Lake Tahoe's West Shore
The West Shore is perhaps one of the prettiest stretches of Lake Tahoe, made up of a dozen or so tiny, seasonally inhabited and thickly wooded resort communities, and lush, evergreen forests tumbling down its mountain sides to the very edge of the lake. There are of course ample national, state and local parks here, and a series of beach areas with public access, as well as a couple of smaller ski resorts—Granlibakken and Homewood.
Sunnyside and Tahoe Pines
Sunnyside is situated at the head of a crescent-shaped bay of the same name, near the north end of the West Shore, 2 miles south of Tahoe City. Along Sunnyside Bay is a sandy beach area, quite popular in the summertime, and to the back, Ward Canyon. In Sunnyside, a couple of establishments that have endured and continue to draw visitors are the Sunnyside Resort, fronting on the bay and a marina and housed in a remodeled, 1907 building, and the Fire Sign Café.
Tahoe Pines is another 2 miles or so south of Sunnyside along the lake. Its principal draws are the adjacent Blackwood Canyon and cliff-like, roadside Eagle Rock, and, on the lake side of the highway, the gray-walled Fleur du Lac, former estate of industrialist Henry J. Kaiser, and which provided the setting for parts of Godfather II and now houses multimillion-dollar condominiums.
Homewood and Chambers Landing
Homewood is a naturally-sheltered resort settlement perched at the head of McKinney Bay, some 2 miles south of Tahoe Pines. It enjoys a unique setting with a ski area on one side of the highway and a marina and seaplane facilities (seaplane tours are offered from here as well) on the other side. There is also a lakeside, outdoor concert venue here, where summer performances are held, located directly across from the ski area.
Just south of Homewood is Chambers Landing, which has one of the best sandy beaches at the lake, albeit small and with limited public access, enhanced by an 1870s waterfront clubhouse.
Sugar Pine Point State Park
Sugar Pine Point State Park, located roughly 8 miles south of Tahoe City, is one of the loveliest of Lake Tahoe’s parks, encompassing 2,000 acres of wooded parkland. It is abundant in mature sugar pines and other evergreens, with scores of nature trails meandering through it. To its southwest lies the Desolation Wilderness, to its north the rustic Tahoma tract, and to its east the lake. In the park, on the lake side of the highway, is the historic and picturesque Ehrman Mansion, built in 1903 and set on a splendid estate that tumbles down to the water’s edge along a dramatic green slope populated with groves of stately pines and gnarled cedars. Once acknowledged as “the finest High Sierra summer home in California,” it was the site of lavish buffet luncheons and summertime parties during the “Roaring 20s.” Park personnel now offer tours of the mansion during summer.
Meeks Bay and D.L. Bliss State Park
Meeks Bay, just south of Sugar Pine Point, is a beautiful, sheltered cove with a mile-long white-sand beach, and one of the best places at the lake to soak up a Tahoe summer. There are rental cabins and a couple of campgrounds here as well.
Immediately south of Meeks Bay is Rubicon Bay and, equally interestingly, Rubicon Point, the deepest point along the lake’s shoreline, where the lake bottoms out at 1,411 feet along a sheer, vertical drop.
And so to D.L. Bliss State Park, a 957-acre preserve with 14,640 feet of shoreline, which adjoins to the south of Rubicon. The park is notable mainly for two things: its lovely, wooded campground with nearly 200 campsites, and its unique rock formations. Of the latter it can be said that nowhere at the lake are so many large, well-rounded rocks to be found in one place as here, Particularly intersting among them is the Balancing Rock, an enormous mass of granite, seemingly delicately balanced on a natural pedestal, located just inside the park. There are also a few good trails in the park.
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