586-7000.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication