It had been at least 40 years since Hans visited Lake Tahoe and probably 20 years for me. We were both a little disappointed at how built up it is (commercial and private properties) and how hard it was to find FREE places to stop and enjoy the lake. This is also a year-round tourist destination so the only solitude to be found is probably deep in the boonies away from the lake.
|Pretty Emerald Bay.|
|River cruise boat leaving Emerald Bay and entering Lake Tahoe.|
After driving about three quarters of the way around the lake we decided to head inland for a hike. The Glen Alpine trail head, near Fallen Leaf Lake, gives access to miles of trails in the Tahoe back country. The drive to the trail head was neat, turns out there are many private homes along Fallen Leaf Lake, once past them, the road follows lovely Glen Alpine Creek and even has a spectacular waterfall.
We parked at the trail head next to pretty Lilly Lake and headed two miles up a much worn gravel road to the site of the former Glen Alpine Springs. In 1863 a "Soda Spring" was discovered and turned into a fancy resort with curative mineral springs. The scenery along this short stretch of "trail" was gorgeous and we wished we had more time to explore further into the Desolation Wilderness.
|My favorite kind of scenery!|
|We even surprised this snake in the water...we never knew snakes would swim in super cold water!|
|Beavers are active here!|
|We saw these strange fungi-looking plants in a couple of places around Lake Tahoe.|
|Turns out they are Sarcodes.|
|The dining hall at Glen Alpine Springs.|
|We're in marmot country and this guy came very close hoping for a handout.|
|There were many waterfalls along Glen Alpine Creek, this was the largest we saw right along the road.|
For us, Lake Tahoe's greatest charms are in the back country, further from the crowds. It's hard to imagine what it's like around here during ski season or over a summer holiday weekend. If we return we will seek out the trails on the edges and hope we arrive early enough to find a parking space!