- Paddle the glassine surface of Lake Tahoe past gigantic granite boulders
- Hike a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail for a bird's eye view
- Explore the sandy beaches and quiet coves on the shorelines of Lake Tahoe
- Camp near the shores of Donner Lake, enjoy the natural beauty of the Sierras
Enjoy crystal clear water and dramatic alpine scenery as we paddle and hike at Lake Tahoe. From the moment we arrive at our campsite near the shores of Donner Lake to our last paddle stroke on Lake Tahoe, this adventure will relax and recharge with the awe of the abundant natural beauty of this Northern California paradise.
Lake Tahoe, renown for the beauty and clarity of its waters, is the perfect place for stand-up paddleboarding for those new to the sport or who have some experience. We'll mix up our itinerary by spending a half day hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, taking in a bird's eye view of the azure waters below us. Our evenings will be spent around the campfire enjoying the company of our fellow travelers (and maybe a s'more or two).
Maximize your weekend and take in all the best Tahoe has to offer with this unique blend of paddleboarding, hiking, and camping—we'll see you on the lake soon!
- Day 1 - Arrive at our campground in Donner Memorial State Park for orientation.
- Day 2 - Launch from Sand Harbor and explore the East Shore of Lake Tahoe.
- Day 3 - Morning paddle on Donner Lake, afternoon hike on the Pacific Crest Trail.
- Day 4 - Back on your paddle board to explore the West Shore of Lake Tahoe.
Trip Itinerary and Details
Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.
Day 1 - Arrive at our campground in Donner Memorial State Park for orientation.
Your weekend begins as you take in the fresh air and gorgeous scenery on the "quiet side of Tahoe" near the town of Truckee, a picturesque mountain hamlet nestled in the Sierra Nevada range. Our campsite for the next three nights is near the shores of Donner Lake, nestled among trees and near several scenic hiking trails. A convenient distance from Lake Tahoe, this campsite will provide a comfortable haven at the end of the exhilarating days ahead.
Our guides will pick you up at 5:30pm outside Donner Memorial State Park and provide a five minute shuttle from your cars to our amazing campsite. Once the group has arrived you'll be treated to a casual barbeque dinner where you'll have time to get acquainted with your fellow travelers and guides. We'll then set up our tents and finish the evening around the campfire where we'll enjoy s'mores and starlight as your guides do a gear check and provide an orientation to the area and your weekend of adventure. Meals included: Dinner.
Day 2 - Launch from Sand Harbor and explore the East Shore of Lake Tahoe.
After enjoying an early breakfast, you'll hop in the van for a 45-minute drive to Incline Village, Nevada. Today's launch spot at Sand Harbor is known for its gorgeous shoreline, sandy beaches, and water clarity in excess of 75 feet. Paddle smoothly past hidden beaches and secret coves at a relaxing pace while you admire the scenery at 6,225'. Your guides will find a wide swath of sand to serve as the perfect lunch spot on the lake. After time to swim, eat, explore, or nap, make your way back along the shoreline to Sand Harbor beneath peaks that rise up to 4,600' above lake level. We'll then transfer back to our campground for another night of delicious food, twinkling stars and amazing company on Donner Lake. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Paddleboarding: 4-6 miles, approximately 2.5-3.5 hours on the water.
Day 3 - Morning paddle on Donner Lake, afternoon hike on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Another scrumptious breakfast and then we'll van shuttle a few minutes to today's special paddle boarding spot on nearby Donner Lake. We'll fully immerse ourselves in this tranquil High Sierra environment by paddling the length of the lake in the morning when conditions are quiet and the rest of the world is still waking up. We'll welcome the afternoon with lunch along a sandy beach before taking a short shuttle to a trailhead on historic Donner Summit. Once there we'll hike two miles up the Pacific Crest Trail where we'll be rewarded with spectacular views of Donner Lake and the surrounding area. After transferring back to camp there will be time for a hot shower while your guides prepare another hearty camp dinner. Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Paddleboarding: 5 miles, approximately 3 hours on the water
Hiking: Up to 4 miles, elevation gain and loss of up to 1,200'
Day 4 - Back on your paddle board to explore the West Shore of Lake Tahoe.
After enjoying an early morning breakfast, breaking camp, and loading our vehicles with our personal gear, we'll van shuttle 45 minutes to the spectacular West Shore of Lake Tahoe on the California side. Very different in character from the East Shore, the West Shore's colors vary from emerald to turquoise to cobalt blue depending on the varying depth of crystal clear waters gliding beneath our paddle boards. We'll finish the day back at our cars sometime between 4-5pm, and have a chance to say our final goodbyes to our new friends and the spectacular Tahoe region. Breakfast and lunch included.
