Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Land of The Big Blue Water

Lake Tahoe Facts and Statistics

  • The permanent year-round population of South Lake Tahoe, including the Stateline area, is 34,000.
  • Lake Tahoe never freezes due to the constant mass movement of water from the bottom to the surface.
  • The sun shines at Lake Tahoe during 75% of the year, or 274 days.
  • There are six 24-hour casinos in the South Lake Tahoe area. Together, they have a total of 7,051 slot machines and 411 game tables.
  • An average 1,400,000 tons of water evaporates from the surface of
  • Lake Tahoe every 24 hours, yet this drops the lake level only one-tenth of an inch.
  • If the water that evaporates from the lake every 24 hours could be recovered, it would supply the daily requirements of a population of 3,500,000 people.
  • Lake Tahoe is the highest lake of its size in the United States and the largest alpine lake in North America.
  • The longest ski run in the area is 5.5 miles long. Lake Tahoe’s greatest vertical drop is 3,600 feet.
  • Water is 99.9% pure and is so clear that a 10-inch white dinner plate would be visible at 75 feet below the surface.
  • Lake Tahoe is three hours east of San Francisco and an hour west of Reno, Nevada. It straddles the border of California and Nevada, although two-thirds of it sits within California’s boundaries.
  • The lake is as long as the English Channel is wide with the width of Tahoe being half again as wide as San Francisco.
  • The deepest part of Lake Tahoe is near Crystal Bay, measuring a water depth of 1,645 feet.
  • Sixty-three streams flow into Lake Tahoe, but the Truckee River is the only one that flows out, past Reno and into Pyramid Lake.

Lake Tahoe Geology

The rise and fall of the land due to the shifting of geologic faults some five to ten million years ago caused the formation of the Lake Tahoe Basin. The Carson Range, which was one of the two principal faults that developed, was along the eastern margin, while the Sierra Nevada was created on the western margin. About two million years ago, volcanoes further reshaped the region’s landscape. Due to centuries of water falling from snowfall and streams, the Lake Tahoe Basin eventually filled to over 600 feet higher than its present level. A path evolved through the erosion of the northeastern lava dam. Today that path is the Lower Truckee River and it is the lake’s only outlet. A subsequent Ice Age and huge glaciers gradually loosened rock and reshaped the canyons in the broad u-shaped valleys of Emerald Bay, Fallen Leaf Lake and Cascade Lake.

Tahoe Flora & Fauna

The Lake Tahoe region is rich with floral and plant species that serve to beautify the region. The eleven types of trees indigenous to Lake Tahoe are:

  • Alder
  • Aspen
  • Cedar
  • Jeffrey Pine
  • White Fir
  • Willow
  • Lodgepole Pine
  • Ponderosa Pine
  • Sierra Juniper
  • Sugar Pine

Lake Tahoe Wildflowers

The Lake Tahoe countryside is dotted with bursts of pink, red, yellow purple and blue wildflowers. The many varieties include:

  • Dwarf Alpine Aster
  • Lupine
  • Columbine
  • Indian Paintbrush
  • Ranger Buttons
  • Mariposa Lily
  • Corn Lily
  • Cow Parsnip
  • Common Yarrow
  • Meadow Penstemen
  • Sulphur Flowers
  • Shooting Star
  • Snow Plant
  • Buttercup
  • Mountain Mule Ears
  • Thistle

Lake Tahoe Birds and Mammals

The region maintains a significant bird and mammal population. The most prominent species include:

  • American Robin
  • Bald Eagle
  • California Gull
  • Dark-eyed Junko
  • Mallard
  • Canadian Goose
  • Western Tanager
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Mountain Chickadee
  • Red-Tailed Hawk
  • Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel
  • Pine Martin
  • Yellow-headed Blackbird
  • Mule Deer
  • Black Bear
  • Yellow-bellied Marmot
  • Coyote


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