Days
<1
Motors Allowed?
Yes
Difficulty
Easy / Class A
Distance
?
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The beauty of the clean, clear water at Lake Tahoe is second to none. Sand Harbor State Park, on the eastern shore near Incline Village, Nevada, is one of the easier access points for kayaking. The easy access also helps to make it a popular choice for recreation, so be aware that parking in Sand Harbor frequently reaches capacity on peak summer mornings. Arrive early to avoid the line through the main gates.

The paddle from Sand Harbor to Kings Beach is roughly 7 miles from east to west and will require two vehicles for a shuttle (of course, no shuttle is needed for a there-and-back paddle). If you are going to paddle later in the day, consider beginning at Kings Beach and finishing at Sand Harbor to paddle with prevailing westerly afternoon winds. And don't forget to bring extra drinking water, lots of sunscreen, and a good hat to protect yourself from the intense high-altitude sun.

Once you have left the main boat launch area, the big granite boulders along the shore provide an excellent opportunity to explore the shore and the water's stunning, natural colors. Lake Tahoe's water clarity and depth is astounding. Bring a submersible temperature monitor to track the changes in water temperature according to depth. The lake stays cold year-round, and a full-body plunge can be pretty shocking to the system, even in July or August. Hypothermia settles in very quickly and is a common issue for swimmers.

Pack a lunch to enjoy it at either park (they both have picnic areas) or next to a big boulder in the lake. There are lots of boats making waves, so climb out and picnic on the granite if you get a little queasy. Otherwise, just get out there and enjoy some Tahoe blue!

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

State Park Fee

Pros

Great mountain views. Clear, deep water. Blue skies and clean air.

Cons

Busy in the summer. Crowded roads. Cold water.

Features

Picnic tables

Site characteristics: Water

Lake

Portage required

Yes

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Comments

Never had a bad day in Tahoe! One of my favorite places on Earth!
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