This past weekend we got to watch two of our friends tie the knot on top of Heavenly Mountain in South Lake Tahoe. What better excuse to plan a weekend adventure to one of the prettiest places in America!
We stayed with a big group of friends at Basecamp South Lake Tahoe, which was perfect. The renovated motel has fresh, hipster touches, nice smelling soap, 'smores, fire pits, and two hot tubs. There's a beer garden (with a yummy sour beer on tap) and happy hour daily. We wound up watching the Warriors game in the lobby on comfy leather Chesterfield sofas, where we met two other couples from The Bay. The hotel has access to a private beach just a few minutes walk down the road.
Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America, and the second deepest in the U.S. The lake was formed more than 2 million years ago, but took on it's current shape during the last ice age. There are a million things to do in Tahoe, but we opted to keep it mellow and save our energy for dancing. We hiked the Emerald Bay trail down to Vikingsholm and a super cute little beach.
The hidden castle was constructed in 1929 and was used as a private summer home. Designed to mimic a Scandinavian chateau, the castle features intricate hand-carvings, stone, a turret and a sod roof for insulation. The hike is only two miles round-trip, but when you factor in walking all the way to the car and back and exploring Eagle Waterfalls, we would up doing about five miles. The altitude made everyone a little short of breath, and the walk up pretty challenging even if you're used to SF's hills. The water, the little water falls and the amazing view are definitely worth it!
Getting there: Head out of The City (check traffic first!) and get yourself onto the Bay Bridge. Head East on 80 and follow the signs through the maze for Sacramento. Stay on 80 until Sacramento, and then follow signs for Highway 50 Lake Tahoe/Reno. Once you're through Placerville, Highway 50 narrows to one or two lanes. Keep to the right unless you're passing. Including a horrible traffic jam in The City, it took us about 4.5 hours on the way up. Get gas before Placerville--there are limited services on the way up the mountain.
FYI: There's an In-n-Out in Placerville :)