Lake Tahoe Hike to Skunk Harbor

posted by Sharon Odegaard 42 Comments
Lake Tahoe Skunk Harbor

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.

Views for Miles

You will have views of the lake all the way down.Ā  Lake Tahoe Skunk Harbor

Lake Tahoe Skunk HarborLake Tahoe Skunk Harbor

Lake Tahoe Skunk HarborThe trail was remarkably uncrowded on a Monday morning. We did meet a family from New York as they, too, headed toward the harbor.Lake Tahoe Skunk Harbor

Is There Really a Harbor?

We all arrived at the place where our GPS maps showed the beach at Skunk Harbor should be. This is what we found.Lake Tahoe Skunk Harbor

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.Lake Tahoe Skunk Harbor

Lake Tahoe Skunk Harbor

The beauty of the abundant water and surrounding mountains is indescribable. The water is so clear in this sheltered cove, and it reflects the green trees and the blue sky.Lake Tahoe Skunk Harbor

Lake Tahoe Skunk Harbor

An Abandoned Stone Summer House

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.Lake Tahoe Skunk Harbor

Lake Tahoe Skunk Harbor

Hiking Back Up the Hill from Skunk Harbor

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). Lake Tahoe Skunk Harbor

The path up rises about 900 feet above the lake. Even our hearty pup sat down often to rest. Lake Tahoe Skunk Harbor

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. Lake Tahoe Skunk HarborLake Tahoe Skunk Harbor

Lake Tahoe Skunk HarborHot and winded and happy, we reached the road. This is a winner of a Lake Tahoe trail. We will certainly plan to return. Lake Tahoe Skunk Harbor

Lake Tahoe Skunk HarborHow about you? Have you discovered a hiking trail you want to return to? Lake Tahoe Skunk Harbor

How to Find Skunk Harbor

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!

Read More About Beautiful Lake Tahoe

Spring at Lake Tahoe

Greeting Summer at Lake Tahoe

Finding Lake Tahoe’s Secret Flume Trail

Enjoy a Weekend Getaway at Lake Tahoe in the Fall

Hiking the Rubicon Trail at Lake Tahoe

Exploring the Truckee River

Echoes of the Old West in Truckee


Skunk Harbor Lake Tahoe -
Lake Tahoe Hike to Skunk Harbor --

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Tamar Strauss-Benjamin at

So stunning!!

Taken For Granted at

Thank you for taking us along on this walk. I generally do not like hikes that start off going down hill. Lovely photos.

Tanja/The Red Phone Box travels at

gorgeous nature and cute dog ! #mondayescapes

Carol at

Love, love, love this post and all your gorgeous photos!

Sandra Nachlinger at

I’ve been to Lake Tahoe only once and would love to go back. The colors of the lake, the sky, the foliage are all breath-taking. Looks like a fun hike to the water’s edge.
My post features Silver Falls and Grove of the Patriarchs at Mount Rainier

Angie @ Two For the Road at

Wow! What views! Lake Tahoe is one of the many places in my bucket list for sure!

Alan Bates at

This looks like a fine short adventure. Loved the backstory about the stone house, and loved the local telling you where the beach was. How would you have known otherwise.

Have a great week ahead!!

Jim, Sydney, Australia at

Beautiful scenery.

Molly at

The colour of that water is amazing


Photo Cache at

So beautiful. I never tire of Lake Tahoe. So many nooks and crannies so to speak to explore. Been going for years and haven’t been there yet.

Mother of 3 at

Oh wow! What stunning scenery.

Anda at

This is such a beautiful hike! I’ve never been in Lake Tahoe in summer, but we go there every year in February for skiing. After reading your post I’m thinking we miss a lot by not trying it in summer as well.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup at

Were the blues truly that vivid? Glorious images! Simply glorious!
Thanks for sharing at

Junieper/Jesh at

Sorry you missed the beach this year! Yes, this winter lines of traffic every weekend to go to the snow! Although now it’s dryer than last summer, looking at the short blooming time of the flowers, and lots of butterflies.
Do you know we only live 2 hrs. away from Lake Tahoe We live on a different highway, also leading to the lake. Love you give us at All Seasons a view of someone visiting:):) Have a great summer week!

Sharon at

Yes — I knew you lived somewhere around the area but not exactly which direction. We went up to Highway 80 and visited Truckee and the Donner Memorial. On other trips we’ve driven up through Sacramento. And I’ve flown in from Reno. I love Lake Tahoe!

