I've written about winter sports in my earlier posts. In this post, I want to talk about some of my snow-shoeing trips in Tahoe.
Here are a few of the snow-shoe trails I explored during last few winter seasons.
Grass Lake (South Lake Tahoe)
This was my first snow-shoeing experience and man, it was incredible. This experience made me want to continue snow-shoeing and I'm grateful for that. Coming to this trail, it is mostly flat around the Grass Lake. We ended up walking on top of the lake because it was completely frozen and snow-covered. We also came back in the same direction we started, so we didn't do the actual loop.
The thing with snow-shoeing is, it does not matter which path you take, as long as you are able to get from the source to destination in a safe way. I'm sure you need to more careful in medium or strenuous trails because if you get lost, you may end up wandering in the snow a lot more time than you intended to :). So, make sure to prepare well.
Grass Lake trail is great for beginners and kids, and perfect to get some pictures in the snow with not a soul in sight. The only sound we heard during parts of our trail in Grass Lake was the wind and our own foot steps on the snow. The eerie silence will take some time to get used to, but you'll love it. As cheesy as it sounds, this is one of the reasons why you'll want to go out and explore the outdoors!
Baldwin Beach (South Lake Tahoe)
I experienced the best views of Lake Tahoe on this trail to Baldwin Beach. This trail is also flat and we started after parking our car in the lot on the road. At first, it seemed benign walking in the snow next to the trees but as we moved out from the tree cover and got closer to the shore, I was awestruck looking at the snow-covered mountains and the clear blue water of the lake. As much as I loved the Grass Lake trail, it wouldn't stand a chance with the scenery I saw in the Baldwin Beach one.
The other aspect that made the entire experience much more memorable was that there were no other people there the entire time. We had such an incredible view all to ourselves. No jostling for space or standing in line to get a picture, it's all yours for the taking. There's even a bench here if you want to sit and enjoy the view, which is what we did.
After taking in the scenery, we checked the trail on the other side of the road to see if we can get a glimpse of the Fallen Leaf Lake. We walked for quite some time, but didn't get a view -- so we decided to head back. If you go with kids, there is a snow-park at the beginning of this trail.
This map of snow-shoe trails helped us plan our snow-shoeing trips in South Lake Tahoe, sharing the link so you may find it as useful as we did :)
Donner Lake Memorial Park (Truckee)
I decided to go to Donner Lake for snow-shoeing because it was close to the freeway, and would be easy for us to exit when we leave Tahoe, but I couldn't have predicted how beautiful it would look.
This 3 mile trail is flat and the trail-head is next to the parking lot. It starts of pretty mellow in the trees, but in less than 10 minutes you should be walking next to the lake-side. When we went, the lake was frozen at the beginning, so Chakri decided to walk on the ice and test out how strong it was! Honestly, I don't recommend doing that, unless you're sure and don't mind getting a dip in case the ice breaks :)
Anyhow, the lake is not frozen as you continue along which means you get to see glorious reflections of the snow-covered mountains on the lake. You can't NOT be impressed by this view no matter how jaded you are.
We were not the only ones here, but it wasn't crowded by any means. So you can get all the pictures you want with no interruptions. We also saw some geese and fish in the lake, so you might see more wild-life if you pay attention.
After around 1.5 mile, we came across what looked like private property, so we turned around and came back to the trailhead in a loop. We did wander around in the inside, since the trail is not well-paved, but you cannot get lost. The trail is well-marked on the side of the lake, so you can choose to avoid the loop and go to/fro in the same path.
Oh, if you go to Donner, don't forget to check the visitor center. It has a comprehensive history of the place including the trip of the Donner family in 1846, after whom this place is named. There is a 5$ charge to park your car at the parking-lot here. There is another trail called Cold Stream Canyon right outside this park, which is a moderately flat trail should you want to explore more around this area.
As a honorable mention, I want to list out Tahoe City Regional Park as another place in the Truckee area to snow-shoe. You get to see some Lake Tahoe views from the trail, but it was snowing on the day we went, so I didn't get the best views.
So that's my experience snow-shoeing in Tahoe. I still consider myself an amateur in this area. I hope this post inspired you to explore the outdoors and check out some snow-shoe trails close to your location :)
What are your favorite winter activities? Have you explored any snow-shoe trails? Which ones did you love?