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3 Days in Tahoe in Winter: Sample Itinerary

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Tahoe Life

So, you’re planning a Tahoe trip? We’re here to help. Check out some of our favorite winter activities below, and let us help you plan your next Lake Tahoe vacation!

Day 1: Explore Truckee and Tahoe City

For your first day in Tahoe/Truckee, you’ll want to take in all of the sights. From beaches to mountaintops, there is no shortage of good views here. Take some time to stop in at a museum or two, and learn a bit more about the local culture and history.

  • Donner Summit: The iconic view of Donner Lake from Old 40 is worth the trek. If the road is clear, head up to Rainbow Bridge for panoramic vistas of Donner Lake and the surrounding High Sierra. If the snowpack allows, hike up to the train tunnels on Donner Summit for an interesting glimpse into traveling over the summit in the past. Stay nearby.
  • Donner Lake: Once you descend from Donner Summit, head to the Donner State Park and Emigrant Trail Museum. The museum offers incredible insights into the infamous Donner Party, as well as the travelers and settlers who preceded and followed them in traversing Donner Summit. Stay nearby.
  • Downtown Truckee: Truckee feels like an old-west town. The rugged mountain town is full of shops, eateries, and bars to warm up after your excursion around Donner. Visit the old jailhouse on Jiboom Street, which used to be the red-light district of Truckee. The past is still tangible in the small shops, bars, and points of interest that line the streets. Stay nearby.
  • Downtown Tahoe City: Take Highway 89 into Tahoe City. The downtown offers shops and restaurants, and you can also take in the view or build a snowman at Commons Beach, located right downtown. Stay at Commons to enjoy a gorgeous sunset on the lake.  Stay nearby.

Day 2: Ski, then Aprés

You’re ready to shred some of that Tahoe pow on Day 2. After a day of sightseeing and getting used to the altitude, your legs are ready for a challenge. Here are a few of our favorite ski resorts in the North Lake Tahoe/Truckee area:

Ski:

  • Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows: Over 6,000 acres of world-class terrain, 42 lifts to access that terrain, and over 450 inches of annual snowfall--need we say more? Squaw-Alpine is a great place to spend a day, or two...or three. Stay nearby.
  • Northstar California: With a bustling village, unique mountain experiences (Northstar knows how to aprés!), and wide groomers lined by well-spaced trees, Northstar is a mountain that has something for everyone. From their famous terrain parks to the daily champagne toast at the top of the mountain at 2PM, Northstar knows how to keep the stoke high all day long. Stay nearby.
  • Homewood Mountain Resort: Homewood’s tagline is “where the mountains meet the lake.” This low-key resort lives up to its tagline, with panoramic views of Lake Tahoe from the Madden Chair and many of its runs. If you’re interested in venturing into the backcountry check out Homewood’s Snowcat Tours--offering access to 750 acres of backcountry skiing in an intimate and guided group. Stay nearby.
  • Diamond Peak: Another mountain that offers stunning views of Lake Tahoe, Diamond Peak is located just across the lake from Homewood in Incline Village. Diamond Peak offers comprehensive lesson programs for kids ages 3+, affordable lift tickets, and world-class snowmaking and grooming. Stay nearby.
  • Sugar Bowl Resort:We’re heading back up to Donner Summit now, but it’s well worth it to ski at Sugar Bowl Resort. This laid-back mountain often sees the most snow in the region, and offers some of the best terrain in Tahoe without the crowds. This resort was a favorite of Walt Disney’s, and also has a fascinating history in the Tahoe region. Stay nearby.
  • Tahoe Donner: If you’re looking for a great place to get the kiddos on skis, or maybe you’re a beginner yourself, Tahoe Donner is the place to go. Tahoe Donner boasts 40% beginner terrain, a warm, family-friendly vibe, and interchangeable passes for parents with non-skiing children. Generations of Tahoe locals and visitors have learned to ski at Tahoe Donner, and it's easy to see why. Stay nearby.
  • Donner Ski Ranch: This historic family-owned resort offers something for everyone. Donner Ski Ranch might be Tahoe’s best kept secret--affordable lift tickets, access to some amazing side-country and backcountry, and no lift lines make this mountain a great place to spend the day exploring. Check out their Old-School Days, with low “throwback” lift ticket and rental packages. Stay nearby.
  • Boreal: If you’ve still got some leftover steam in your legs, head to Boreal for a night skiing session. Boreal is open 9AM-9PM daily, and night tickets can be purchased starting at 3PM. Whether you come out for a day shred or a night shred, Boreal has some of the most innovative terrain parks in the region as well as wide-open groomers and fun off-piste skiing and riding. Stay nearby.

