The summer heat will be hanging around the Tahoe area for the next few months. Late summer and September are some of the best times to jump into the blue waters of the lake—the weather is still warm, the water has been soaking up the sun's rays all summer, and the winds are calm—but don't be afraid to jump in earlier. It's a great time to go snorkeling in Tahoe's pristine water. Okay, it's not like snorkeling the coral reefs of Belize, but underwater Tahoe actually has a lot to look at. The boulders look like large animals, the sun pierces through the blue depths and sometimes you will catch a glimpse of trout, crawfish, or schools of minnows. These five areas of the lake are some of the best for snorkeling.
Sand Harbor is an excellent place to snorkel in the Tahoe area. The water is easily accessible and there are a lot of rocks, nooks, and large expanses of white sand. The colors are amazing. You can do some snorkeling at Diver's Cove, which is just north of the parking lot. On the weekends you can watch SCUBA divers taking their open water skills tests.
The "Rocks" at Lake Tahoe State Park
On the east side of the lake is the Lake Tahoe State Park and the "rocks" are located between Sand Harbor and Glenbrook Bay. Getting down to the rocks can be a challenge, but once you are there, the area is quiet and access to the water is easy. There are a lot of large, round boulders to look at and sometimes large schools of fish.
Emerald Bay State Park
There are some interesting things to see on the bottom of Emerald Bay. On the east side of the bay is a white buoy, where you can dive and snorkel to two large barges that were used in the early 1900s to carry cargo around the lake. They start at about 10 feet and dip down to about 30 feet. On the West side of the bay are large trees that have fallen into the water, and around the boat dock you might find a few items that have been lost overboard. Through Tahoe Jack's, you can book a kayak and snorkeling adventure through Emerald Bay to the only island in Lake Tahoe, Fannette Island, where you can snorkel through the clear, blue water for just $105 per person—no renting gear and no getting lost. // Book online at tahoejacks.com.
Because of its depth of nearly 800 feet, there is not much to see at Rubicon Point for snorkelers. However, it's a very interesting place to snorkel just to see the deep, sapphire blue of this area of the West Shore. The Rubicon Point wall is located south of Calawee Beach after a 150-yard surface swim to the right. It is also accessible by boat or kayak.
Edgewood Golf Course
The calm waters in front of the Edgewood Golf Course near Stateline are a great place to go snorkeling and dive for wayward golf balls.
If you're looking to rent some gear, hit up Adventure Scuba Center (4084 Kietzke Ln.) outside Reno on your way down to the east shore (Sand Harbor, Emerald Bay, and the "rocks" are closest) for $5 per day rentals of masks and snorkels. Otherwise, there are a plethora of Bay Area diving shops that can provide the necessaries, including Harbor Dive Center in Sausalito (200 Harbor Drive) and Steele's Discount Scuba in Oakland (5987 Telegraph Ave.).
This post was originally published on September 10, 2013.