‘Tis the season to hit those hot spots that are busy during summer

Cheyanne Neuffer
Special to the Sierra Sun
Mountain Bike riding in the Fall.
Provided / Ben Fish

We have entered a sweet spot here at Lake Tahoe.

The massive rush of tourists have subsided and now is the time to visit popular places where you’d never even think about going during the summer.

While its not quite the season for sliding down the mountains, and not quite warm enough to take a dip in the lake, it is peak time to ride your mountain bike, hike on popular trails, visit beaches that are likely almost empty and hit those restaurants without reservations or a long wait.

Go for a hike

If you’ve ever tried to park at or near Emerald Bay during the summer after 8 a.m. and before sunset, it’s like winning the lottery to find a spot.

That area from June through October is like a shopping mall a week before Christmas.

The Eagle Falls hike is a 2-mile round trip that features golden views and picturesque sceneries.

Another, longer hike is the Rubicon Trail, that connects Emerald Bay and D.L. Bliss state parks. One way is about 4 ½ miles and the views are worth it. There’s even a vintage lighthouse on the trail that can be explored.

Gear up for a mountain bike adventure

During the summer, trails are busy with mountain bikers with many learning to ride.

Now that the seasons are changing the trails are less crowded.

Marlette Lake on the East Shore is a 10-mile ride, five up and five down, but worth it.

The views are extraordinary and if you get out in the next week or so, you get to experience late season fall colors before the snow comes.

Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association President Ben Fish has his favorite trail to hit in the fall.

“A favorite ride is starting up near Mount Rose and riding the Tahoe Rim Trail through Tahoe Meadows and over to the Marlette Lake overlook, then descending through the aspens around Marlette Lake and over to the Flume Trail,” Fish said. “There are some amazing pockets of aspens, willows and grasses along with unmatched views of Lake Tahoe and Washoe Valley.

“When the days get shorter it doesn’t mean we have to ride less, packing a bike light helps extend the season and makes those trails that we’ve been riding all season long a lot more interesting through the tunnel vision of night riding.”

Head to the beach

Yeah, its cold but bring a blanket, a guitar, a frisbee and the beach in fall can be as enjoyable, or moreso, than in summer.

Beaches that were crowded with floaties and Instagram influencers trying to get the perfect shot are now mostly empty. Hey, you might even get to spot some wildlife close to the beach now.

Unless your feeling really adventurous, you might want to skip the freezing dive into the lake.

D.L Bliss State Park is closed this time of year but with a small walk down a paved road, trail access is within a mile and you can have the breathtaking views at the shoreline all to yourself.

Even Moondoones in North Lake has a near empty beach.

Spend time in Heavenly Village

We all know that Heavenly Village during the summer is loaded with people.

While we all want to try “Tahoe’s Best” pizza’ the two-hour plus wait in the summer makes it rough.

Basecamp Pizza Co., never completely slows down, but the wait times are a bit more manageable in the fall.

Enjoy yummy pizza, killer drinks and live music starting at 11 a.m., everyday.

The infamous Gar Woods will have live music with Rustler’s Moon every Friday and Saturday night from 8-11 p.m.

Now that fall has arrived, Topless Tuesday is in full effect with discounted Wet Woodys every Tuesday and Happy Hour is Monday through Friday 4:30-6:30 p.m.

You can also shop for the latest trends, find some new fancy socks and top it off with ice cream, with hot fudge on those cold days.

Get artsy

Try out one of the Paint and Sip classes in South Lake Tahoe.

Grab a couple friends and enjoy wine while you create a masterpiece.

This Friday, paint “A Storm is Brewing,” on Saturday paint “Starry Tahoe Bear” and Sunday paint “A splash of Color” with artists at Paint and Sip located at 900 Ski Run Blvd.

They will give you the tools to create a gem.

Bouldering in the basin

While Blue Granite Climbing Gym is a perfect way to enjoy rock climbing all year long, fall outdoor rock climbing is a treasure.

“Fall is definitely the best time to climb in Tahoe,” said Gianna Leavers, co-owner of Blue Granite climbing gym.

“Not only are most of the crowds gone, the temperatures are perfect. It’s often too hot in the summer at any of the sunny crags.”

Fall is the best season to train for those big Yosemite trips.

One place with multi-pitch routes is Lover’s Leap.

Other great autumn locations are Luther Rocks, Luther Spires and Mayhem Cover where sport climbers can clip bolts according to the SuperTopo rock climbing guide to South Lake Tahoe.

“One of the best places to climb on the South Shore is at the Eagle Lake trailhead, which is frequently too busy to find parking in the summer,” Leavers said. “From there you can access Mayhem Cove for steep, sport climbing, Eagle Lake Cliff for incredible cracks and trad climbing, and 90-foot wall for easy-access top-roping.”

Cheyanne Neuffer is a reporter with the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication to the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at

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