Paddleboarding: 2-5 miles, approximately 1-3 hours on the water
Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control including weather and terrain conditions. This trip is operated rain or shine.
Contact REI Adventures prior to purchasing your airline tickets to confirm that the trip has the minimum number of participants required to operate.
Professional instruction and guiding; three nights tent camping at an established campsite in 2-person tents; coin-operated showers; meals as noted in the daily itinerary; transportation to launches and trailheads as noted in the itinerary; group and individual equipment as noted on the gear list; campsite and permit fees.
Transportation from your hometown to group meeting point; insurance of any kind; alcoholic beverages; guide gratuities and items of a personal nature. Participants over the age of 21 may bring alcoholic beverages of choice in suitable backpacking containers, no glass please.
Sacramento California, ~100 miles; or Reno Nevada, ~38 miles.
There is no reliable transfer service from any airport to our meeting place. Anticipate renting a car if flying in for this weekend getaway.
This trip is rated Moderate . While hiking, participants will be carrying their own daypacks with lunch, snacks, water, and personal gear up to 4 miles one day over uneven and varied terrain. Paddleboarding will require participants to self-propel on water (without a current) for up to 4 miles (usually on the water for 2.5-3.5 hours at a stretch).To maximize your enjoyment of the trip, we strongly encourage participants to be involved in a training regimen before the trip. Most important to your enjoyment of the trip is your overall fitness level.
Daytime temperatures between June and September usually range in the mid 70s°F – mid 80s and sometimes in the low 90s, with evening temperatures dropping to the 30s and 40s. Early or late-season trips will experience a wider range of temperatures. Thunderstorms are a possibility at any time in the mountains making adequate raingear a necessity.
If you are traveling alone we will assign you a roommate of the same gender if possible. A limited number of single accommodations are available, and are assigned only as necessary.General Information
This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Weekend Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and detailed pre-trip information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).
We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.
Lake Tahoe Paddleboarding & Hiking Gear List
- Paddleboards, paddles, and personal flotation devices (PFDs)
- 10 Liter drybag for lunches, extra clothing
- Tents (3 season, 2 person)
- Camp Cooking gear
- Eating utensils, plates, cups
- Water filter
- Trip leader first aid kit
- Sleeping bag (rated at 20° - 25° F)
- Sleeping pad
- Sleeping bag liner/sleep sheet (optional, but comfortable and versatile, highly recommended)
- Pillow (optional)
- Small personal drybag for camera, wallet, etc. (5-8 liters)
- Daypack (approx. 22-34 L)
- Pack cover – waterproof (or large trash bag to line the inside of your pack)
- Rain jacket and pants, lightweight waterproof and breathable
- Midweight fleece jacket or wool sweater
- Mid- or lightweight thermal top and bottom made of synthetic or wool
- Hiking pants, quick-drying, lightweight (zip-off legs are great)
- Hiking shorts, quick-drying, lightweight
- T-shirts, synthetic
- Hiking socks, wool or synthetic
- Swimsuit and/or board/swim shorts
- Rash guard or other synthetic shirt for sun protection while paddling (optional)
- Sun hat with brim
- Wool or fleece hat
- Lightweight wool or fleece gloves (for evenings)
- Hiking shoes (sturdy, stiff-soled, well broken-in)
- Water sport shoes or sandals (shoes that will stay on are highly recommended for paddleboarding to protect your feet, should you fall off your board or when coming ashore)
- Two 1-quart water bottles (or hydration system equivalent)
- Headlamp with new batteries and bulb
- Sunglasses and retainer strap
- Sunblock, minimum SPF 25 (small)
- Lip balm
- Insect repellant (small, packable)
- Toiletry kit: toothbrush and trial-sized paste, biodegradable soap/shampoo/conditioner)
- Pack/camp towel (for showers; quick drying is best!)
- Personal first aid kit, small and lightweight (with personal medications, extra foot care – guides will carry group kit)
- TP system (should you need to use it while on the trail): Place items in one 1-gallon Ziploc bag: ½ roll of toilet paper, 1 Ziploc 1-quart bag. A few wet wipes can be a nice addition.
- Trekking poles
- Garbage/plastic bags for separating dirty/wet clothing
- Pocket knife or multi-tool
- Camera and spare batteries
- Ear plugs
- Extra quarters for showers (quarters for 10-minute shower per day provided)
Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.