South Lake Tahoe Correspondence – June 2016


South Lake Tahoe

It’s Summertime at Lake Tahoe!

Zepyhr Cove Beach and Pier, with the paddle wheelers M.S. Dixie and Tahoe Queen
                                     Zepyhr Cove Beach, with the paddle wheelers M.S. Dixie and Tahoe Queen docked at the pier.

Here we go, summertime at Lake Tahoe! Three whole months of fun in the sun at the best vacation destination in the world; from June till early September it’s a place everybody in the world should experience.  Summer is the favorite time of year for everybody that lives here, even the most die-hard winter lover and gonzo skier can’t wait for it.  The long days of perfect temperatures and cool refreshing water of the big blue gem in the Sierra act like a fountain of youth.  When the thermometer hits triple digits in places like Reno, Carson City or Sacramento, the Zephyr Cove LodgeLake can seem like salvation.  The start of June is relatively quiet as far as activities and visitors go, but by the last week everything goes into high gear, as the population of the lake explodes into the July 4th  holiday.

June gets rolling with the 67th annual Hwy 50 Wagon Train starting at Zephyr Cove on June 4 and ending in Placerville, California, June 11.   The wagons, full of cheery people, mosey through the city of South Lake Tahoe waving and smiling,  while spreading good vibes to everybody on the road. It’s a fun glimpse into the past to see the adventures of the early pioneers, how they traveled through the west and maybe appreciate the slower tempo of traveling by covered wagon instead of the hurried tempo of the automobile.  People can ride in the event and help celebrate California and Nevada’s only bi-state historic event.  For more information go to

Abrilliant crimson snow flower catches the sunlight near the Tahoe Rim Trail
    A crimson snow flower catches the sunlight near the Tahoe Rim Trail

If you don’t want to jump on the wagon train and head for Placerville, you can stay put at Zephyr Cove and enjoy the beautiful beach, with its array of great amenities.  In one day at Zephyr Cove Resort you can grab a good breakfast at the lodge and then head to the beach for just about any Lake-related fun you can imagine.  From kayaks to jet-ski’s, to volleyball, to lounging on the beach, there’s really no end to what you can do on a nice warm day at the beach. A great stretch of beach that has two parts separated by the pier where the M.S. Dixie cruise ship is docked. The southern stretch, which is populated by a younger crowd, has a party-like atmosphere.  The northern part of the beach is a more subdued and laid-back place where you can bring your dog, take a swim and just take in the beauty of Tahoe.

If hanging at the beach is not your thing, you can help celebrate National Trails Day at Spooner Lake State Park on June 4 with the Tahoe Rim Trail Association.   Go see the wagon train, then head up to the summit and learn about all the great hiking paths that the South Shore of Lake Tahoe has to offer.  If you missed the wildflower season in the lower elevations, the snow is still melting up high, and the flowers will be blooming throughout June in places like Marlette Lake above Spooner.  With the good winter we had up here, there’s bound to be some colorful plant life along your way on the trails.

Steamers' fish taco & bloody maryThen, when you’re done hiking or lounging on the beach, you can go out on the town. An evening with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on Saturday, June 11 at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe could be a great way to spend the night.  Performing since the early 1960s, the band brings the French Quarter to the South Shore Room for what is sure to be a very pleasant night of music.

After having a fun Saturday night you might have to have a recovery Sunday.  A Bloody Mary contest could be the way to go.  Head a few miles into Cali and go to Steamers for their annual Bloody Mary Contest on June 12.  Steamers is a longtime local hangout but is always open to people of every kind, and if you stay for lunch, try the fish tacos. They’re pretty good.

June is the calm before the tourist-season storm at Lake Tahoe.  It’s the kickoff to the best season we have here at the lake.  Come on up and enjoy.

Brendan Packer