All posts by Matt

Taylor Creek Visitor Center

If you are looking for a fantastic and free family activity when you visit Lake Tahoe, be sure to take in the Taylor Creek Visitor Center. This is an interpretive learning center that the whole family will enjoy (including leashed pets). There are four flat and easy trail loops that explore the wetlands and wildlife habitats adjacent to South Lake Tahoe.

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Fall highlights include the spawning run of the Kokanee Salmon and the brilliant red and gold colors of the Aspen trees. If you are fortunate (and careful) you may also see local black bears that come to feed on the salmon. Bald Eagles, Beavers, Raccoons, Deer, Ducks and other wildlife also frequent the creek area.

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The Stream Profile Chamber (people aquarium) is an attraction which allows people to walk down into an underground chamber and view the stream habitat as it flows on the other side of glass walls, around the curved room. Kids can see the trout and crayfish swimming below the water and the beaver dam above.

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The Taylor Creek Visitor Center is open from Memorial Day through October and is closed in the winter. This is an excellent Lake Tahoe family activity. There is ample parking, restrooms and the trails are wheelchair accessible.

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Wally’s Huddle Grill and Tavern

Local Roadside Beer Garden – Restaurant in South Lake Tahoe

When you visit Lake Tahoe, a good way to get a feel for the nostalgia of 1950’s Tahoe and rub shoulders with the locals, would be to stop in at Wally’s Huddle Grill and Tavern. Formerly known as “Sam’s” for many years, Wally’s Huddle is located on Highway 50 in Marla Bay, between Roundhill and the Zephyr Cove Resort.

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Recently remodeled and open for business, Wally’s offers pub fare such as fish and chips, burgers and pizzas. The selection of draft beers on tap is limited but they offer a Tahoe Pale Ale that is quite tasty. Sit by the fireplace or, in nicer weather, enjoy the waterfall and beer garden out back.

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Our visit included chips and salsa, fish and chips, a French dip sandwich with fries, two iced teas and a Tahoe Pale Ale and the bill came to $35.56. The prices are good and the food was very good. The customer service was also pleasant.

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There is ample seating at the bar to watch a game and socialize or there are plenty of tables to enjoy a bite with friends. Play a game of pool and unwind in a relaxed and informal atmosphere at this restaurant in South Lake Tahoe.

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If you are going….

Wally’s is located at 611 Hwy 50,  Zephyr Cove,  NV 89448.

Map to Wally's Huddle
Map to Wally’s Huddle – Restaurant in South Lake Tahoe

 

 

 

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Lake Tahoe Rubicon Trail

Recently, while visiting Lake Tahoe,  I turned 50 years old. My children don’t believe it and opine that I was around when the Tahoe Basin was carved out by glaciers. Anyway, I really wanted to hike the Rubicon Trail for my birthday and approached my beautiful wife with the idea. After thinking about it for half a nanosecond or so and having the enthusiasm of someone forced to spend the entire day at the DMV, she reluctantly acquiesced, deciding that I needed supervision after the Eagle Lake episode.

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The 6.6 mile trail starts at Vikingsholm Castle at the tip of Emerald Bay and ends at DL Bliss State Park. The trail runs right along the shoreline or within view of Lake Tahoe almost its entire distance. The walk took us three hours from 0840 to 1140 and according to my beautiful chaperone, was one of the most beautiful hikes she has ever been on. For comparison purposes, I have dragged her through Yosemite Valley and the Bavarian Alps and this walk was one of her favorites.

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It is hard to state the breathtaking beauty of this walk and pictures cannot do it justice. In my opinion, the Rubicon is one of the best hiking trails in Lake Tahoe. It is a moderate, mostly flat hike with some gradual grades. The steepest part of the trek is the first mile down from the parking lot to Vikingsholm Castle. I recommend leaving a car at DL Bliss State Park and then, parking a second car, starting your journey from The Vikingsholm/Eagle Falls parking lot. This way, your steepest grade is downhill.

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We traveled on August 15th and the weather was perfect although by the end of the hike we were very warm. We each used about a quart of water. I cannot overstate the importance of getting here as early as possible. After 9:00 AM, the parking lots are full and the highway is jammed. It cost $10.00 to park in each parking lot but it was well worth it. At the end of the journey, there were flush toilets and sinks at the DL Bliss Parking lot instead of the plastic porta-potties at the Eagle Falls parking lot. There are vault toilets at Vikingsholm Castle which is very much worth the extra time to see when you visit Lake Tahoe.

