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Lake Tahoe in California.
Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada range of the United States. At a surface elevation of 6,225 ft (1,897 m), it is located along the border between California and Nevada, west of Carson City, Nevada. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America. Its depth is 1,645 feet (501 m) making it the USA's second-deepest (the deepest is Crater Lake in Oregon, being 300 ft (91 m) deeper, at 1,945 feet (594 m) deep).
The lake was formed about 2 million years ago and is a part of the Lake Tahoe Basin with the modern lake being shaped during the ice ages. It is known for the clarity of its water and the panorama of surrounding mountains on all sides. The area surrounding the lake is also referred to as Lake Tahoe, or simply Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe is a major tourist attraction in both Nevada and California. It is home to a number of ski resorts, summer outdoor recreation, and tourist attractions. Snow and skiing are a significant part of the area's economy and reputation. Mountain and lake scenery are attractions throughout the year. The Nevada side also includes large casinos. Highways provide year-round access from Reno, Carson City and Sacramento.
Much of the area surrounding Lake Tahoe is devoted to the tourism industry and there are many restaurants, ski slopes, golf courses and casinos catering to visitors.
During ski season, thousands of people from all over Nevada and California, including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, flock to the slopes for downhill skiing. Lake Tahoe, in addition to its panoramic beauty, is well known for its blizzards.
Some of the major ski areas in Tahoe include:
Heavenly Mountain Resort: the largest ski area in California and Nevada, located near Stateline
Squaw Valley: the second largest ski area, known for its hosting of the 1960 Winter Olympics, located near Tahoe City
Alpine Meadows: a medium sized ski area on the north shore only a few miles from Squaw Valley
Diamond Peak: a small ski area located in Incline Village, Nevada
Northstar at Tahoe: a popular north shore ski area
Kirkwood Mountain Resort: a ski area which gets more snow than any other ski area in the Tahoe region
Sierra-at-Tahoe: a medium sized south shore ski area
Boreal Mountain Resort: a small ski area on Donner Pass
Sugar Bowl Ski Resort: a medium sized ski area in Donner Pass
Donner Ski Ranch: a very small ski area on Donner Pass
Homewood Mountain Resort: a medium sized ski area on the west shore
Mount Rose Ski Resort: a medium sized ski area north-east of the Lake, on Slide Mountain
The majority of the ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe region are on the northern end of the lake, near Truckee, California and Reno, Nevada. Kirkwood, Sierra-at-Tahoe and Heavenly are located on the southern side of the lake, approximately 80 miles (129 km) from Reno. Scattered throughout Tahoe are public and private sled parks. Some, such as Granlibakken are equipped with rope tows to help sledders get up the hill.
Many ski areas around Tahoe also have snow tubing, such as Squaw Valley. Throughout Tahoe, cross-country skiing, snowmobile riding and snowshoeing are also popular.
During late Spring to early Fall, the lake is popular for water sports and beach activities. The two cities most identified with the Lake Tahoe tourist area are South Lake Tahoe, California and the smaller Stateline; smaller centers on the northern shoreline include Tahoe City and Kings Beach.
Other popular activities include parasailing, jet ski rentals and eco-friendly paddle sport rentals. There are rental locations located around Lake Tahoe. Kayaking and stand up paddle boards have also become very popular.
Boating is a primary activity in Tahoe in the summer. There are lake front restaurants all over the lake, most equipped with docks and buoys (See the restaurants section). There are all sorts of boating events, such as sailboat racing, firework shows over the lake, guided cruises, and more. As an interstate waterway, Lake Tahoe is subject to the United States Coast Guard. Lake Tahoe is home to Coast Guard Station Lake Tahoe.
SCUBA diving is popular at Lake Tahoe, with some dive sites offering dramatic drop-offs or wall dives. Diving at Lake Tahoe is considered advanced due to the increased risk of decompression sickness (DCS) while diving at such a high altitude.
Hiking and bicycling
There are hundreds of hiking and mountain biking trails all around the lake. They range in length, difficulty and popularity. One of the most famous of Tahoe's trails is the Tahoe Rim Trail, a 165-mile (270-km) trail that circumnavigates the lake. Directly to the west of the lake is the Granite Chief Wilderness, which provides great hiking and wilderness camping. Also, to the southwest is the very popular Desolation Wilderness. One of the most popular trailheads is the Eagle Lake Trailhead. There are also several paved off-road bicycle paths.
Gambling is legal on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe. Casinos, each with a variety of slot machines and table games, are located on the South Shore in Stateline, and on the North Shore in Crystal Bay and Incline Village.
Airports serving Lake Tahoe
Reno-Tahoe International Airport/KRNO (Reno, Nevada)
Sacramento International Airport/KSMF (Sacramento, California)
Lake Tahoe Airport/KTVL (South Lake Tahoe, California)
Truckee-Tahoe Airport/KTRK (Truckee, California)
Minden-Tahoe Airport/KMEV (Minden, Nevada)
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