A winter trip to Reno and Lake Tahoe doesn’t have to be a bummer just because you don’t ski. Activities in the area reach far beyond hitting the slopes or sipping cocoa in the ski lodge. You’ll find options for adventure that will take you outside to enjoy the area’s natural beauty without ever having to step into a pair of skis.
Wild for Virginia City
Longing for simpler times? Visit Virginia City for a taste of Wild West adventure that hearkens back to the 1800s. Watch for wild horses as you wind your way up scenic Route 341 to the city’s historic district—one of the largest in the country. Stroll down wooden boardwalks along C Street as you follow in the footsteps of Virginia City’s most famous resident, Mark Twain. Head uphill to A and B streets to see Victorian homes that once sheltered the city’s wealthy, or down the proverbial slippery slope to D Street, once the town’s red-light district. While you’re there, stop by the Bucket of Blood Saloon, famous for its 1870s-era décor, bloody mary concoction and live country music. Snack on the popcorn; it’s free.
Relax on a Secluded Beach|
D.L. Bliss State Park on Lake Tahoe’s western shore buzzes with crowds during the summer months, but you’ll have the place to yourself come winter. Strap on a pair of snowshoes and hike from the entrance gate—it’s closed to prevent cars from getting stuck in the snow—to the shore of Lake Tahoe. The two-mile hike along the snow-covered access road becomes peaceful as the sights and sounds of Highway 89 fade into the distance behind you. Take a picnic lunch and clear the snow off one of the campsite picnic tables along the way, or spread a blanket on the sand at water’s edge.
Go for a Cruise
Grab your camera and climb aboard the M.S. Dixie II for a two-hour sightseeing cruise. The 520-passenger vessel sets sail at high noon, when the light is ideal for taking stunning photos of the lake and mountains. Bring your whole group on Saturday evening for the M.S. Dixie II Dinner Dance Cruise. Travel to Vikingsholm and Fannette Island where you can enjoy a four-course meal that includes entree choices such as rib eye steak with potato gratin and grilled asparagus, or organic free range chicken breast with wild mushrooms, spinach and corn.
Soak in the Springs
Bubble away the winter chill in a mineral-rich soak at the local hot springs. Sierra Hot Springs in Sierraville offers soaking pools ranging from 85 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn lobster-red in the hot pool that sits inside a geodesic dome with stained glass skylights. The hot pool has a soft-sand bottom and two cold plunges beside it so you can cool off. Watch the clouds glide over the treetops at the outdoor Meditation Pool, and then take a meditative walk around the 700-acre property bordering the Plumas National Forest.