The stretch of waterfront on the northeast shore of Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful places in the country. Catch it on a sunny, calm day and you'd think you were looking into the turquoise waters of the Caribbean or Mediterranean Sea. I call it “Alpine Paradise." My favorite place to enjoy this stretch of incredible beauty is at Hidden Beach.
Although the name would indicate this beach is off the beaten path and lacking big crowds, it's far from hidden at this point. But that doesn’t diminish the luster. A day filled with a T’s Rotisserie burrito (one of my five favorite places to eat in our area) and a few hours at Hidden Beach is bliss. And it’s a favorite place to take friends from out of town or those who just moved to the area.
Although crowded during the busy season on the weekends, you can find tranquility at Hidden Beach during weekdays or shoulder seasons. Two of my favorite things about this spot are that it's free and it’s easy to find without too far of a trek. Other beaches further down the region are either more crowded and have a fee (Sand Harbor) or require longer hikes (Chimney Beach).
The easiest way to get to Hidden Beach is to park at the newly created parking lot for the Tahoe East Shore Trail, which takes you from Incline Village all the way to Sand Harbor. There will be a fee to park, but it’s an incredibly beautiful trail. Once you reach the portion that takes you through a tunnel under Highway 28, you’ll take a right and you’ve arrived at Hidden Beach.
Prior to the completion of this incredible new trail, you had to get to Hidden Beach from along Highway 28. If you want to take your chances, and it’s a high risk, high reward proposition, you can still try this avenue. As you are heading south on Highway 28 you’ll pass the parking lot for the Tahoe East Shore Trail as well as Lakeshore Drive, which is dotted with numerous multi-million dollar mansions. As you pass that intersection there will be a handful of houses that line the right side of the road, just as you pass these houses you will see a very small area where a handful of cars can park. Like five or six max.
If you want this spot, you are either going to have to arrive extremely early, or get really lucky. But it can happen. If you do happen to luck out and get a spot there, the walk to Hidden Beach is a breeze. There is a well carved out dirt path that hugs the guard rail of the highway, and in about 10 minutes or less you will arrive at Hidden Beach. Along the way you can hike down to other coves, but most of them will only be filled with the iconic giant boulders that line this part of the lake.
The nice thing at Hidden Beach is there is actually a bit of sand. How much depends on the winter and how high the water levels are in Lake Tahoe. After a few above-average winters, and this past season’s slightly below-average winter, there isn’t a ton of sand to work with. But it is enough to get the job done.
My advice: bring a chair, a backpack with a cooler, pull out your lunch from T’s and settle in. Crack open a cold one and enjoy one of the most beautiful spots on the lake. And while you probably won’t have it all to yourself, my guess is you won’t enjoy it any less.
Nevada Sports Net's executive producer Alex Margulies will feature a local recreation activity every Thursday in his "Exploring Our Backyard" feature. "Exploring Our Backyard" will return with new TV episodes this summer. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @marguliespxp.