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The trail itself was dusty but unforgettable. Remember to stop frequently and just soak in the breathtaking views. Much of the hike is in the shade or near the water so it keeps you cool. If you go, have been, or want to visit Lake Tahoe, I would love your perspective and input. Happy trails!

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Here is a one-page trail map you can print and take with you: http://www.tahoeadventuresports.com/hikeindex/west/rubiconmapandprofile.htm

Emerald Bay Snip

Heidi’s Restaurant in South Lake Tahoe

You cannot go wrong stopping in for breakfast at Heidi’s when you visit Lake Tahoe. Heidi’s restaurant features hearty breakfasts in a Scandinavian inspired atmosphere. The distinct yellow chalet can be found in the center of South Lake Tahoe in the Bijou shopping center right next to the CVS pharmacy. You can’t miss the bright yellow chalet right next to Highway 50/South Lake Tahoe Blvd.

Heidis exterior

The interior is covered with hardwood, knotty pine and features numerous wooden booths for seating. You would expect to see a Black Forrest cuckoo clock on the wall, reminiscent of Bavaria. There is a mural of the Matterhorn to complete the setting.

Heidis dining room

I had the opportunity to take a beautiful woman out to breakfast the other day and we stopped into Heidi’s which was very busy but it was only moments for a table. The service was excellent and the food high quality and plentiful. You will not be leaving here hungry. In addition to breakfast, Heidi’s has a wide variety of food options including lunch items.

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My wife chose the chicken fried steak and eggs and I opted for the Joe’s Special omelet. With a coffee and an iced tea, the bill came to $37.55. Although the restaurant had a lot of hustle and bustle, moving diners in and out, we were not made to feel rushed and the servers were attentive.

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We both enjoyed our meals and would recommend stopping at Heidi’s Restaurant in South Lake Tahoe. Come enjoy our hospitality!

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Heidi’s Menu: http://heidislaketahoe.com/?page_id=11

Open Daily
7am-2pm
(530) 544-8113

3485 Lake Tahoe Blvd
South Lake Tahoe, CA
96150

Map Snip

Bijou Park, South Lake Tahoe

You have GOT to be kidding me… So I dropped my teenagers off at the soccer field at Lake Tahoe Community College for practice at 8:00 a.m. I was in the mood for some quiet time and ready to enjoy the peace and quiet of the morning. Bijou Park, South Lake Tahoe is directly across the street from the College, at 1201 Al Tahoe Blvd. South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150. Inspired by the promise of serenity, I headed over to the park.

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Bijou Park is a beautiful, sprawling, full service park that has a surprising number of amenities. As I walked through in the early morning hours, I headed to the very far back corner near the meadow. There, I found a bench in the trees next to a Gazebo picnic area where I could sit and enjoy the solitude and quiet. There was hardly anyone in the park at that hour. Hoping to catch a glimpse of some deer feeding in the meadow or maybe one of our local bears wandering through, I was enjoying the fragrance and peace of the forest.

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It was at this point that I noticed a maintenance truck pulling a trailer, drive into the park. I watched with casual interest as the truck navigated its way through the park and continued on towards the remote corner in which I sat. The truck continued coming closer until it pulled up to the curb, pointed directly at me. I became a bit alarmed when the truck drove up and over the curb onto the shredded bark and drove straight towards me.

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With alarm turning to fear, the truck approached the bench where I was sitting and stopped within a few feet of my knees. Leaving the truck idling with the headlights shining in my face, the driver waved and hopped out. Walking to the trailer, he fired up a generator and yelled over the top of the deafening roar that he needed to clean the picnic area for a party. He then proceeded to pressure wash the gazebo blasting clouds of dirt and high pressure mist in all directions.

As I got up and moved away from the bright lights and roaring engines, I had to laugh as I peered through the man made storm to see that he and I were the only two people visible in the entire park! This anecdote may give you some insight into the kind of luck I have but don’t let it detract you from visiting the park! I love that the City does an excellent job of keeping it very clean.

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Bijou Park, South Lake Tahoe is huge and contains two very clean covered gazebo picnic areas with barbeque pits in addition to a:

  • Basketball court
  • BMX Bike Park with air pump station
  • Fenced dog park, open to the public
  • Historic railroad exhibit
  • One of the top disc golf courses in the country
  • Open meadow, great for walking, relaxing or getting steam cleaned!
  • Restroom / concession facility
  • Skateboard park
  • Volleyball courts
  • Children’s playground

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I hope you stop by and enjoy a really wonderful park! For further info or to reserve a picnic area, go to http://cityofslt.us/index.aspx?nid=298

Don’t Worry, Be Happy! – Live Music in South Lake Tahoe

This is my message to you  – fellow Parrot Heads and Rasta’s…

If you need to change your latitude this summer and can’t get away to the Islands, the Lake Tahoe Raggae Festival at the Hard Rock Casino may be just the ticket when you visit Lake Tahoe.

