Five Reasons to Visit Tahoe in the Spring

Northstar at Tahoe, California
The scene at Northstar at Tahoe’s Zephyr Lodge. (Photo Credit: Cathleen Calkins)


There are two foundational truths when it comes to spending a few spring days in Tahoe: The weather is ideal and hibernating in your lodge room next to a cozy fire is no longer acceptable. Perhaps it’s primal but the urge to be outside is, at times, uncontrollable. Here are five reasons why you should visit Lake Tahoe this spring:

1. Spring Skiing:

Spring temps yield perfect snow conditions. Hot, sunny days and clear, cool evenings invite a melt-freeze cycle and skiers and riders harvest the benefits – deliciously carvable corn snow. Forgiving and fun, think of a million small, granular ball bearings under your foot to help deliver you from top to bottom in style.

Spring is also when resort marketers do their best to one-up each other. Event calendars are rich with nostalgic and zany (yes, I did say zany) events such as pond-skimming, downhill dummy contests and retro days. The later, my favorite, is the perfect excuse to jump back into a leopard print one-piece, rear-entry boots, and a pair of 190 Olin Mark IV’s. And, it seems Tahoe’s marketing professionals are a little more creative than other mountain resorts.

Squaw Valley wins with snow golf. Nine holes, no mulligans, and non-stop adventure. Get your swing on. Squaw supplies scorecards, pencils, clubs, and tennis balls, competitors furnish skis or snowboards and a little bit of finesse to make par.

2. Eat, Drink and Make Merry Alfresco:

A sure sign winter has finally come to a close and summer is not far away is the inviting experience of sitting outdoors at your favorite restaurant or watering hole. Take advantage of Cottonwood Restaurant’s enviable views of downtown Truckee or Baxter’s Bistro (Village at Northstar) sidewalk seating – great for watching people and basking in mountain alpenglow. It feels so indulgent you probably should bring the dog along too.

3. Music Festivals:

What better way to satisfy your taste for mountain culture than with music in the great outdoors? Musical choices run the gamut from symphony and orchestra to bluegrass, adult alternative, and heavy metal. There are plenty of options including Squaw Village Après Music Series, Alpine Meadow’s Spring Music Series, Moody’s Bistro Bar & Beats (Truckee) and Jakes On the Lake (Tahoe City).

Truckee, California
Downtown Truckee. (Photo Credit: Truckee Chamber of Commerce)

4. Hop on a Bike:

Two wheels beat two feet when it comes to taking in more mountain vistas on a cloudless spring day. Clear of snow, cruise scenic Truckee River Trail. It goes from lakeside Tahoe City to Squaw Valley ski resort and skirts the slow-moving Truckee River. Pack a lunch for a picture-perfect picnic or swing by the River Ranch Lodge, a great place to stop for food and libations.

5. Take a Drive:

With mountain tops still painted in white and alpine meadows coated in spring color, the north shore of Lake Tahoe offers some fantastic drives with extraordinary views. Mount Rose highway offers a visual palette of green, purple, and pink hues in a setting of frosted, high-country peaks. Or, for a longer excursion, take a lap around the lake. Set some time aside for this one and bring a camera: the lake’s emerald blue summons you to stop at every turnout.