Best Paddle Spots in Tahoe South
Paddling in Lake Tahoe provides some of the best views not seen anywhere else in the world. It allows you access to remote areas where trails don't exist. You can find large boulders to dive off, or enjoy the views not only around you, but below as well. The options are unlimited! Here are some of the best Tahoe South has to offer!
Rubicon Point inside DL Bliss state park is the perfect spot for a paddle. The parking lot is an easy walk to the beach. From the water, you see the huge granite boulders that are ideal for jumping off. You can take a leisurely paddle through Rubicon Bay and experience the underwater boulders and stacked rocks. For the more adventurous, follow the shoreline and see the Rubicon Hiking Trail that connects to Emerald Bay. Along the way try to spot the retired lighthouse built in 1916. There is a day/access fee of $10.
Cave Rock is another iconic Tahoe location not to be missed. From the water, the magnitude of it is put into perspective as it towers overhead. It's easy to understand why Cave Rock was sacred to the Washoe Native American tribe. The winds are stronger on the east shore. Make sure to paddle either early mornings or evenings. Cave Rock has a small public beach that serves as a good launching site. There is a day/access fee of $10.
Upper and Lower Echo Lakes are hidden gems near Tahoe South. Lower Echo Lake has beautiful scenic walls of huge granite and heavily wooded trees. Both Upper and Lower Echo Lakes have summer cabins sprinkled around the shoreline that is only accessible by boat. Follow the narrow channel to reach Upper Echo Lake. At the end of Upper Echo Lake, the trail for Desolation Wilderness meets. You must get your personal vessel inspected by an attendant beforehand. There is a $5 launch fee. Parking is free but limited.
The stand-up paddle trip to the iconic Emerald Bay is beautiful. You can launch from any South Lake Tahoe public beach, but Kiva beach is the only one with free parking. Once you launch, you'll have Mount Tallac and its famous snow cross to the left. Look right and you can see Heavenly Mountain Resort. During either early mornings or evenings, the water will be calm enough to straight-line the two miles to the mouth of Emerald Bay. By mid-day, the waters get rougher. It's recommended to follow the shoreline. The entire trip around Emerald Bay is seven miles.