California: Lake Tahoe Multisport Adventure

“There is a love of wild nature in everybody…”

John Muir

Lake Tahoe is the pearl of California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range and the area surrounding it is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream! Hiking with spectacular views? Check! Biking or inline skating on well-maintained scenic paths? Check! Kayaking, rafting, or SUPing on pristine water? Check! And if you’re visiting during the right time of year, you can even hit the slopes.

During our five-day adventure, we’ll bike or inline skate along the shores of Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River, hike into the Sierras taking in alpine lakes and incredible vistas, raft on the Truckee River, and kayak on magnificent Lake Tahoe. Each day offers you a chance to explore the area at your own pace.  Rest assured, there’s no shortage of adventure on this tour; your only task is to have the adventure you’ve been dreaming of for years!

Trip Favorite Moments & Reviews

“The usual wonderful Zephyr trip with a great combination of exercise, the great outdoors, and friendly, enthusiastic company.”

Susan S.

“Excellent!  From the lodging & meals to the variety of activities making it a true “multisport” … it was delightful!!!  The location was perfect!”

Karen C.


  • Cost Per Person: $2,650
  • Optional Single Supplement: $600
  • Activities: Hiking, biking or inline skating, rafting, & kayaking
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Guides: TBD

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Past Traveler Tour Rating

4.7/5 stars

Trip Highlights

  • Explore California’s adventure playground in a variety of modes: on foot, wheels, and water
  • Savor snow-capped peaks, pristine streams and lakes, and crisp, clean mountain air
  • Enjoy delicious California cuisine and a luxury hotel each night

We’ll meet you today either at our hotel in Squaw Valley or at the Reno airport. Once we are all together, we’ll head south down the western shore of Lake Tahoe for an introductory hike. Destination? The lovely Emerald Bay, one of the most photographed spots in the nation (which clearly means it is beautiful!).  Our mild three- to four-mile hike provides a wonderful first look at Lake Tahoe and its only island — Fannette Island — which still has remnants of an old teahouse on it.  Right outside this stunning bay, the shore drops dramatically — the lake is 1600 feet deep here!  Pack your swimsuit if you want to take a dip in the lake to cool down after hiking. Tonight your guides will host a happy hour at The Plumpjack – our hotel and home for all four nights of this tour – to allow everyone to get to know one another and we’ll walk to dinner in Squaw Valley, site of the 1960 Olympics.


Today is a day of skating or biking in the morning, and rafting in the afternoon. Our morning journey is on a wonderful paved path that we can access right from the front door of our hotel.  The trail wanders through the “neighborhood” of Squaw Valley with incredible views of the Sierras before it enters the woods and then meets up and parallels the turquoise-colored Truckee River. You can choose to roll to Tahoe City or all the way to Dollar Point before heading back for lunch (up to 15 miles).  This afternoon we have a fun and splashy seven-mile raft trip on the Truckee River (Lake Tahoe’s only outlet).  Our mostly Class II (pretty mild) route takes us through the High Sierra desert, with beautiful cottonwoods lining the riverbanks. Want to skip the most exciting part of the raft?  No problem — the rapids are at the end, and you can get out beforehand and hike to the take-out.  Tonight we’ll have dinner at an iconic Truckee restaurant.  Hopefully, you’ve saved a little energy to do some star-gazing from the outdoor hot tub at the PlumpJack after our meal!


Today our featured hike begins on the valley floor right from our hotel and goes up — and up — through wildflower-filled meadows, canyons, dramatic granite rock formations, forests, and babbling creeks. In all, you will have close to eight miles to trek to reach the top and will have gained nearly 2,000 feet in elevation.  Once you reach the top — High Camp — you’ll have stunning views of shimmering Lake Tahoe below.  You can save your knees by returning to the valley floor via a scenic tram ride. You’ll definitely want to be sure you pack your camera today!  Tonight, we’ll head to the lively town of Tahoe City, on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, for dinner.


This morning we shuttle a few miles to Black Canyon, where we begin our skate or bike in Black Canyon and then along the West Shore Bike Path.  The undulating trail passes beautiful homes, crosses under canopies of majestic Sugar Pines, and parallels Lake Tahoe and some of its peaceful beaches.  You can choose distances from five to 20 miles.  After lunch in Tahoe City, we’ll head to Commons Beach, where you’ll have your choice of kayaking or stand-up-paddleboarding on Lake Tahoe (instruction will be provided), taking a fun inner-tube float down the mellow Truckee River, or calling it a day and doing a bit of exploring on your own.  At tonight’s farewell dinner, we’ll celebrate our fun-filled days together.


We save the best for last! Today we hike two and a half miles to reach a series of secluded lakes surrounded by steep granite walls.  It will be a great way to get your heart pumping and camera snapping. If you prefer something a bit mellower, the valley bike trail is another option. We get you back to the hotel in time to shower and check out before setting everyone loose for lunch. We will provide a ride back to the Reno airport for those who are flying home today.

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Trip Accommodations


We stay all four nights at this stylish and luxurious hotel. Named for a Shakespearian character, the PlumpJack sits right at the base of the Squaw Valley ski area, the home base of the 1960 Olympics. Gaze at the stars or the towering mountains from the comfort of the inn's outdoor hot tub or heated pool. You will love not having to pack and repack during the trip!

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Arrival & Departure

We meet you either at our hotel in Squaw Valley or in the small Reno, Nevada airport (airport code RNO) on the first afternoon of the trip. We highly recommend arriving the day before, as it will allow you to react to any potential travel delays and also give you a bit of extra time to adjust to the altitude (we will be at 6,000 feet or higher for most of the trip). On the last day of the trip, we will get you back to the airport in time to catch a mid-afternoon flight home.

What's Included
  • Two local Zephyr guides will accompany each trip.
  • Double occupancy lodging is included. If you are traveling solo, we will match you with another traveler of the same gender. However, you may pay a single supplement to have your own room.
  • All of your dinners and breakfasts are included. Gratuity for these meals is also included. In general, we leave lunches open so that you have time to explore and enjoy the local flavors en route.
  • All your ground transportation is included once you meet your guides on the first day.
  • All group activities including bike rental, water sports and gondola ride down from the Olympic Village.
  • NOT INCLUDED: Beverages, desserts, lunches, gratuities to your guides, personal expenses and travel to and from the destination.

The best months to do this trip are June through September.  You can see historical weather averages for the area here. Precipitation in the summer months totals less than one inch of rain. So, expect warm and dry days and cool nights on this tour – perfect alpine weather.

Extending Your Vacation

The Lake Tahoe area offers a wealth of activities and you could easily spend an extra week there. Hiking and mountain biking are especially abundant. A half day’s drive away are the wine areas of Sonoma and Napa to the west and Yosemite to the south. If you do extend your stay, we recommend you rent a car and pre-book your accommodations.

Ability Level

You don’t need experience at all for the hiking, rafting, and kayaking days.  We’ll provide instruction for all of these activities (yes, even hiking!). The biking/skating routes are on paved paths along the Truckee River or Lake Tahoe. While mostly flat, you do need to be able to brake if you choose to skate on these days. This Adventure is rated for Advanced Beginner Skaters and better. If you choose to skate during the trip, we are happy to provide an instructional clinic!

Changes to Your Itinerary

While everything under “What is Included” will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed in our itineraries are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common – a restaurant closes or loses its awesome chef, a winery changes its visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, a road or trail undergoes construction. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes (even at the last minute, during the guides’ scout trip) to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience.

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