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Two of the bands this year have Hawaiian roots: “Pepper” hails from Kona and comes to us by way of San Diego. Mike Love is from Oahu. Ky Mani Marley and Don Carlos are both from Jamaica.

Each vocal group reflects their heritage and provides a good variety of musical styles. “Israel Vibration” has a traditional sound with an excellent tune called “My Master’s Will” that I really enjoy.

There is sure to be something you will enjoy and the live music festival in South Lake Tahoe.  If you are in Tahoe, everything is going to be alright!

For tickets: http://www.ticketfly.com/event/1218497

For event info: http://hardrockcasinolaketahoe.com/entertainment-events/4th-annual-lake-tahoe-reggae-festival/

Lodging suggestions: Four star lodgings are available at Harvey’s and Harrah’s right next door or the Marriott Timber Lodge Resort  is one block away.

A Sea Monster in Eagle Lake

Look mommy a sea monster! This is how the hike ended but let me share with you how it began…

Today I went on a simple hike to Eagle Lake which is just above Emerald Bay. I arrived at the trail-head parking lot at 0830 and took the last parking spot available. After getting my day use permit and paying my $5.00 parking fee, I set out on my trek. For the benefit of the reader, I am 50 years old, overweight and out of shape. I wanted to see how navigable this trail was for a variety of hikers.

The trail to Eagle Lake from the parking lot is well maintained, well-marked and consists largely of granite stairs/steps.

Granite stairs
Granite stairs

Upper Eagle Falls come quickly into view and a bridge crosses the falls providing views up and down a gorge. The walk was very pleasant and provided breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay. I saw several pregnant women, scores of children and the elderly all navigating the trail without issue.

Upper Cascade Falls with bridge to Eagle Lake trail.
Upper Eagle Falls with bridge to Eagle Lake trail.

One hour later, after numerous stops for pictures and sightseeing, I arrived at Eagle Lake. What a beautiful place! The craggy granite bowl and peaks that frame the lake were extraordinary. The lake is relatively small and I could see the whole circumference. This is where the simple hike began to go south.

Eagle Lake
Eagle Lake

I was standing at the headwaters of the creek that left Eagle Lake and fed Eagle Falls. I hatched the idea that it would be a great idea to go see the creek coming from Velma Lake that filled Eagle Lake. After all, I could both hear and see the spot where that creek entered Eagle Lake. If I was standing at 6:00, the other creek was about 11:00. It looked like a nice stroll around the lake with the navigation of a small field of boulders on the opposite side but hey, no big deal, they didn’t look that big from where I was standing! I would go find a nice spot in the shade, listen to the brook, smoke my pipe and watch the fish jump. I briefly noted that the only people visible were all enjoying the bottom of the lake around the 6:00 position with no one visible anywhere else. Undeterred by such trivial observations, I set out in a counter clockwise direction.

Visitors frolic in Eagle Lake
Visitors frolic in Eagle Lake

The day was very warm and I had neglected to wear bug spray because it was morning and I didn’t think the mosquitoes would be out yet. They weren’t – but the flies were, and in abundance. I’m not sure if the sight of an old fat guy flailing wildly at the air while climbing through the bushes was alarming or entertaining. I discovered by the time I reached the 2:00 position that nature never intended for people to traverse the perimeter of the lake. Those of you to follow would be better served by enjoying the accessible part of the lake and then going back the way you came.

Strongly resisting the alarm bells of reason that were sounding in my brain and instead of going back to a place where I could enjoy the lake, I suppressed good sense and forged ahead. I could almost hear my wife telling me that this was not a good idea but she had elected to not accompany me on this hike – I’m not sure why. Her parting words as I left the house had something to do with “old and foolish” but I’m sure she was just kidding; she’s likes to tease me like that. She tried in earnest to send me with a chaperone but I insisted “I’ve got this!”