Aprés-Ski:

Tahoe knows how to aprés. From casual bars filled with other tired ski bums to relaxing retreats featuring specialty cocktails, you’ll be sure to find an aprés style that suits you.

Enjoy a cocktail with a view:

Get crafty:

Live Music:

  • Moody’s in Truckee showcases some great bands, and some even greater cocktails. Stay nearby.
  • Gar Woods in Carnelian Bay hosts live music all winter long. Pair that with one of their iconic Wet Woody’s and you may be tempted to stay a while. Stay nearby.

Unwin(e)d:

Dinner:

Exhausted after a day on the slopes? Treat yourself to a special meal crafted by a personal chef. Our concierge team can arrange a personal chef that suits your needs--you may even want to hire a chef for the whole weekend! Learn more. 

Day 3: Enjoy a leisurely breakfast followed by cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, then s’mores

Alright--it’s your last day in Tahoe. Make it a good one, and make sure that you take some time to enjoy the most important meal of the day. You deserve some eggs and bacon...and maybe even a mimosa after your jam-packed couple of days. Follow that up with some cross-country skiing or snowshoeing and s’mores, and send off your Tahoe trip in style.

Breakfast:

  • Make your own! All of our rentals come with fully-equipped kitchens, all that’s left to get is the food. Don’t want to bother with the grocery store while on vacation? We get it, that’s why we offer grocery delivery--order for pre-arrival delivery so that your house is fully stocked. Learn more.
  • Want to let someone else do the work? Head to Fire Sign Cafe for hearty breakfasts in a warm, inviting atmosphere. If baked goods are your thing, make a stop at the Tahoe House for fresh pastries, breakfast sandwiches, and coffee. Stay nearby.

Cross-Country Ski or Snowshoe

What better way to end a getaway than exploring the wilderness that abounds around Lake Tahoe and Truckee? Below are a few of our favorite cross-country ski and snowshoe areas.

  • Royal Gorge: Experience America’s largest cross-country ski resort. 6,000 acres of terrain, 140km of trails, and dog-friendly areas make Royal Gorge a must-do. Stay nearby.
  • Tahoe XC Center: Located near Dollar Hill, the Tahoe XC Center offers 65km of trails through the Tahoe National Forest. Dog-friendly trails and fun events and workshops make the Tahoe XC center a great place to spend an afternoon. Stay nearby.
  • Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park: Bring your own skis or snowshoes to this park. You’ll enjoy about 20km of trails on Tahoe’s magical west shore. Enjoy the interpretive signs as you go--this area was host to the 1960 Olympic Biathlon and Cross-Country Ski Events. Take the Orange Trail to ski or snowshoe along the shores of Lake Tahoe. Stay nearby.

S’more:

Fuel up for the ride home with a tasty s’more. Northstar and the West Shore Cafe both offer free s’mores daily at 4:30PM, or you can purchase a personal s’more experience at Bar of America. Find more of our favorite s’more spots here.

Need some help planning your vacation? Get tips, advice, and assistance from our friendly concierge team. Our entire staff here at Tahoe Luxury Properties is made up of folks who call this area home, and we are always happy to help to ensure that your getaway is memorable. Learn more.