The Cedar Sport Hotel
10918 Brockway Road
Truckee, CA 96161
Just minutes from downtown Truckee, it fuses innovative architecture with the best of contemporary design, creating 42 rooms and suites in a hip European style. The merlot and camel color scheme is relaxing, as is the luxurious European bedding system with individual down comforters.
Rates range from $150 to $330.
The Ritz Carlton
13031 Ritz Carlton Highlands Ct
This is the ultimate in relaxation with its setting mid-mountain at the Northstar-at-Tahoe ski resort and just minutes from the beaches of North Lake Tahoe. The 170-room hotel has ski-in/ski-out accommodations, a premier spa and a two-night golf package (starting at $449 per night) that includes rounds at both Old Greenwood and Gray’s Crossing.
1850 W Lake Blvd
Tahoe City, CA 96146
There’s a reason this lakeside resort in Tahoe City bears this name, what with its roof-top sun deck and sun-splashed patio-bar just steps from the clear blue waters of Lake Tahoe.
With a little haggling, I was offered a two-night stay for $300, including $60 food/beverage credit, full breakfast, afternoon snack and half-bottle of sparkling wine – with a balcony and partial lake view.
10118 Donner Pass Road
Truckee, CA 96161-0353
Drunken Monkey Sushi
11253 Brockway road
Truckee, CA 96161
10007 Bridge Street
Truckee, CA 96161-0273
The roads around Lake Tahoe can get crowded, especially in summer with so much construction. But the drive from Graeagle to Truckee is serene and postcard perfect.
South of Graeagle take the Gold Lake Highway, which straddles the Pacific Crest Trail and cuts through the Lakes Basin Recreational Area, with more than 30 alpine lakes and streams in a 10-mile radius. Down the highway, a carpet of green moss grows skyward on the stately pines, leaving me scrambling out of snow banks to take in the intense colors.
I stopped at Gold Lake, then Goose Lake and finally Salmon Lake, where a man was treating his dog to a swim now that the ice has finally melted.
The only thing prettier is seeing a colt working out his fresh legs in the late afternoon sun near Sierraville.
Lagoon and Spa
Squaw Valley Ski Resort looks deserted in the summer, but ride a cable car to the 8,200-foot summit and indulge in the lagoon and spa. The free-form lagoon features 25-yard lap lanes and two islands landscaped with waterfalls and native boulders. Cable car ride and swim passes are $32.
Unwind on the water
One can sail, water-ski or jet-ski on the lake, but to combine the best of a workout and relaxation, try renting a kayak. On a quiet Monday, I paddled from Homewood High and Dry Marina (Tel: 530.583.7417) on the west shore until I could see Heavenly Ski Resort on the south shore. In between, the crystal-clear water seemed to change color four times, from teal to forest green then aquamarine and finally cobalt blue.
Reno, Carson City and Stateline, Nev., all offer plenty of casino action, as do Crystal Bay and Incline Village on Tahoe’s north shore.
There are 18 courses on the High Sierra trail, from Reno/Sparks in the northeast, Edgewood Tahoe to the south and Plumas Pines resort to the north in Graeagle, Calif.
Edgewood gets the most publicity because it serves as host to the American Century Classic with its celebrity players and Party by the Lake as dozens of boats dock alongside the famed 17th hole.
On the south shore of Lake Tahoe, it rates a 10 in beauty, with mountain backdrops, lake views and tree-lined fairways. But don’t forget lunch. Order the freshly seared ahi tacos from Brooks Bar and Deck, and stop for a banana chocolate malt at the turn, a decadent dessert-drink that will power you through the back nine.
Coyote Moon rates as one of the finest mountain courses in the country. It sits on 250 acres, amid towering pines, boulder outcroppings, and the beautiful Trout Creek in Truckee, Calif. – just 15 minutes from the north shore of Lake Tahoe. Just be prepared for any condition – even through the course of one round. On this late-June day, it was barely into the 50s when we teed off, with cool rain giving way to sunshine by the back nine. Two days earlier it was 71 and sunny and five days before that it snowed a foot.
Genoa Lakes Golf Club is south of Carson City, with breath-taking reflections of 10,633-foot Job’s Peak on its Lakes Course. Lush wetlands and the winding Carson River bring water into play on 14 holes of this links-style layout.
Whitehawk Ranch Golf Club may be one of the best courses you’ve never heard of. About an hour north of Truckee, on CA-89 North, the 6,983-yard layout is sculpted into the Mohawk Valley, cutting through pine, cedar, fir and aspen, and open meadows sprouting native grasses and colorful wildflowers. Pro Van Batchelder certainly fits into the countryside, with his cream-colored Stetson and wide-wale brown corduroys.
Other courses worth noting in the area include Old Greenwood, Timilick Tahoe, Incline Village, and Plumas Pines. For information on all of the courses, go to www.GolfTheHighSierra.com or call 877-332-4465.
Lake Tahoe and the surrounding area are a mecca for cyclists and mountain bikers from spring to early fall. Two events that draw thousands of participants are the most beautiful and most popular rides in the country.
The first bills itself as America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride and is held every year on the first Sunday in June. The course offers several distances, the longest, a 100 mile-century that takes the rider around the perimeter of Lake Tahoe (72 miles) and includes mountain climbs along the way between 800 and 1,300 vertical feet, with a 28-mile roundtrip spur to Truckee. The climb up Spooner Mountain is the longest at about 8 miles.
The second is the Downieville Classic, held every July, and is the longest and most demanding downhill mountain bike race in the nation, dropping more than 5,000 vertical feet in 17 miles from Packer Saddle to Downieville, a California town that derives its revenue from fishing, gold mining and mountain biking. After a record snowfall, officials this year are warning competitors to be wary of fast-moving water crossings and snowdrifts. Volunteers hope to eventually make the area the best for riding in California. For the less daring, there are plenty of milder trails, from Graeagle to the shores of Lake Tahoe.