VIDEO: Take the 6-hour Around Tahoe tour, see lake’s ‘seven sacred sights’
If you go
What: Around Tahoe Tours
When: 8:30 a.m. from North Shore (889 Tahoe Blvd., Incline Village, Nev.); 10 a.m. from South Shore (4114 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe, Calif.)
Where: Tour goes around all of Lake Tahoe
Cost: $50 per person
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Back in 2008, Incline Village-based entertainer Darin Talbot recorded and released a CD called “Around Tahoe,” a two-disc, two-hour audio tour guide for driving around Lake Tahoe.
Filled with legendary stories, original songs and a slew of statistics, “Around Tahoe” quickly became a hit for locals and visitors — and reaffirmed why Talbot is known region-wide as “Mr. Tahoe.”
Eight years later, Talbot and his brother, Chris Talbot, a professional Lake Tahoe photographer, have brought “Around Tahoe” to life.
Blueprinting a six-hour guided tour circling the 22-mile-long, 12-mile-wide Lake Tahoe, the Talbots launched Around Tahoe Tours, the region’s first tour company circumnavigating the entire lake.
“Once we made the CD, it was a no-brainer to turn that CD into a guided experience,” Darin Talbot said during a tour Monday. “For years in Lake Tahoe, there’s been many tour companies — most of them are on the lake — but there just hasn’t really been a solid everyday-around-the-lake tour, so that’s what we focus on. We go around the lake every day.”
‘The mystery of Lake Tahoe’
With a 13-passenger, air-conditioned adventure van, Around Tahoe Tours shuttles passengers to the “Seven Sacred Sights of Tahoe.”
“We have seven different spots that we feel are the best for seeing the lake,” Darin said. “Some of them we give away in our paraphernalia, but a lot of it we try to keep somewhat of a secret, because we want to keep the mystery of Lake Tahoe very high in people’s consciousness.”
Passengers will get the best views — from both high in the mountains and down on the shoreline — of the diamond-flecked Tahoe waters and striking Sierra Nevada.
All the while, Talbot animatedly unspools the folklore of Tahoe legends such as Mark Twain, Snowshoe Thompson and Captain Richard Barter, aka “Captain Dick.”
“We really focus on the history, the stories, the legend, the folklore,” Talbot said. “The stuff you can’t see with your eyes; the stuff that you’re very curious to know. There’s so much that people just never learn about Lake Tahoe, and that’s what we try to do — fill in all those gaps.”
And so far, two months in, the Talbots have been encouraged by the response.
“People love the tours,” Talbot said. “Every time we get people off the tours, the first thing they say is, ‘I had no idea; I didn’t know anything about that’ and ‘I had never seen that.’ So the response has been outrageously good.
“We just need to keep making everybody happy one tour at a time.”
Taking cars off the road
In addition to serving the locals and visitors of Lake Tahoe, the Talbots are also on a mission to better serve the clear blue lake.
“Our big dream is to take cars off the road,” Darin Talbot said. “There are way too many cars here and there should be more tours of Lake Tahoe. So the big dream is to have more tours that go around the lake with zero-emission buses to alleviate congestion and to help save Lake Tahoe, because Lake Tahoe’s No. 1 polluter are cars, and it seems every year there are more and more.”
Around Tahoe Tours operates seven days a week, with departures from both the North Shore and South Shore. Moreover, Talbot said, Around Tahoe Tours will pick up guests at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe in Incline Village and make special pick-up requests if there are enough guests.
“People want to go on guided tours,” Talbot said. “They want to look out the windows; they don’t want to have to deal with their cars and parking and all the hardships that go with that. We really create convenience.”
Also, in conjunction with their new tour service, the Talbots recently opened a new storefront at 889 Tahoe Blvd. in Incline Village.
The store will serve as a Tahoe tour center and offer activities (like stand-up paddleboarding and electric fat bikes), host information, and include a Tahoe fine art gallery and gift shop.
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As COVID restrictions continue to rollback nationwide, tourism has started up again and is in full swing around Lake Tahoe.