Learn What Makes Lake Tahoe So Special

There’s a lot to love about South Lake Tahoe. Its vast, clear waters have been the backdrop for movies and TV shows, and its impressive size ranks it among North America’s largest. Check out some fun Lake Tahoe facts to get acquainted with our piece of paradise before you arrive.

Blue water next to the pine trees and towering mountains


  • 63 tributaries feed Lake Tahoe, however there is only one going out of the lake – the Truckee River.
  • Lake Tahoe is the largest freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada and the largest alpine lake in North America. At 122,160,280 acre feet, only the five Great Lakes are larger by volume.
  • Lake Tahoe’s deepest point is 1,645 feet, making it the second-deepest in the United States after Crater Lake in Oregon.
  • Approximately 2/3 of the shoreline of Lake Tahoe is in California.
  • Lake Tahoe straddles two states – Nevada and California. There are two state lines around the lake – one in South Lake Tahoe and the other in Crystal Bay on the North Shore.
  • At its longest and widest point, Lake Tahoe measures 22 miles.
Pine trees next to the blue water and the snow-dusted mountains


  • Lake Tahoe does not get its iconic blue tint because the water is so clear. Instead, the lake’s blueness comes from the amount of algae in the water.
  • Tahoe’s clarity has impressed visitors since the time of Mark Twain in the 1880s. Historical accounts indicate the water may have been as clear as 120 feet during that time. Source: KeepTahoeBlue.org
  • Lake Tahoe is so clear that in some places, objects can be seen in depths of over 70 feet. One reason is that 40 percent of precipitation falling into the Lake Tahoe Basin falls directly upon the Lake. The remaining precipitation drains through marshes and meadows, which are a good filtering system for water. Source: KeepTahoeBlue.org
  • Lake Tahoe is one of the most pure bodies of water in the world with 99.994% of the water pure. Commercially distilled water is 99.998% pure.)
  • If you took all of the water out of Lake Tahoe and poured it onto an area the size of California, the water would still be 14 inches deep.
  • The amount of water in Lake Tahoe (39 trillion gallons) is enough to supply each person in the US with 50 gallons of water per day for five years.
Ice formation rocks on the mountain with tall trees overlooking the lake

tv & Film

  • Scenes from Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner’s The Bodyguard were filmed in South Lake Tahoe and nearby Fallen Leaf Lake.
  • The 1974 film The Godfather Part II used the lakeside estate Fleur de Lac as the location of several scenes, including the elaborate First Communion celebration, the Senator’s shakedown attempt of Michael, the assassination attempt on Michael, Michael disowning Fredo, Carmela Corleone’s funeral, Fredo’s death while fishing, and the closing scene of Michael sitting alone outside.
  • Fleur de Lac, on the western California shore of Lake Tahoe, was formerly the Henry Kaiser estate. The surrounding lakeside area has been developed into a private gated condominium community and some of the buildings of the “Corleone compound” still exist, including the boathouse.
  • The Ponderosa Ranch of the TV series Bonanza was formerly located on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe near Incline Village The opening sequence of the TV series was filmed at the McFaul Creek Meadow, with Mount Tallac in the background. In September 2004 the Ponderosa Ranch closed its doors, after being sold to developer David Duffield for an undisclosed price.
A wide shot of trees surrounding the lake during sunset


  • Tahoe means “big water” in Washo, the native language of the Native Americans who first inhabited the area.
  • For many thousands of years, Lake Tahoe was occupied only by Native American tribes. Artifacts confirm the presence of the Washoe Tribe of Native Americans at Lake Tahoe over 10,000 years ago. Native Americans camped, hunted, and fished at Lake Tahoe in relative seclusion until General John C. Fremont’s exploration party “discovered” the lake in 1844. Source: KeepTahoeBlue.org
  • Lake Tahoe is also the location of several 19th and 20th century palatial homes of historical significance. The Thunderbird Lodge built by George Whittel Jr once included nearly 27 miles (43 km) of the Nevada shoreline. Vikingsholm was the original settlement on Emerald Bay and included an island teahouse and a 38-room home. The Ehrman Mansion is a summer home built by a former Wells Fargo president in Sugar Pine Point and is now a state park.
Two people kayaking on a lake with giant rock formations

activities & adventure

  • There are 12 ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe Basin – Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Diamond Peak, Boreal Mountain, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Sugar Bowl, Sierra-at-Tahoe, Mount Rose, Homewood and Donner Ski Ranch.

Located on the Shore of South Lake Tahoe

The Landing is perfectly positioned on the south shore of Lake Tahoe, California, steps from the lakefront, moments from outdoor adventure, and a short trip from the excitement of Heavenly Village.>

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Action Watersports at Lakeside Marina

Located next to the casinos on Lakeshore Blvd, get out on the lake with parasailing, jet ski rentals, boat rentals, kayaks, stand-up paddleboard rentals and more.

Emerald Bay State Park

Accessed via Highway 89, the lake’s only inlet is home to Lake Tahoe’s only island. Explore Vikingsholm Castle or get out on the water for a cruise in a glass-bottomed boat.

Heavenly Mountain Ski Resort

With 4,800 acres of rugged terrain and bird’s-eye views of Lake Tahoe, epic days on the slopes await. Explore 34 miles of wide-open groomed cruisers, 1,600 foot plunges and more.

Heavenly Village

Enjoy shopping, dining, movies and more just a short stroll or free shuttle ride from The Landing.

Hot Air Balloon Rides at Tahoe Keys Marina

Take a hot air balloon ride that lifts off from a boat in the middle of the lake. Catch a stunning sunrise and soar to 10,000 feet above sea level.

A couple sitting with their drinks at a bar

Jimmy’s Restaurant

Featuring California-fresh cuisine, a wonderful wine list to taste your way through, and creative craft cocktails, Jimmy’s serves up moments of lakefront magic.

MS Dixie Dinner Cruise

Voted “Best Boat Cruise” at Tahoe for ten years running, it’s the easy choice for scenic dinner/dance and sightseeing cruises.

Rubicon Trail

Winding along the west shore of the lake, you’ll pass coves, cliffs, sweeping views, and an old lighthouse between D.L. Bliss and Emerald Bay.

Ski Run Marina

You’ll be on “tahoe time” at this hub of exciting activities on the lake. Spend the day shopping, browsing amazing art, fishing, and more.

South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena

This NHL-size ice skating arena offers daily ice skating, lessons, and hockey camps, plus food services, a video arcade, party rooms, and quality skate rentals.

Tahoe Sport Fishing

Take a hot air balloon ride that lifts off from a boat in the middle of the lake. Catch a stunning sunrise and soar to 10,000 feet above sea level.

Exterior of the Landing Resort and Spa building

The Landing Tahoe Resort & Spa

Feel secluded at the edge of our semi-private beach on the shores of South Lake Tahoe while enjoying easy access to the excitement of Heavenly Village.

Zephyr Cove

All kinds of adventures await at beautiful Zephyr Cove, including  horseback riding, snowmobile tours, ATV tours, and MS Dixie sightseeing and dinner cruises.