Lake Tahoe Fall Color

There is a distinct change in North Lake Tahoe come fall. With the summer crowds gone, the region loses its hustle and bustle and instead encourages visitors to enjoy the area at a more leisurely pace.

One of the best ways to immerse yourself in all things Tahoe fall is to get in the thick of it – literally. Hiking and mountain biking trails twist and turn through forests adorned with changing foliage that boasts the full spectrum of yellows from apens trees that make a striking contrast against the reigon’s pines.

Visitors can embrace the fall solitude on several of Tahoe’s trails, but a favorite is the famed Tahoe Rim Trail, a 165-mile trail that loops around Lake Tahoe, specifically the Mt. Rose’s Trail off Highway 267. This five to six-mile, roundtrip trail is rated medium in difficutly and has hikers climbing a sandy slope, meandering past a waterfall and wrapping up with picturesque views of the entire Tahoe Basin.

The guided Donner Party Hike, October 13-14, is steeped in foliage and history. Hikers walk the trails of early pioneers and learn about the success of the Stephens Party, the tragic events of the Donner Party and the importance of the transcontinental railroad.

But the changing leaves is just one of many ways to celebrate autumn in North Lake Tahoe. Also gaining steam are a steady stream of festivals geared for all ages.

The Village at Squaw Valley transforms into a miniature Bavaria for the 11th Annual Oktoberfest September 29 with its Bratwurst Toss and plenty of authentic German beer for tasting. Guests can indulge without guilt by participating in the Oktoberfest Run to Squaw, held prior to the event, a 7.9-mile course that travels along the scenic Truckee River from Tahoe City to Squaw Valley.

The Resort at Squaw Creek will host its 2nd Annual Harvest Festival October 5-14 in Olympic Valley. The event features bluegrass music, hayrides, pumpkin painting, pie-eating contest, pumpkin bowling, glow ball golf, autumn-themed spa treatments, a beer garden, live music and a fall artisan craft faire. The property’s Six Peaks Grille keeps with the season by providing a bounty of fall harvest cuisine that includes pumpkin pie and caramel apple martinis along with scallops with pumpkin ravioli.

Lake Tahoe Restaurant Week, October 7-14, also takes advantage of the seasonal produce and offers organic three-course lunches and dinners for $20, $30 or $40/person at historic eateries throughout the region. No copuons or tickets are required to take part.

The Tahoe City Downtown Association hosts the 8th Annual Tahoe City Harvest Festival October 6-20 with a traditional Cobblestone Oktoberfest along with an Uncorked! German Wine Tasting (October 6), Scarecrow Sprint & Stroll with its 5K and 10K runs (October 13), Zombie Pub Craw (October 13), Gatekeeper’s Ghost Walk (October 18) and the Felt-A-Pumpkin Workshp for arts and crafts lovers (October 20).

In Incline Village, the Oktoberfest and Community Fair, October 13, is a perfect occasion for families to get into the fall spirit. Attendees indulge in grilled brats, peruse arts and craft vendor booths and rock out to live music – all at the Village Center.

Spirits of days gone by are summoned to haunt the streets of historic Truckee during the adults-only Historical Haunted Tour October 18-19. The walking tour attracts more than 300 attendees and 60 volunteers and features tales of yore with a memorable and entertaining twist at Truckee’s historic gems and watering holes. The spooky event begins with a glass of wine, interesting characters and a prize-packed raffle at Moody’s.

In Incline Village, the Trails of Treats and Terror, a special event geared for kids, is October 25. Costumed guests follow a trail to different locations that are rated by “fright factor.” In the past, there has been a graveyard gala, pumpkin photos and ghoulish games, dark theatre and haunted halls.

For more information about fall foliage trails, as well as autumnal events in North Lake Tahoe, as well as get connected via social media channels, click to the North Lake Tahoe Visitors Bureaus’ website at The site’s Cool Deals tab is updated daily with deals and savings on lodging and activities.

North Lake Tahoe is a 45-minute drive from the Reno Tahoe International Airport, two hours from Sacramento International Airport and just over three hours from San Francisco International Airport. Visitor information centers are located at 100 North Lake Boulevard in Tahoe City and 969 Tahoe Boulevard in Incline Village. The North Lake Tahoe Visitors Bureaus, the Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau and the North Lake Tahoe Chamber/CVB/Resort Association, work together to promote North Lake Tahoe as a premier, year-round destination.

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