Plenty of Ways to Enjoy Perfect Lake Tahoe October Weather
After an unseasonably warm summer, the fall shoulder season is officially here, which means it’s time for locals to once again enjoy unfettered access to Lake Tahoe.
With fewer tourists clogging roads, trails, beaches, and beyond, there are plenty of outdoor fun things to do in Lake Tahoe in the fall that underscore why living in Incline Village is a one-of-a-kind experience.
Lake Tahoe October Weather is Perfect for Fall Foliage
Despite sweltering July-August temperatures across Lake Tahoe and the West — this summer set a new world record for the hottest ever — one thing has been wonderfully absent throughout the Sierra Nevada: wildfire smoke (knock on wood).
With thick haze from regional fires often blanketing the region in past years, this summer has been a literal breath of fresh air, which should translate to phenomenal fall hiking. October treks not only offer exercise amid cooler temperatures, but they also provide unmatched views of fall foliage bursting from trees nestled in the Tahoe National Forest.
According to the U.S. Fall Foliage Prediction Map, colors will be most vibrant across the Sierra Nevada between October 2 through 23. With that timeframe in mind, here are three places to check out:
- Marlette Lake: Located a few miles east of Incline, Marlette Lake was constructed in 1873 when a small earthen dam was erected at the outlet of a broad glaciated basin that naturally drained into Lake Tahoe. Now, 150 years later, an intermediate 5-mile hike to the lake rewards adventurers with a vast array of reds, oranges, and yellows.
- Spooner Lake: For an easier all-ages hike, Spooner Lake Backcountry boasts 50 miles of flat trails near the Highway 28/50 intersection. Spooner Lake is surrounded by beautiful aspens and more than 12,000 acres of open space that explode with color in early October.
- Mount Rose Meadows: While this spot between Incline and Reno is known for mountain chickadees in winter and wildflowers in summer, it’s also an underrated venue for seeing fall colors. The hike to Mount Rose Summit and back is a challenging 10-mile trek, but trust us: Panoramic views of Tahoe and the superb fall colors that come with it are worth every step.
No Better Time to be on Lake Tahoe’s Shimmering Waters
After a colorful morning hike, add the cobalt blue waters of Lake Tahoe to your recreational palette with a relaxing float along the North Shore via kayak or stand-up paddleboard.
The fall shoulder season is among the best times to be on the lake, thanks to the perfect combination of not-too-cold water temps and fewer tourist boats rousing up waves.
The result is glassy water in the mornings that often stays calm into the afternoon, creating prime conditions for adventures along coves near Incline Village.
We’d like to give a particular nod to Stillwater Cove. Somewhat of a hidden gem for locals — in part due to land access available via the private lakefront resort of the same name — Stillwater Cove is aptly named for being sheltered from the wind, meaning this small sliver of Tahoe between Incline and Crystal Bay is great for paddling and wakeboarding.
Take a Trip on the Lake Tahoe Water Trail
Looking for other shoreline spots for on-water recreation? Look no further than the Lake Tahoe Water Trail, which divides the lake’s 72-mile circumference into seven-day trip segments for out-and-back or point-to-point paddles.
Water sports enthusiasts won’t have to travel far from Incline Village to enjoy the most popular stretch of the trail: the 15.9-mile Sand Harbor day trip, offering access to the remote and rocky shoreline of Tahoe’s East Shore. Since most of this area is publicly owned, several small inlets offer just enough beach to land for a quiet picnic lunch.
The trail covers the entire lake, so no matter where you opt to float, paddle, or waterski, just remember Lake Tahoe October weather can be fickle, so always wear a life vest and be aware of the potential dangers of cold water shock.
Wrap Up the Perfect Fall Tahoe Day Sipping Cold Craft Beer
The North Lake Tahoe Ale Trail is a unique resource for responsibly pairing one’s taste for delicious craft beer with an insatiable quest for outdoor adventure.
An interactive map takes you on fun recreational journeys — whether pedal, paddle, or hike — across North Lake Tahoe, with the endgame being a stop at a local watering hole to celebrate the day’s accomplishments.
Incline Village is well-represented on the trail, both for recreation and refreshments. Here are six local establishments to visit along the way:
- Mountain High Sandwich Company: This all-natural gourmet deli emphasizes fresh, healthy organic whole foods, a casual, friendly environment, and a variety of fresh brews and kombucha on tap.
- Alibi Ale Works: Incline’s flagship brewery started nearly a decade ago as a humble tasting room tucked away on Enterprise Street. Now a full-scale production brewery, Alibi boasts a cozy space for people to gather and enjoy plenty of diverse beers.
- Bite: Established in 2007, Bite American Tapas serves delectable American-style small plates to share, in addition to a full bar with a carefully curated craft beer, wine and cocktail list.
- Tunnel Creek Café: This ultra-popular mountain biking outpost offers rotating beer taps, along with canned beer, cider, hard kombucha, cocktails, wine, and hard seltzers.
- Pier 111: Owned by the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe, this famed pier bar has creative cocktails and drinks to accompany incomparable views of Lake Tahoe.
- Cutthroat’s Saloon: Inside the Hyatt, wind down after a fun day on the water or trails with gourmet pub food and more than two dozen seasonal and unique beers.
Whether hiking by morning, paddling by day, or biking for a brew in the afternoon, there’s never a shortage of fun things to do in Lake Tahoe in the fall.