My wife's mother came to town recently, and we stupidly drove the four hours from San Francisco up to Lake Tahoe. It's only about 200 miles northeast of San Francisco, but it took us 4 hours to drive through the damn mountains due to traffic—we were passed on the road several times by glaciers.
Lake Tahoe is high up in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Located 6,000 feet above sea level (your first realization of which comes when you notice your car starts wheezing like the Marlboro Man). If you haven't been there, you should go, it's kind of over near Calistoga California. The scenery is nothing short of spectacular. The entire lake is surrounded by snow-covered, mountain peaks (and we went during the summer). The place makes Redding, California look like garbage.
The elevation of the lake itself is fairly high. Water level there is something like two miles above “typical” water level. It's also eerily clear and deep. The color blue changes visibly as it gets deeper. You can see down a hundred feet easy. “The lake of the sky” sports several different hues: cobalt, turquoise, and Wow, that's freakin' BLUE!
Lake Tahoe gives new meaning to the word “Wow.”
Not one prone to exaggeration, I found myself at a loss for pithy adjectives to describe the beauty of Tahoe, so I fell back on the tried and true: namely, expletives and lots of them.
The water is 99% pure, and you can “see a dinner plate on the bottom twenty feet down”. (This analogy struck me as an odd descriptor of the lake's clarity. I did not see any plates on the bottom, so I was unable to corroborate the story's validity.)
Keep Lake Tahoe blue.
Essentially, Lake Tahoe looks like a big blue lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains. In the winter, everything is snow-capped. The lake is so large that, even though it looks like you can see the other side, you really can't—the curvature of the earth gets in the way. Take note, flat-earthers.
Somehow, the area has managed to avoid having a lakefront peppered with cheesy fast-food joints and tacky bars. I don't think there was a single McDonald's anywhere around there.
Is Lake Tahoe in California or Nevada? Yes.
The border between California and Nevada cuts right through the middle of the lake. On the Nevada side, you can bet money on the remote chance that you'll win money—they call it “gambling.” On the California side, it's called “the Lottery.”
The Nevada side was total cheese. What is the draw with these casinos? They're so tacky. One even booked Pauly Shore of all people (and they wonder why people aren't showing up).