Snow has receded to all but the highest ridges around Lake Tahoe, signaling the start of a busy summer season in the northern California mountains.
While down below boats roar around the lake and jackpot-seekers stuff slot machines, the mountain terrain above offer lift rides to scenic views, mountain biking and hiking trails galore, and more specialty activities to challenge mind and body during the summer season.
Here are some featured activities for those who venture into the high country above Lake Tahoe this summer:
Northstar. Lessons at the Northstar Bike Academy include Bike 101 for newbies to mountain terrain pedaling, group mountain biking sessions, and Bumps and Bends workshops for experienced riders. A summer racing series pits competitors in endure, downhill and cross-country races.
Heavenly. The resort has installed an “adventure park at the top of the gondola:” three ropes courses and a new 3,300-foot zipline to join with a climbing wall, spider climber and tubing hill all at the mountain summit. A kids’ play area called Black Bear is free with the purchase of a gondola ride to the top.
Kirkwood. A Frisbee flies farther at 7,800 feet elevation, so the resort’s DiscWood disc golf course gets plenty of play – and it’s free. The 18-hole course covers 6,590 feet just above the base area but doesn’t open until July 4.
Squaw Valley. For the treasure hunters in us all, Squaw offers up the Geocachers program. A 2,000 vertical-foot ride up the Aerial Tram drops off at High Camp, at 8,200-foot elevation. Participants use GPS units of their own or rented from the resort to locate 10 caches stashed around the mountaintop.
Alpine Meadows. The popular Five Lakes hiking trail is touted as one of the easiest and most accessible hikes in the Granite Chief Wilderness Area on the north end of Lake Tahoe. The trail begins near base of the resort and winds four miles and 900 feet in elevation to the backside of granite-and-volcanic rock walls of KT 22.
Photo: The views of Lake Tahoe are gorgeous from Heavenly Resort (Heavenly/Facebook)