Up High in Tahoe South: 48 Hours of Adventure in South Lake

Alpine, beach, and culinary delights in South Lake Tahoe, California (and Nevada).

By: Josiah Roe + Save to a List

Many think of Lake Tahoe as a world-class ski destination but locals know it best for being a fantastic escape from the sweltering heat of California Central Valley or, well, all of Nevada and an excellent basecamp for a vast assortment of outdoor adventures, from backpacking to wake surfing to stand up paddle board yoga. Here is one way to enjoy a weekend getaway in South Lake.

Day 1

A great place to stay is at the appropriately named and beautiful designed Basecamp Hotel Tahoe South, which in addition to having a wide array of lodging options to suit any budget, has a killer beer garden that features live music most nights. 

For dinner, head over to the Blue Angel Cafe which has great outdoor seating. Checkout the Lamp Tostadas to start and the Piri Piri Pork Ribs as your main; you will love them. For a vegan & gluten free option, the Thai Curry with quinoa is fantastic.

For some after dinner fun head up the east side of the Lake to Bonsai Rock for the sunset. It is one of the most iconic locations in all of California, and for good reason.

Day 2

Basecamp has a great breakfast in the garden, so fuel up and swing by The Cork & More to pick up lunches. You can call ahead to place your order, saving time.

Drive up the west side of Lake Tahoe to the Bayview Trailhead above Emerald Cove. From the trailhead you can hike up to Granite Lake, an excellent spot to swim, relax, and take in some epic views of the Desolation Wilderness.

If you’re feeling spry it is a straightforward hike up the trail to the top of Maggie’s Peaks North & South, giving some of the best views on the south west shore of the lake.

For dinner head down to the Cold Water Brewer & Grill which has some of the best craft beers in the area. I’m partial to the Stillwater Stout but Mr. Toads Wild Rye made for a killer after-dinner finish.

Finally, head over to Keys Beach for a solitude and one of the best (and most relaxed) sunsets you can find on the lake.

Day 3

No visit to South Lake Tahoe is complete without a visit to Heidi’s Pancake House. An institution for good reason: carb load, indulge yourself, and enjoy.

Now burn off those calories by heading down to Lakeview Commons for some stand up paddle board yoga. You can take classes or you can rent paddle boards from South Tahoe Stand Up Paddle. Lakeview Commons is a great starting point for exploring up and down the beaches on the south shore.

For lunch drop by the Beach Hut Deli. They have killer sandwich options and a great beer selection.

Finally, on your way out of town, drive up to Angora Lakes for some of the finest cliff jumping in the area.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Do you love the outdoors?

Yep, us too. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox.


The Best Photography Locations near South Lake Tahoe

The Outbound Collective

These 10 Photos Will Convince You to Visit Tahoe's Zephyr Cove

The Outbound Collective

Lake Tahoe's trifecta: 3 Days of adventure at Zephyr Cove

Ranz Navarro

5 Amazing Adventures in Lake Tahoe's Zephyr Cove

Josiah Roe