Car Free Journey: South Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe South

tahoe_aerialTahoe South (www.tahoesouth.com), a place of thrill-seeking adventure, is a magnificent destination in the Sierra Nevada, an eclectic resort community that straddles the California and Nevada borders.

With towering pines, scenic vistas and the magnificent cobalt blue waters that has made the lake famous and a favorite among Americans, Tahoe South offers A-list entertainment, top notch nightlife and world-class skiing and snowboarding.

Geographically Tahoe South is an easy region to navigate as a pedestrian with sidewalks that stretch from the casino corridor through South Lake Tahoe itself and by way as a rider-friendly network of public transportation buses, resort shuttles and skier transit shuttles. In summer Tahoe South transform into a bicycle-friendly community, with trail systems that connect along city streets and roadways, from one end to the other.

Getting to Tahoe South is best via Reno Tahoe International Airport, http://www.renoairport.com/) recently named one of the “Best Airports for Skiers” by SKI Magazine. Daily shuttle service for a fee is available via South Tahoe Express. (http://www.southtahoeexpress.com/) Shuttles leave the airport 10 times each day during winter and depart back to the airport just as frequently.

Shuttles drop guests and their luggage off at six major resort casino properties:

Heavenly Mountain Resort

Heavenly Mountain Resort

Most of the resorts are within walking distance to Heavenly Mountain Resort’s (http://www.skiheavenly.com/) famed gondola. From Lakeside Inn & Resort, Heavenly Mountain is a short cab ride away (it’s a long walk in the cold weather). Ski rentals are available at the Heavenly Village, so visitors won’t need to haul around ski gear.

If you’re a guest arriving on the South Tahoe Express Shuttle but not staying at one of the casino resort properties, there’s a transportation area where buses and shuttles are available can take you directly to any number of nearby resorts.

Among the resorts with free transportation shuttle services for guests are the Ridge Tahoe Resorts (http://www.ridgetahoeresort.com/) and Lakeland Village (http://www.astonlakelandvillage.com/).

968-park-bbq-event

968 Park Hotel

A hip, trendy and eco-friendly (LEED compliant) boutique hotel walking distance from the Heavenly Village is 968 Park Hotel (http://www.968parkhotel.com/). Resorts without shuttles are served by taxis, which do charge by the minute.

Because of Tahoe South’s geography, where resorts, hotels, casinos, shopping restaurants extend along the Highway 50 corridor, public transportation has been simplified and made easy for visitors.

The bus system is called the South Shore Transit System. (http://www.tahoetransportation.org/) It includes South Shore fixed-route service, the seasonal Nifty 50 Trolley, seasonal ski shuttles and commuter bus service to Carson City and the Carson Valley. The Tahoe Transportation District also provides ADA transit and on-demand service within the City of South Lake Tahoe, northern El Dorado County and western Douglas County.

With the integrated bus and shuttle system, skiers, boarders and sightseers have an affordable and environmentally-friendly option of getting to their ski destinations. Featured along the routes are specially-equipped ski shuttles to Heavenly Mountain Resort, which gives riders a chance to relax and soak in Lake Tahoe’s natural surroundings before they take to the mountain.

The ski shuttle buses stop at every major lodging property in and around Tahoe South. Also worth noting is that a number of new shelters have been installed around Tahoe South, designed to protect passengers from inclement weather, enhance rider comfort and safety, and improve impacts of storm water runoff into Lake Tahoe. More than a dozen shelters have been installed at Tahoe South. Considered visible landmarks, they are part of an overall plan that ties in transportation networks around the lake in an effort to integrate mass transit with walking, hiking and bicycle trails.

While most visitors know about local casinos, there is a wealth of other things to do during your stay. Attractions within walking distance or shuttle ride from casino operators include:

Scenic boat cruises from any number of local marinas.

Snowmobiling (shuttle from casinos to Zephyr Cove and they transport you to the trail head at Spooner.)

Sleigh Rides (short walking distance from MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa)

Shops. Heavenly Village is within walking distance of the casino area.

Ice skating: There are two facilities at Tahoe South, one Heavenly Village and one at the city’s ice arena which can be reached by shuttle or bus.

Movies at two theaters, one at Horizon casino and the other at Heavenly Village.

Dining at all casino resorts and Heavenly Village

Skiing via Heavenly, sightseeing and non-ski activities available also via Heavenly Gondola

Gaming (table games and slots) at the casino properties,

Nightlife entertainment at the resort casinos and Heavenly Village.

Here are more details about winter activities you can enjoy and the best locations for each:

Tahoe Queen

Tahoe Queen

The winter months feature breathtaking snowmobile rides; helicopter tours; snowshoe and cross country trails along beaches and trails surrounding South Shore, including Hope Valley, Fallen Leaf Lake and Camp Richardson along with boat cruises on the Tahoe Queen and M.S. Dixie II. (Shuttles are available from the casinos to the marinas and the Zephyr Cove Snowmobile Center)

Camp Richardson Resort has 35 kilometers of groomed trails through dense trees and snow-covered beaches with remarkable views of Lake Tahoe. An outdoor fire pit is located at the cross country center and is ideal to take the chill off following snow play. (Assessable via public transit)

Snowmobiling – Zephyr Cove Snowmobile Center offers tours from late November until mid-April, featuring lake views at 9,000 feet on the Nevada side four miles from the casino corridor. Lake Tahoe Adventures offers unguided snowmobile rentals for seasoned riders into the heart of Tahoe’s forest lands to the top of the mountain ridge and guided off-the-trail tours for less-experienced adventure seekers. Tours operate daily every hour from mid-November to May. Both locations feature moonlight snowmobile tours along with ride and dine options.

Sleigh and Sled Rides – Tour Tahoe’s snowy meadows in a horse-drawn sleigh with Borges Sleigh Rides. The Borges family’s antique European sleigh is drawn by Belgian Blondes and Baskir Curleys from Russia. It takes riders for a one-hour tour over the meadow and through the woods, past Friday’s Station – the only remaining Pony Express station from a by-gone era in Nevada. (Walking distance)

Ice Skating – Heavenly Village provides a lighted, outdoor ice-skating rink where families can enjoy a crisp Tahoe evening the center of the attractive mountain village. (Walking distance) The City of South Lake Tahoe ice arena, located in the Recreation Complex, 1.5 miles from the Village, NHL-size rink and full service indoor facility with pro shop, café, regular drop-in hockey, freestyle, lessons and a great value in public skating. (Public Transit)

For More Information

For real time updates on events, promotions, packages, conditions and events in Tahoe South, The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority is on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TahoeSouth, Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TahoeSouth, YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/LTVA. For Tahoe South information: 1-800-288-2463 or http://www.tahoesouth.com.

Do you have a favorite vacation spot that can be enjoyed without a car? E-mail your ideas to steveatlas45@yahoo.com. Please include your contact information so Steve can get back to you with any questions.

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