Best time to travel to Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe Fall Colors

The perfect time to enjoy the serene beauty of the Eastern Sierra

Best time: October–early November

Lake Tahoe Fall Colors
Lake Tahoe Fall Colors
Lake Tahoe Fall Colors
Fall colors in Homewood, California

Fall is the most scenic time to visit Lake Tahoe. The weather is still pleasantly warm, and it's even possible to take a swim and enjoy some sunbathing on one of the beaches that get much less crowed after Labor Day Weekend. But the main attraction is, of course, the color. Yellow is the dominant shade here due to numerous quaking aspens and cottonwoods. Lake Tahoe Region starts to transform in late September. Peak fall colors are revealed in mid and late October. Aspens usually stay quite showy for a few weeks.

South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe is one of the best destinations for leaf peeping. Hope Valley transforms beautifully with yellow aspens popping up here and there among the evergreens. The area features many hiking trails and scenic drives. Take a ride from South Lake Tahoe on Highway 50 to Echo Summit for about five miles, then take a turn on Highway 89 to Luther Pass and Pickett's Junction. Make a stop at Luther Pass located between Meyers and Hope Valley to enjoy the view of the lush aspen grove. Also, stop by the East Carson River to snap some photos. And don't miss Markleeville, a must-see during fall. That small alpine village is surrounded by aspen trees and picturesque creeks. More aspens await you on Ebbetts Pass that can be reached by Alpine state highway or Highway 4 stretching across the south side of Hope Valley. Kinney Creek and Kinney Reservoir provide great fall views.

North Lake Tahoe

Marlette Lake is the premier hiking destination in October. Located at 8,200 ft (2,500m) above sea level, Marlette Lake provides a fantastic view of the east side of Lake Tahoe. The lake can be reached by a short scenic trail, starting from the Spooner Lake parking area. Another idea for a hike—the Mount Rose Summit Trail. The 12-mi (19 km) hike goes along spectacular Mount Rose Meadows that look gorgeous in the summer and fall. The views of North Lake Tahoe are no less impressive.

Practical info

When should one plan their visit to Lake Tahoe for fall colors?

For those looking to enjoy fall foliage in Lake Tahoe, it's recommended to plan a visit during the autumn season. Mid and late October is the best time to see the peak fall colors around the lake. Pleasantly mild temperatures, fewer crowds, and great opportunities for swimming and sunbathing can also be enjoyed during this time of the year. Show more

What are some suggested places for leaf peeping around South Lake Tahoe during fall?

If you're interested in leaf peeping, then South Lake Tahoe should be on your list of destinations to visit in the fall. The best places to enjoy beautiful fall foliage are the Hope Valley and the scenic routes that stretch across the south side of the valley, such as Highway 50 and Highway 89. Luther Pass and Pickett's Junction present an excellent opportunity to view stunning aspen groves. Show more

Which hiking trails provide the best views around Lake Tahoe in the fall?

Marlette Lake and the Mount Rose Summit Trail are two fantastic hiking trails around Lake Tahoe that offer breathtaking views during the fall. Marlette Lake can be accessed through a short scenic trail from the Spooner Lake parking area. The Mount Rose Summit Trail, a 12-mile hike, provides stunning views of North Lake Tahoe, meadows, and fantastic fall foliage. Show more

What makes Markleeville a popular fall destination, and where is it located?

Markleeville, located in Alpine County, California, is a small village known for its breathtaking fall foliage. The village offers scenic drives, walks, and photographic opportunities. It's no surprise that Markleeville is considered one of the best fall destinations in California due to its picturesque creeks and surrounding aspen trees. Show more

When can visitors experience the peak fall colors around Lake Tahoe?

Around Lake Tahoe, visitors can see the peak fall colors in mid and late October. This is the season when the breathtaking beauty of autumn foliage is most evident. Aspen trees remain showy for several weeks, allowing visitors a long window of opportunity to enjoy the stunning scenery. Mild temperatures, fewer crowds, and picturesque panoramas make autumn the best time to visit Lake Tahoe. Show more

Ask a question
Last updated: