Lake Tahoe Paddling FUNdamentals

Before you launch . . . anywhere.

before you launch
Kayak Tahoe and Paddleboards


Gear Must be Clean, Drained & Dry


Just 1 drop of water can spread aquatic invaders that threaten Lake Tahoe’s clarity and paddle sports. Be a Tahoe Keeper and join Eyes on the Lake to help stop the spread. It’s easy! Make sure your gear is clean, drained, and dry – every time. Remove mud and weeds, drain water from paddles, board- all of it; and dry completely with a towel. Especially inflatable paddleboards and kayaks that carry water in the folds and storage bags. Water can also create mold and mildew on your gear. Better yet – rent gear from a Tahoe paddle shop.

Be a Tahoe Keeper

Tahoe Keepers

Join Eyes on the Lake


PLAN AHEAD: Wind & Skills Matter

Know Your Skill Level:  Paddling on Lake Tahoe 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.

Check Wind and Marine Forecast:  Regardless of your skill level you should always check Lake Tahoe wind and weather forecasts so you understand mountain paddling conditions.

WEAR A LIFE JACKET:  Fed by snowmelt Lake Tahoe is always cold. Cold water shock kills paddlers every year. A life jacket will keep you warm and your head above water. Learn more about paddling safety 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.

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.

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.

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:  The 72 mile route is divided into 7 Day Trip Maps of approximately 10 miles for out-and-back paddles from one beach or point-to-point excursions. Each map includes route descriptions, GPS waypoints, launch landing sites, 20 trailheads with wayfinding signage, parking, transit and restrooms, and public beach access to waterfront attractions.

Plan your free ride to the beach with our interactive maps and the waterproof Map & Access Guide.

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 Tahoe Keeper paddle 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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go tahoe north
tahoe lakefront owners association


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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