The Best Way to Get on the Lake: Access Via Our 20 Trailheads

Lake Tahoe Water Trail Signage

Established in 2007, the Lake Tahoe Water Trail is a water route along the 72-mile shoreline that connects public beaches with launch/landing sites to help paddlers have a safe and fun recreation experience while practicing good stewardship that protects the watershed.

The most integral part of the Lake Tahoe Water Trail are the 20 official trailheads around Lake Tahoe. To find the trailheads near you, use our online map or waterproof Map & Access Guide. The Map & Access guide is available for purchase online here or at local shops listed here.

William Kent Beach and Campground

Our customized Google map is a great tool for planning your trip. When you click on a trailhead icon, you can get detailed information, including a photo of what the trailhead launch/landing area looks like from the water as you are paddling up to it. This can be handy if you have cell service while out on the water and you are trying to navigate your way to a trailhead.

At each trailhead, you will find a large sign with a map of the Water Trail segment.

Lake Tahoe Water Trail - Commons Beach
The Lake Tahoe Water Trail sign at Commons Beach. These signs can be found at each of the 20 trailheads around the Lake.


Top 5 Reasons to Paddle from a Trailhead

  1. Signage
    The signs are a hallmark trait of the Water Trail. Each sign displays a map of the Water Trail segment with GPS coordinates, points of interest and important information including public and private property boundaries, campgrounds, parking, restrooms, areas where you can safely pull in to shore, how to prevent the spread of invasive species, etiquette, and safety tips.
  2. Parking
    The 20 designated trailheads offer more adequate parking options for day use paddlers. Also, the parking tends to be close to the kayak/SUP launch area marked by our trailhead signs. We still recommend that you arrive early during the busy summer months to get a parking spot!
  3. Limited Motorized Boating Usage
    When selecting the trailheads, emphasis was put on locating areas where motorized boating usage is restricted or less prevalent. However, please be sure to stay aware of your surroundings around motorized boats and it is generally a good idea to wear brightly colored clothing out on the water to maintain high visibility.
  4. Concessionaires
    When selecting the trailheads, we focused on locating areas where shop and rental outfitters operate to make it easier for paddlers who are not bringing their own kayak or SUP.
  5. Easier, Safer Access!
    Everything listed above amounts to easier, safer access! You want to spend your day paddling on the Lake, not portaging, launching in tumultuous boat wakes, or searching for parking.
The trailhead sign at Kings Beach
The trailhead sign at Kings Beach


The Greatest Hits of the Lake Tahoe Water Trail

The Water Trail is one of the most beautiful shorelines in the world. It’s also a highly diverse 72 miles of paddling with different experiences and sights found through the access provided by each trailhead.

Along the way, you will find pristine shoreline, bustling beach towns, old growth forests, activity-filled marinas, dining, historic points of interest, and even a couple castles (more to come on that one)!

So stay tuned and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook as we launch an upcoming series of blog posts showcasing each trailhead and the unique sights and experiences you don’t want to miss on each segment.

Fostering Paddle Culture for Community, Local Business and the Environment

Finally, the Lake Tahoe Water Trail is a project of the Sierra Business Council, which drives “triple bottom line” principles of economic, social and environmental sustainability through initiatives across the Sierra Nevada region. The Lake Tahoe Water Trail works in these ways by fostering the Lake Tahoe paddling culture around the principles of conservation, protecting natural resources, building a strong, respectful boating community, and supporting local kayak and SUP businesses who also support these values.

The Lake Tahoe Water Trail is a Sierra Business Council sustainable recreation tourism project. Learn more about SBC's innovative social, environmental and economic development projects in the Sierra Nevada at www.sierrabusiness.org.


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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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