Gateway to Desolation Wilderness
Gateway to Desolation Wilderness

By the time I bushwhacked my way through nearly impenetrable foliage, I arrived and the field of small boulders which actually ranged in size from as big as my truck to as big as my house. Determined to win I forged ahead. Remember that this was a very warm day. A field of granite in the direct sun was not unlike crawling across the surface of the sun. As I dragged myself up and over rough granite trying not to plummet to the bottom, my legs became cut up and bruised. I now alternated between hanging on for dear life and hopping around on the blistering hot rocks like a spastic monkey. Add in the flailing at the flies and I must have been quite the spectacle for the rational folks.

At one point I stopped to put my heart back in my chest and enjoy a bout with heat stroke. As I clung to the side of a rock by my teeth and fingernails, a passerby happened upon me. He was hanging by a rope with a harness and a bandolier of caribeaners around his chest. He yelled down to his belay person, some very unkind things about my mental capacity and decision making, which I will not repeat here. He obviously has no taste for adventure.

Finally clearing the field of boulders, I bushwhacked through another impenetrable thicket of thorns, weeds, and sticks, much taller than I was, to reach the creek. Upon arriving at the creek, the brush was so dense that the water could only be glimpsed underneath the thick canopy of brush. I began looking for a way across it because thus far, except for the bleeding, I was still dry. As luck would have it, there was no way across. I fought my way to the mouth of the creek where it enters Eagle Lake and determined that the only way across was to wade across the mouth of the creek where it was shallow. Makes total sense, after all, I could see the sand mere inches below the water! I stepped out and down in the same instant. Sinking up to my knees in silt, the struggle to free myself propelled me forward. Finally able to free my legs from the silt and mud, I found myself in the middle of the creek in water up to my chest. At this point I realized three things: it was a very good thing that my briar pipe full of Captain Black Dark and my beef jerky were in the top pocket of my day pack near my shoulders. It was not a very good thing that my $800 Samsung smart phone was in the cargo pocket of my shorts two feet below the water, and third, the water really felt very nice and was an excellent complement to heat stroke!

Of course there was no way out on the opposite bank so I tripped and fell and waded along the shore until I could pull myself out onto a blistering hot granite boulder. At this point a large, unidentifiable creature covered in mud and sticks pulling itself out of the lake onto a rock may have startled more than a few. (My apologies to the tourism folks). I laid on the rock catching my breath until my clothes and I started to smolder from the heat. I was at the 10:00 position on the lake. I did get to briefly enjoy an Eagle soaring overhead but when the fish started to both laugh and curse at me, I knew it was time to go.

View of Emerald Bay from Eagle falls trail
View of Emerald Bay from Eagle falls trail

Finally making it back to the trail, I took a last look at Eagle Lake and headed back down the hill. The look of fear and concern on the faces of the tourists coming toward the lake was a bit much I think. Some averted their eyes, shielded their children or asked if I needed an ambulance. Geez, you would think they had never seen a red faced wheezing, bleeding, fat man covered in mud and sticks squishing down the trail leaving behind a trail of water before!

I made it back to the parking lot at 1117 hours. When I got home, my wife took one look at me and muttered some things very similar to the guy on the rope about my mental capacity but I can’t really repeat that here. She is such a kidder!

I highly recommend hiking to Eagle Lake, drinking in the majesty, splashing in the water and then going back out the way you came.

I am putting together another hike soon so if you need a tour guide, just drop me a note! Happy trails!

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American Century Celebrity Golf Championship – South Lake Tahoe Golf

On July 19-24, 2016, the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship is being held here at Edgewood Golf Course in South Lake Tahoe.

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Attention golfers: Edgewood Tahoe offers the best in South Lake Tahoe Golf. This beautiful South Lake Tahoe Golf Course sits right on the shore with spectacular views of our Alpine Lake and the surrounding mountains.

The American Century Celebrity Golf Championship is a week of play, action, and excitement in beautiful South Lake Tahoe. 80 Pro Athletes and Hollywood Celebrities will compete for their share of a $600,000 purse and the coveted American Century Championship Cup. For more information about the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship please visit: AmericanCenturyChampionship.com

Harveys Lake Tahoe Promotions – Check out Our Best Rates

This event fills up local hotels so don’t delay in making your reservations. Harrah’s, Harvey’s, Mont Bleu, the Hard Rock and the Lakeside Casinos are all within walking distance of the course, as is the Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel (formerly the Embassy Suites).

Local’s Tip: For an excellent cigar during and after your round of golf, be sure to visit the Lake Tahoe Cigar Shop on the ground floor of Mont Bleu Casino. The owner, Blythe, is very knowledgeable and friendly and the shop features a walk-in humidor as well as a full line of tobacco products and sports apparel.