Northern California’s Tahoe and Yosemite are where adventurers go to play.
When the weather warms, they find outdoor thrills in 191-square-mile Lake Tahoe with kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, boats and more. And in the winter, they let loose at 15 ski resorts.
And Yosemite National Park is a 1,169-square-mile playground for nature lovers with breathtaking waterfalls, alpine meadows, trails, streams and river beaches.
Before you set out on your own adventure, read our guide.
The best time to visit Tahoe and Yosemite
The best time to visit Tahoe and Yosemite is either in the spring or winter, depending on what your favorite outdoor pursuits are. If you love hiking, water sports and taking in amazing views, opt for a spring trip.
Conversely, if you’re a fan of roaring fires, snow-capped peaks and skiing, sledding, skating or snowshoeing, you’ll want to experience the spectacular California mountain winters.
Be warned, though, that no matter which season you choose, you won’t be alone on the ski and hiking trails. The area is legendary for its beauty and is a favorite local escape for Californians, which means that there are always plenty of visitors.
What to pack for a trip to Tahoe and Yosemite
Make sure to bring hiking boots — since the main reason to visit this region is to tromp around outdoors — as well as a swimsuit, sweater, water bottle and windbreaker if you’re visiting in the summer. Also pack a sweater or shawl — it can get chilly in the evenings.
During the winter, add a warm, water-resistant coat; long underwear; and any ski or snowboard gear.
Don’t forget a first aid kit. Yosemite and Tahoe are all about enjoying the outdoors, so you want to be prepared for any scrapes or cuts during your adrenaline-pumping pursuits.
Another important part of your kit should be sunscreen, since being under the powerful sun at high altitudes can burn you regardless of the season.