Nestled in the Sierra Mountain range is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. It is located on the border between California and Nevada. It has a surface elevation of 6,225 feet and is the largest alpine lake in America. I grew up in Reno, which is only a short 30-minute drive from the northern shores of Tahoe. I have many memories camping at the beautiful lake in the summer, spending long days lounging on the beaches or out on the water on a boat. Lake Tahoe is a large part of everyone who lives in this area’s lives. In the winter Lake Tahoe is surrounded by some of the nations best ski resorts and offers great nightlife in South Lake Tahoe.
It brought me great joy as a pilot to be able to see Lake Tahoe from the sky. Flying over Tahoe is an absolutely amazing flight. The water is extremely blue and clear. I like to take the Verdi valley pass to get to Tahoe from Reno. This brings you up over the Truckee area. You can see several reservoirs, Stampede and Boca, and you fly over Truckee Airport. Then you fly over Northstar ski resort and finally over Lake Tahoe.
Flying to Tahoe is not necessarily an easy task however. It is at a very high elevation and surrounded by mountain peaks that are even higher. There tends to be a good deal of turbulence when crossing over these mountain peaks to get into Tahoe. There have been known to be very strong downdrafts. There is one airport located in South Tahoe, KTVL. Density altitude needs to be taken very seriously up here. In the summer it can get very warm and there have been several accidents due to the miscalculation of density altitude. There are only a couple instrument approaches and all have very high minimums.
Lake Tahoe is a challenging yet very rewarding place to fly to. If you ever get a chance I suggest that you take the flight up there and enjoy the spectacular views.
What are some of your favorite scenic flights? Comment below