On a trip to Lake Tahoe in Nevada at the beginning of summer, we found a secluded trail new to us called Skunk Harbor. This trail starts just off the highway on the east side of this pristine lake. No signage exists, so it’s a bit tricky to find. It’s about two miles north of the Spooner Lake junction of Highway 50 with Highway 28 going north. A parking turnout for a few cars is a clue that this is how you hike down to Skunk Harbor. You will have views of the lake all the way down.
We scratched our heads, surveyed the area, and wandered around looking for the beach. Finally a local came by and told us that Lake Tahoe is so high this year after all the melting snow that the beach is mostly underwater. The pier is completely submerged. Mystery solved! The family waded in and soon the kids were shouting and enjoying the water, beach or no beach.
An abandoned stone house just above the water reflects the history of Skunk Harbor. In the 1920s, the wealthy family of George Newhall built a summer house here for vacations and parties. Everything was brought in by boat. During the Roaring Twenties, this was a lively place indeed.
After taking in all the beauty of the underwater beach, we started the steep climb back up the hill. We stopped often to enjoy the views (and because we were huffing and puffing and needed to rest a bit).
On the way down, views of the lake had pulled my attention, but on the way back up, I gave more notice to the pines. The stands of different kinds fill the hills. The green is all around and so elegant.
Tip on finding the trail to Skunk Harbor: Stop in the Incline Village Visitor’s Center (on the main road through town) and you can pick up a QR code for this and other trails in the area. Scan the code with your smartphone, and Google maps will open with specific mileage information. It’s a bit hard to find this trail, but worth the effort!
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