South Lake Tahoe, CA

Lake Tahoe Paddling FUNdamentals

Before you launch . . . anywhere.

before you launch
Kayak Tahoe and Paddleboards


Gear Must be Clean, Drained & Dry


All paddle gear – including inflatable SUPs and kayaks – must be clean, drained of water, and completely dry before you launch and after you land.  You must remove and dispose all mud and plants, and use your towel to dry leashes, life jackets, paddles, pumps, carrying bags – all of it. These simple steps will protect your gear from mildew, and stop the spread of invasive species.  Become a Tahoe Keeper and join Eyes on the Lake to protect Tahoe’s pristine water and our paddle culture. It’s free and easy to do.

Better yet – make sure you’re not transporting invasive species, and rent gear from a local paddle shop or take a guided paddle tour

Be a Tahoe Keeper

Tahoe Keepers

Join Eyes on the Lake

eyes on the lake

Paddle Carefree and Car Free!  Take a free bus or on-demand shuttle to the beach.  Click here to find free North Lake Tahoe and South Lake Tahoe transit options to Water Trail launch landing sites where you can also rent gear from a local paddle outfitter.  Plan your free ride to a LTWT launch site using our Day Trip Maps.

10 Clean Drain Dry


PLAN AHEAD: Wind & Skills Matter

Know Your Skill Level:  Paddling on Lake Tahoe at 6,223 feet can be challenging – and magical if you have the skills and wear a life jacket. Do you know how to swim and self-rescue? Whether you’re a beginner or expert, it’s more fun and safe to take a guided eco-paddle tour with a Tahoe paddle outfitter.

How Much Time do You Have:  Only have an hour or two? No need to bring your paddle gear.  Make it easy and rent gear or hire a guided eco-paddle tour from a Tahoe paddle business.

Check Wind and Marine Forecast:  No matter your skill level you should always check the Lake Tahoe wind and weather forecasts so you understand Lake Tahoe’s dynamic paddling conditions.

WEAR A LIFE JACKET:  Fed by snowmelt Lake Tahoe is always cold. Cold water shock kills paddlers every year. Watch safety videos and learn how to paddle safe here.

Choose your Launch Site:  Based on your time, skill level and weather, use our Route Planning map along with convenient transit options and lodging starting in North Lake Tahoe and South Lake Tahoe.

A group of friends looking at the Lake Tahoe Water Trail head sign
Mapped Paddle Route at Waterman's Landing in North Lake Tahoe


Mapped Paddle Routes

Find the 37 Water Trail launch landing sites and check your position on the lake with our LTWT Route Planning and Route Finding Google Map.

Day Trip Maps:  We know most paddlers can’t paddle the entire 72 mile shoreline in a day.  So…we’ve segmented the Water Trail into 7 Day Trip Maps of approximately 10 miles for out-and-back paddles from one beach or point-to-point excursions that connect public beach sites. Each 10 mile map includes a downloadable and interactive mapped route with mileage, launch/landing sites, 20 trailheads with wayfinding signage, parking and restrooms, and public beach access to waterfront attractions.

Plan your free bus or shuttle trip to a Water Trail trailhead with our interactive map, day trip maps or the waterproof Map & Access Guide available at the Tahoe City Visitor Center and Incline Village Welcome Center.

Whale beach on Lake Tahoe on a sunny summer day with kayakers and paddlers



The best way to experience Lake Tahoe is with an Experienced Lake Tahoe Paddle Guide

They aren’t just a place to rent gear; they are the heartbeat of Tahoe paddle culture. Tahoe paddle outfitters know the rhythm of the lake – weather and wind patterns, boating rules, fragile beaches to avoid, and the perfect paddle route you’ll enjoy based on your skills. Thank you for supporting our Tahoe paddle businesses who provide kayak and SUP rentals, guided eco-tours, beginner to advanced skill building clinics, and fun social Tahoe Keeper events. 

Clearly Tahoe Tours


Paddlers are Boaters Too. Play it Safe.


Obey Tahoe’s boating regulations and navigation rules.
Download the Tahoe Boating App.

Get it on Google Play

Heads up! Lake Tahoe is a busy multi-use lake. Paddlers must follow navigation-safety rules.

  • By law, paddlers must follow navigation rules and yield the right of way to motorized boaters and larger vessels.
  • Paddlers of all ages – are required to carry a USCG-approved life jacket/belt. ADULTS: WEAR Your LIFE JACKET!
  • Children 13 years and younger must wear life jackets while paddling on Lake Tahoe.
  • File A Float Plan: Tell someone where you plan to paddle and when you plan to return.

Paddle close to shore.  It’s easier to find LTWT landing sites, you’ll see more shoreline birds, it’s safer, and the wind and boat wake will be less.  Wear bright clothing, carry bright paddles and a whistle and flashlight. Click here for more Tahoe Boating Regulations.

Cave Rock Kayakers and SUP

Plan your perfect paddle day!

Major Sponsors

Tahoe Keeper Sponsors


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Sierra Business Council and the Lake Tahoe Water Trail Committee and their contributors will be in no way responsible for personal injury or damage to personal property arising in conjunction with the use of this website or printed materials. Good judgment and planning are critical to any successful outing. Before heading out on the water, it is recommended that you check with other sources of information for the latest lake conditions.

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