Best time to travel to Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe Fall Colors

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

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Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen
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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

Fall colors on MT Rose, North Lake Tahoe 2020
Fall colors on MT Rose, 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.

Upper Truckee River 2020
Upper Truckee River