Lake Tahoe Facts

Lake Tahoe is 193 sq. mi. (500 sq km), on the California-Nevada line.


It occupies a basin in the Sierra Nevada and is drained by the Truckee River. Lying 6,228 ft. (1,898 m) above sea level, its depth (1,645 ft/501 m) prevents it from freezing. Long known for its clearness, the lake, explored in 1844 by John Fremont, had grown less so by the late 1990s, when government officials began efforts to restore it.

Lake Tahoe is a major vacation spot, with gambling resorts along the Nevada shoreline. Lake Tahoe is the second largest alpine lake in the world; its water source is melting snow. It is approximately 12 miles by 22 miles, with an average surface elevation of 6228 ft.

Some of the highest peaks of the Lake Tahoe Basin are Freel Peak at 10,891 ft (3,320 m), Monument Peak at 10,067 ft (3,068 m) (the present Heavenly Valley Ski Area), Pyramid Peak at 9,983 ft (3,043 m) (in the Desolation Wilderness), and Mt. Tallac at 9,735 ft (2,967 m). Lake Tahoe has a water clarity of about 100 ft (30 m) deep.