Shimmering softly in myriad shades of blue and green, Lake Tahoe, which straddles the California-Nevada state line, is one of the most beautiful lakes in the USA and also its second deepest with an average depth of 1000ft. Driving around the lakeshore’s 72 miles would give you quite a workout behind the wheel, but also reward you with spellbinding scenery. Generally speaking, the north shore is quiet and upscale, the west shore rugged and old-timey, the east shore undeveloped and the south shore busy and a tad tacky with aging motels and gaudy casinos.
The sun shines on Tahoe three out of four days in the year, making it ideal for outdoor pursuits of all stripes. Swimming, boating, kayaking, windsurfing and other water-based activities are all popular, as are hiking and camping among the horned peaks around the lake. Winter brings bundles of snow, perfect for hitting the slopes at more than a dozen ski resorts.
Unfortunately, the news isn’t all good: the lake is gradually losing its famous clarity. Development, erosion, runoff and air pollution reduce visibility by about 1.5ft every year. Steps are underway to stop this decline, but the challenge is enormous and the future remains murky.