Marja at

Wow what a stunning photos of a beautiful area Great for walking. I love walking and have many favourite tracks here

William Kendall at

Gorgeous views!

Lady Fi at

Wonderful shots.

betty - NZ at

What fantastic scenery! I can see why you like to go there, there’s so much to see.

Thanks for making ‘My Corner of the World’ a success this week!

Katherine at

We were in Lake Tahoe last week and I was looking for a hike to do! Although we were at a different spot on the lake so I couldn’t have hiked to skunk harbor. It looks like a gorgeous hike though! #WanderfulWednesday

Sharon at

That’s funny — we were there at the same time! We had to find a few new hikes this year because the snow level was so low. Some of our favorites were still completely covered! It was so beautiful though, and we found plenty to do right around the lake where summer paths are already showing up!

Allison at

Sounds like a fun hike. I’ve never been to Lake Tahoe but the pictures I see of it are always gorgeous. I’d like to visit one day. #wanderfulwednesday

Lisa | Handmade in Israel at

Such brilliant blues! That water looks so inviting!

Rajlaksmi at

OMG these pictures are incredibly beautiful. Gosh!! how pretty is this place. Loving it.

Angela Vincent at

I was so interested to read this. I have only been to Lake Tahoe in ski season. In fact we were there in February this year when there was more snow than I have ever seen in my life! Your pictures are beautiful. I would so love to retrain in summer one day #farawayfiles

Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) at

What an incredible sounding hike, Sharon! I’ve been desperate to visit Lake Tahoe since reading more about it on another blog and seeing your beautiful photos makes me even keener to go. That blue water is calling my name… Thanks for sharing on #farawayfiles

Phil and Garth at

Fabulous photos! Lake Tahoe looks like a wonderful place to go for a hike! you can’t go wrong with gorgeous scenery like that! thanks for sharing šŸ™‚

Nancy Sevilla at

OMG!! These photos are amazing!! Great capture, love the post!

Karletta Marie at

You always take me to stunning new places around the world Sharon. And truly, those images are glorious. It’s a bit grey and wintery in Brisbane, Australia at the moment, so a walk with you was very pleasant … those blue skies …

Paul Healy at

Photos look stunning. I’d love to go to Lake Tahoe, must add it to the list.

Kalyan Panja at

After reading so much about lake Tahoe as also watch the beautiful landscapes, I really wish I can visit there soon to enjoy the charming beauty.

Lisa at

What a beautiful place to go hiking! I’ve never visited Lake Tahoe when in the US, but it looks sublime! I love the name, Skunk Harbor, too. That’s one nameplace I won’t be forgetting in a hurry!

Nitin Singhal at

I have never heard of Lake Tahoe before. It is so sad that beach at skunk harbor got submerged due to melting of ice. Looks like another casualty of global warming.

Shona Grant at

Coincidentally, friends of mine from Australia have just spent the last week at Lake Tahoe and I have been green with envy. It looks so beautiful. I wouldn’t know where to start so have pinned this article for when I need some inside info. šŸ™‚

Bernadette Jackson at

I’m so glad to hear I’m not the only one to have perfected the stop to look at the view (while getting my breath back). But seriously, just how beautiful is this? Those photos made my eyes happy, so full of greens and blues and I’d swear I could almost smell the pines.

Sage Scott at

Your photos are absolutely stunning! I feel like I just explored this gorgeous trail and saw these amazing views as part of your hiking party.

La Vida Journey at

Looks like a such a beautiful and peaceful place!

Julie at

One of those places I would love to see. Great photos of Lake Tahoe and of your gorgeous dog.

Karen at

Ah brings dich lovely memories of our Harley trip there 10 years ago.

Katy Stern at

What an absolutely gorgeous hike, with the most incredible views!! Love love love your captures, such beautiful colours. Thanks for linking up to Monday Escapes

Annie Haycock at

Having only seen a part of Lake Tahoe from a greyhound bus (at least, I think that’s where I was – didn’t have any maps back then) one evening fifty years ago – gosh, 50 years!! it’s interesting to see what it’s really like.

Cerys at

This looks amazing – I hope one day that I can take my kids here and hopefully they will still like hiking as they do today. I have only been past it as we didn’t stop on a road trip many years ago. No idea why! #MondayEscapes


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