Nothing can match a wintry view from above of Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake |

Nothing can match a wintry view from above of Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake

Mandy Feder
Tahoe Magazine
The Rainbow Bridge off Old Highway 40, located just west of Truckee, offers a senic overview that overlooks Donner Lake.
Lake Tahoe Magazine |

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the 2014-15 winter edition of Tahoe Magazine, a product of the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Sierra Sun, North Lake Tahoe Bonanza and Lake Tahoe Action. The magazine is available now throughout the Lake Tahoe and Truckee region.

Whether by water, wheels or sky, majestic mountain and lake views are plentiful in the Lake Tahoe region.

Paddlewheelers churn deep blue water. The Lake of the Sky can be seen from heavenly heights and inspiration is everywhere. The following are a few views with easy access.


It’s Heavenly

The Gondola experience at Heavenly Mountain Resort is designed to be accessible for anyone and takes guests 2.4 miles up the mountain. The Gondola cabin seats six people comfortably and offers views over Lake Tahoe.

The approach to the Gondola building within Heavenly Village has easy ramp access. At the top of the Gondola, guests exit on one level, and there is access to an elevator nearby to take them to the ground level. From there, Tamarack Lodge is located a few hundred feet away, and is also all one level, including restroom facilities.

The guest services team is stationed at the bottom and top of the Gondola to assist with needs. The mid-station Observation Deck has interpretive signage as well as a viewfinder for a closer look at the surrounding mountains. The deck is outfitted with benches, tables and restrooms. Café Blue serves snacks and beverages. Senior citizens, 65 and older, are treated to a reduced-rate gondola ticket.

The Heavenly Gondola is located about a half-block west of Stateline. For information, call 775-586-7000 or visit

Squaw Valley’s Aerial Tram

Climb to an elevation of 8,200 feet without hiking and enjoy panoramic views. The tram is ADA accessible and hosts will help with individual’s needs. Active duty military personnel (with I.D.) receive a free tram ride. Seniors and children receive discounts.

The tram takes you to Squaw Valley’s High Camp, featuring a wonderful restaurant and the resort’s spectacular Swimming Pool & Hot Tub, billed as one of the most breathtaking places in the world to relax.

Squaw Valley Resort is located at 1960 Squaw Valley Road, Olympic Valley, between Truckee and Tahoe City on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. For more information about the Squaw Valley Aerial Tram, call 800-403-0206 or visit

On the Water:

The Tahoe Queen is a 312-passenger authentic Mississippi paddlewheeler. It offers daytime scenic cruises that feature a tour through Lake Tahoe history on the way to Emerald Bay.

All Tahoe Queen cruises depart from Ski Run Marina in South Lake Tahoe.

The Tahoe Queen is ADA compliant and there is an ADA compliant restroom on the first-deck, but no elevators for guests to be lifted to the second-deck. For information, visit

The M.S. Dixie II is a 520-passenger cruising vessel in South Lake Tahoe. All M.S. Dixie II cruises depart directly from Zephyr Cove Resort. The M.S. Dixie II comes equipped with an ADA-compliant restroom. Wheelchairs are permitted on the boat, but there are no elevators on board to transport guests to the second-deck. For information, visit

By car:

Inspiration Point

Inspiration Point Vista is 600 feet above Lake Tahoe with views of Emerald Bay and Fanette Island. All views are accessible via paved walkways, and the restrooms are ADA compliant. Inspiration Point Vista is located on Emerald Bay Road in South Lake Tahoe.

Kings Beach

Take a break from driving and stop at Kings Beach for shops and restaurants while taking in spectacular views of Lake Tahoe. Kings Beach was named after card shark Joe King, who won the town site from George Whittell. Kings Beach is located on State Route 28 at the North Shore.

Cave Rock Parking Area

Bring a picnic and see nearly the entire lake from your car. The entrance is on U.S. Highway 50, three miles south of Glenbrook, just south of the Cave Rock tunnels on the East Shore.

Logan Shoals

North of Cave Rock is the Logan Shoals Lookout, which offers some of the best panoramic views of Lake Tahoe. This vista point has parking, restrooms and a paved path to the overlook.

Zephyr Cove

Zephyr Cove Beach provides accessible restrooms, paved disabled parking, and has an accessible beach/sand wheelchair available for use. It is located on Highway 50 in Zephyr Cove.

Sand Harbor

The Sand Point Nature Trail at Sand Harbor offers a boardwalk with interpretive signs and views of Lake Tahoe. Facilities include sandy beaches and picnic areas, as well as a visitor’s center. Sand Harbor is located three miles south of Incline Village on State Route 28.

Nevada Beach

Nevada Beach boasts picnic tables that are accessible via a paved sidewalk. The beach is five miles east of South Lake Tahoe.

Rainbow Bridge

A scenic lookout near the bridge offers a spectacular view of Donner Lake. To get there, head up Old Highway 40, just west of Truckee, and stop right before the bridge.

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