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Lake Tahoe

Last summer I had the opportunity to spend a few days in Tahoe. There are so many amazing things to do in Tahoe and I wanted to make the most of the time we had. As much as I love Tennessee, there are no lakes like Tahoe with water as crystal clear and bright blue. We stayed at a friend’s cabin in Incline Village, which is north lake Tahoe. We were in Tahoe during the height of covid-19 and because there was not a lot of activities to do and since many people had vacations cancelled, Tahoe was a very popular destination. I was told before coming, it is like 4th of July weekend everyday, and that was very accurate. Our first night we hung out at the cabin and walked from the cabin to the walking path by the lake. I could not come to Tahoe without exploring at least one of the amazing hiking trails. So next day, after a relaxing morning at home, we embarked on our first adventure of the trip...Echo Lakes!

Backyard view from the cabin
View from our walk

Echo Lakes:

Location: Desolation Wilderness (near South Lake Tahoe)

Length: 5.3 miles out and back

Difficulty: Moderate - The terrain is rocky and uneven most of the time. The views are amazing, but you definitely want to watch your step.

Hours of operation: open all hours for backpacking

A brief history: The upper and lower lakes are connected by a channel. There is a boat service that can pick up hikers from the upper lake and bring them back to the parking lot at the lower lake.

The Washoe Indians used Echo Lakes for fishing and hunting until the late 1920s. When the settlers arrived, Echo Lakes summit became apart of Johnson’s Pass and became a place of trade. It was also a major distribution route for delivering mail. It begin with John Calhoun Johnson and was followed by the famous mountaineer and California’s “father of skiing”, Snowshoe Thomspon. He delivered mail from 1856-1876 and was never paid for his work. Fur trappers built the first cabin at Echo Lakes in 1872. There are now about 121 cabins along Echo Lakes.

Other notable facts: Echo lakes was apart of the Lincoln highway. It was the location of a training venue for the 1968 summer Olympics. Berkeley Family Camp, which is still around, started here in 1923. There is now a chalet, which brought in many new visitor, which was built by the Rocca family.

Read more about the history here and here!

About our hike:

Our first adventure took us to south lake Tahoe, the opposite side of where we were staying, to Echo Lakes. There are many amazing hikes, so it was hard to choose. Echo lake is a 5.3 mile hike with 2 gorgeous lakes, lower and upper echo lakes. If you have more time, you can continue on to Tamarack Lake or venture even further to Aloha Lake. Due to a sprained ankle from one family member, we stuck with the shorter hike. Click here for a list of the other hikes near Echo Lakes.

The fam <3

There is an unmarked path that takes you down to the upper lake. There is a sign for the water taxis, but it did not indicate it was the path to the upper lake. The path brings you to a dock where you can jump into the water and swim while surrounded by mountains. You can also boat here. There are boat taxis that can pick you up, but since we were here during the pandemic, they were not offering that service. There is not a lot of phone service during the hike. We split up at one point, so there wasn’t a way to contact each other if needed. It was heavily trafficked. We did not arrive until around 12:30, so on top of the fact there are extra people around right now, we also came at a popular hiking time. This hike is absolutely stunning and I highly recommend it! If you want less of a crowd, then I advise starting early.

Upper lake


We arrived at kings beach at around 9:30 and just made it before the parking filled up. Again, things were different due to covid and as soon as the parking fills, they close the lot and do not let new cars in (even after people leave). Our friends had a blow up kayak, stand up paddleboard and floaties, but Kings beach offers rentals for kayaks, SUPs (standup paddle boards) and jet skis (and if you get there before 11, you get a discount)! It was very sunny and hot so being on the water was so relaxing and felt amazing. **Make sure to wear and reapply sunscreen multiple times...the sun at a higher elevation will get ya. I got a little burn, but my poor sister burnt to a crisp. And she reapplied sunscreen.

Grab a book, a picnic, towels/chairs, sunscreen, and plenty of water and spend a relaxing day at the beach!

Click here for link to kings beach rentals.


We met up with some family friends for a day on the river. There are a few different companies, but we rented rafts with Truckee River Company. Each raft comfortably fits 4 adults, although you can squeeze more people on if you want. Depending on how much you paddle or how often you stop, the experience should last an average of 2-3 hours. There are spots to stop and swim along the way, as well as, porta potties along the river in case of an emergency! ;) They take you in a van from your parking place to the start of the river, and then shuttle you back to your car after. There is a restaurant at the end of the river, but we did not eat there. There is outdoor seating where you can watch as people come in from rafting. For lunch, we drove about 10 minutes to Tahoe City to Bridgetender Tavern (see below of list of restaurants). Click here for more about Truckee River Company.


This is an awesome place for pictures! Heads is a little tricky to find. If driving from incline village, it is about 2 miles past sand harbor beach. You will have to find street parking. I put bonsai rock in my google maps and when it said you were parallel, I looked for a path. It is a steep, sand path leading you down to the water. Although it’s doable in sandals or flip flops, I recommend wearing good shoes because it is steep and sandy. If you want to go to the rock, you’ll have to swim. We wanted to go at sunset so we arrived at golden hour and there was one person leaving the rock when we arrived. It was windy so the water was very choppy, but we swam out and climbed the rock to take in the stunning scenery of the sun going down over the water. It was gorgeous!

Bonsai rock at sunset
Sun setting over the lake as we headed back to our car


I recommend getting there BEFORE 9am if you want a spot. You can boat or kayak in, but once the lot fills, they don’t let new people in as the lot opens and they don’t let people walk in (this is how it was during the height of covid-19). Half our group was running behind and the lot was full by 9:30. Shoutout to the awesome people who picked them up on their boat from a different spot of the lake!

We spent another day reading and floating and paddleboarding on the lake. The cool thing about Sand Harbor is the rocks. You can walk or swim to the rocks and climb and explore.

Sand harbor also offers kayak, SUP and jet ski rentals.

**Parking: There are 2 parking lots, one for boats only (kayaks, paddleboards, boats, jet skis) and one for non-boats. They lead to different beaches, but there is a path connecting them. Don’t worry if you are in a group parked in different lots and you don’t see your people on the beach...they just may be at the next beach over! ;)

Click here for link to Sand Harbor Rentals!


Tahoe City:

Bridgetender Tavern for lunch

Incline Village:

Pizza from Azzara’s

Kings Beach:

Calientes for dinner (good wet burrito, pretty and delicious marg)

There is so much to do in Tahoe! I cannot wait to go back and explore more!

Hop on the “kara-van” and let’s take the adventurous route!

~Kara Renee’



Hey friend! Thanks for stopping by!

I'm Kara! I'm just a directionally challenged girl, who loves adventure! What most people call getting lost, I call taking the adventurous route! So jump on the "kara-van" and let's take the adventerous route!

Let's get lost together!​​



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