Drive less than four miles outside of Incline Village located in North Lake Tahoe for one of the best panoramic views of Lake Tahoe. This scenic overlook on Nevada Highway 431 at 7,562 feet provides one of the best photo opportunities of this striking alpine lake located in the Sierra Nevada.
Lake Tahoe, which is 21.2 miles long, 11.9 miles wide with an average surface elevation of 6,225 ft above sea level, is the highest lake of its size in the United States. Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the United States and the eleventh deepest in the world, with a maximum depth measured at 1,645 ft. The floor of the Lake Tahoe Basin is at an elevation of about 4,580 ft (1,396 m), which is lower than the surface of the Carson Valley, Nevada to the east!
Gazing down upon Lake Tahoe, one of the Sierra Nevada's most famous characters, Mark Twain, published his second major work in 1872 titled Roughing It. It is about going west to dig for wealth in the rocks of Nevada and ultimately finding it instead as a journalist and entertainer. It was written between 1870 and the end of 1871, and based on activities Twain had experienced (mostly as Samuel Clemens, of course) between 1861 and 1866. Among its most famous passages is Twain’s description of first seeing Lake Tahoe:
"We plodded on, two or three hours longer, and at last the Lake burst upon us -- a noble sheet of blue water lifted six thousand three hundred feet above the level of the sea, and walled in by a rim of snow-clad mountain peaks that towered aloft full three thousand feet higher still! It was a vast oval, and one would have to use up eighty or a hundred good miles in traveling around it. As it lay there with the shadows of the mountains brilliantly photographed upon its still surface I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole earth affords."
You'll feel the same when you grace your eyes on this Sierra Nevada alpine gem.
In 1961, an interpretive kiosk was placed at this scenic overlook that gives the names, location and elevation of surrounding mountain peaks and points of interest. As you continue north along this scenic route, you'll reach the highest summit pass in the Lake Tahoe region at 8,911 feet that's open year-round.
Mt. Rose Highway travels from Incline Village, NV located at Lake Tahoe to Reno, NV. Coming from Incline Village, the scenic overlook is 3.3 miles on the right. Be sure and stop by the Mark Twain Cultural Center in Incline Village and relive Twain's western experience as portrayed in Roughing It by the Ghost of Mark Twain, McAvoy Layne.
One of the best ways to really get a sense of the magnitude of Lake Tahoe, to smell the fresh air, the air that angels breathe...is to hike or ride the world famous Tahoe Rim Trail which has a convenient entry point at the Mt. Rose Summit. It passes through two states (California and Nevada), six counties, one state park, three National Forests, and three Wilderness areas. This spectacular trail is 165 miles of single track multi-use trail, winding peak to peak around Lake Tahoe.