Winter Paddling Tips

paddleboard and mountains

Paddling at Dusk, January 2014

Warm weather lately has created perfect conditions for paddling on the Lake Tahoe Water Trail this winter. The temperatures have been in the low 50s during mid-day with plenty of sun, no wind and no crowds!

If you go paddling, please note you will find more limited launch opportunities and fewer trailhead facilities such as restrooms available. Many of the US Forest Service and California State Park beaches are closed, but most local beaches and Nevada State Park launch opportunities remain open although you may find time restrictions.

In South Shore, try Lakeview Commons, Regan Beach, or Camp Richardson. Zephyr Cove, Cave Rock, and Sand Harbor are open on the East Shore. North Shore offers launching at Kings Beach, North Tahoe Beach, Tahoe Vista Recreation Area, Waterman’s Landing and Commons Beach. On the West Shore, parking along the road near William Kent, Kaspian, and Hurricane Bay is open in early January, though this availability will change rapidly if it snows.

Even though it is beautiful paddling conditions now, it is still winter so is mindful of the following points to stay safe and responsible:

  • The water is COLD and more dangerous when the air temperature is colder also. Don’t paddle alone and if you go in the water, get out immediately and head for shore. Hypothermia will happen fast during winter paddling.
  • There are limited restrooms and trash receptacles available in the winter. Pack it in and pack it out.
  • Most jurisdictions in Tahoe do not allow parking along public streets during the winter. You must park in a designated parking lot in most areas.
  • Lake levels are extremely low right now, exposing public access beach along the shoreline in California. Exposed beach along the shoreline in Nevada offers no public access and if you land there you are trespassing. Please help the Lake Tahoe Water Trail develop a respectful relationship with lakefront property owners by knowing the regulations and limiting the effects of your paddle day on their privacy.
  • Even though it is winter, please practice the principles of Clean, Drain, Dry to avoid spreading aquatic invasive species. Become a Tahoe Keeper at to demonstrate your stewardship.