As much as the pristine nature of Lake Tahoe is imagined in travelogues and brochure descriptions, it remains a “working” lake contributing to the tourist economy of the region as well as the place where locals turn for recreation. Much of the shoreline is in private hands so even a casual glance around the lake will reveal the hand of man on the shore and in the water. However, except in a few places where the population swells, this aggregation of man-made intrusions is dwarfed by the size of the the lake’s surface and the surrounding mountains, along with the great bowl of the sky hanging overhead. Wharfs, jetties, docks – these all jut into the lake for just a few yards beyond which is an immense space that feels untrammeled by humans.
There are several commercial ventures that use the lake but seemingly all for tourism. Except for the sport fishing and water flowing to Truckee there appears to be no extractive activities around the lake. Instead, boats ply the surface carrying people from one point to another, or just wander around so tourists can view the shore from a different perspective. The few coves offer a more intimate water experience.
And if being on the water isn’t of interest, you can simply sit at the water’s edge and watch the lake color change as the sun moves across the sky.
There’s even a way to visit the lake from the sky, directly from your boat.
Alpine lakes that are remote and difficult to get to have a stark beauty about them but I believe much of their appeal is simply due to inaccessibility, rave reviews brought back by the very few people willing to endure the effort required to reach them. This lake is readily accessible (some would say too much so) and can be enjoyed in many ways, providing a visual feast from whatever angle or perspective you chose to take. Its size so overshadows the little intrusions by man you can still get a sense of being a visitor to a place that remains unmoved by our presence.