Visit D.L. Bliss State Park on the western shore of Lake Tahoe in the summer and it’s bustling with people. But if you visit in the winter, the entrance gate is closed and the only bustle you’ll hear is the wind through the sugar pines. Strap on snowshoes, hop the gate (it’s only closed to keep the cars out), and embark on a 2-mile (one-way) mellow trek to the western edge of Lake Tahoe.
Chances are good you’ll be the only one at the snowy beach watching the steel-blue water lap against the shore. The snowshoe hike to get there is fairly straightforward. Simply follow the access road until it reaches the lake. You’ll pass dozens of snowed-over campsites en route.
A few moderate ups and downs keep things interesting, and the further you get from the hum of cars on Highway 89, the more peaceful the setting. Reaching the shore gives you a tremendous view of Lake Tahoe, with powdered-sugar mountaintops surrounding it.
It’s a beautiful place to have lunch and perhaps be inspired, as Mark Twain was when he first saw it: “… it must surely be the fairest picture the whole earth affords.” Pure Bliss.
Park at the entrance to D.L. Bliss State Park on Hwy. 89. (If the entrance is closed, go south on Hwy. 89 about 0.1 mile and look for a safe turn-out to park.) Go around the fence and follow the road to the beach. Dogs are allowed on the road, but not on the beach.