7 ways to spend July Fourth at Lake Tahoe amid COVID-19 | TahoeDailyTribune.com

7 ways to spend July Fourth at Lake Tahoe amid COVID-19

Woods Lake is a small, secluded alpine lake not far past Red Lake.
Cheyanne Neuffer / Tahoe Daily Tribune

This year’s Fourth of July celebration will be different than ever before. There will be no festive parades nor will there be epic fireworks displays lighting up the night sky for which Lake Tahoe is known.

With social distance guidelines in effect, everyone must adapt to keep others safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Nevada and California have made wearing a mask mandatory in public spaces where social distancing is impossible.

Crowding at popular beaches this year is not recommended and can prove to be dangerous, but thankfully Tahoe is full of recreational activities.

Here are some ideas to recreate responsibly during the expected busy weekend.


Immerse yourself in nature by packing a picnic and heading out one of the basin’s many trails. There are many rivers and streams in which to dip your feet during backcountry hikes. Just be careful, the water is still cold and falling unexpectedly and unprepared can lead to problems.

Tahoe isn’t the only breathtaking lake in the basin. The basin has several alpine lakes that can be reached by hiking or driving. Finding secluded spots will solve the social-distancing dilemma.

If you would rather drive, there is Woods Lake, a small, secluded lake that you can drive up to, perfect for a relaxing picnic. If you are up for a bigger hike try Frog Lake. Jump on a portion of the renown Pacfic Crest Trail near Carson Pass. The views over Red Lake are breathtaking, and it should be easy to distance while hiking.

For the advanced hikers, there’s Lake Aloha. It’s a 13-mile difficult loop known for wildflowers. Be sure to check trail conditions and weather before heading into the backcountry.

Lake Aloha is part of Desolation Wilderness so a day-use permit is required. The permit is available at http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/ltbmu/passes-permits.


Living in the mountains comes with endless opportunities for backcountry camping. Bring all your festive desserts, snacks and head for the backcountry.

Even though July Fourth fireworks have been canceled in Tahoe, the night sky will still light up with a full moon. For a great view of the night sky, try Big Meadow just past Christmas Valley just off California State Route 89. The “big” meadow is a huge open field that is perfect for stargazing.

Make camping plans in advance. Some camping locations around the basin require Wilderness Permits for overnight use which are available at http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/ltbmu/passes-permits.

Socially distance on the water

Instead of crowding on a beach, take a paddle board or kayak on the lake to cruise solo or join a live concert at the Cassidy Boathouse.

From 5-6 p.m. on July 4, the community is welcome to a donation-based bluegrass concert hosted at the back of the Cassidy Boathouse located at 961 Lakeview Ave. Dirty Cello will be performing. The band is a blend of bluegrass, blues and classical. They were sold out at the Valhalla Boathouse last year.

This is a fun, safe way to be socially distant on the Fourth. The band will have a virtual tip jar set up. Organizers described the boathouse as the “Tin-roofed boathouse just west the Lakeview Commons.” Organizers are asking that people do not come in by the street side as their bluff is under repair and in very bad shape.

If you are viewing the concert from your boat beware that the water gets shallow quickly, so boats should stay further back. This will also let smaller craft to see from closer in.

To learn more about the band, visit its website.

For more information about the boathouse, visit here.


Try your luck fly fishing at one of the high alpine lakes or rivers. Or even charter a boat and have the pros set you up. Make sure to check fishing regulations before heading out.

Or get on a bike and take on some of the many trails in the basin. Dozens of rental places around the basin can set you up with the right gear for whatever the ride. The trails have been busy so be prepared to make room for hikers and other bikers.

Watch a “parade in the sky”

Break out the lawn chairs at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 4, for the Truckee Tahoe Air Show and Family Festival that will featureD-Day Squadron Warbirds flying over Truckee and Lake Tahoe communities to honor Independence Day and frontline workers facing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The squadron plans to fly six DC-3 (C-47s) historic warbirds 130 miles over Truckee-Tahoe communities including Tahoe Forest Hospital, all four shores of Lake Tahoe, Barton Medical Center in South Lake Tahoe, Incline Village, Tahoe City, Squaw Valley and back to Truckee. The flyover is supported by the Truckee Airport District.

Gooney Bird Group Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber C-47, piloted by U.S. Navy veteran Sherman Smoot and Scott Stelzle will be the lead aircraft for the flyover. The flyover has an Aeronautica of Romania, IAR-823, Zlin to “pull up the rear” of the flight. For more information visit, http://www.TruckeeTahoeAirShow.com.

Backyard celebration

Stay home, fire up the grill or order take out, grab your favorite beverages, dump the masks and stay away from others. The weather on the fourth is forecast to be 80 degrees with clear skies at night, so an outdoor movie night sounds about right.

Plan a family Independence Day themed game night or get crafty with red, white and blue.


This Fourth of July weekend, kick it old school by attending a Squaw Valley’s special Drive-In Cinema sponsored by North Lake Tahoe. The cinema will feature three different family-friendly movies each night during the weekend.

Gates open at 6 p.m. and the movie will begin at 8 p.m. Make sure you are on time so you can get a good viewing spot, spaces are first-come, first-serve. Advanced purchase is required, go to http://www.squawalpine.com to purchase tickets. $40 per vehicle.

Movies include:

July 3: Sonic The Hedgehog

July 4: Sing

July 5: Field of Dreams


Whatever your Independence Day plans may be, Take Care Tahoe reminds visitors and residents to take care of Tahoe by packing out and securing trash, cleaning up after dogs, not leaving cigarette butts behind, or allowing any kind of pollutant into the lake.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User