Early Morning Tahoe

Lake Tahoe on a beautiful December morning
Photo by: Daniel West (Stock Exchange)

Morning, everybody! Today’s dip into the mailbag brings us to Lake Tahoe, one of the largest freshwater lakes in North America, and the largest high-altitude “alpine” lake. Bordering the states of California and Nevada, it is a popular destination for water sports, winter sports, and of course, gambling. The Tahoe area is home to a number of great wheelchair accessible hotels and resorts as well as several tour operators and event planners who can help visitors get the most from this natural treasure.

Northstar at Tahoe Resort is our first stop. With diverse activities including ice skating, mountain tours, village crafts, a spa and fitness center, and even geocaching, Northstar is one of the best selections for handicapped travelers. Check out its ADA Access page and you’ll see accessible parking lots, pathways, elevators, restrooms, and other amenities featured prominently. Dogs, including service animals, are welcome on the grounds and at many events.

At Zephyr Cove Resort, you can enjoy wheelchair access cruises around Lake Tahoe. The resort’s Tahoe Queen is recognized as the only authentic Mississippi-style paddlewheel ship on the lake, and the M.S. Dixie II has the distinction of being the largest vessel out there on Lake Tahoe, hands down. All cruises leave from the resort and have accessible accommodations. When you’re not taking in a splendid dinner cruise, you can also enjoy a variety of other features at the resort, such as its beautiful marina.

If you’d like to learn how to ski, but you’re just not sure you can, Heavenly Ski Resort of Lake Tahoe is for you. Heavenly offers a full range of adaptive ski training programs and services for the disabled. This includes instruction for the blind and those with disability of one leg, both legs, all extremities, and those with other special needs. Heavenly provides a full range of equipment to get you out on the slopes and confident about your ability to ski. There are also special classes for other first-time skiers.

A great handicapped organization operates around Lake Tahoe, the Tahoe Area Coordinating Council for the Disabled. As a nonprofit org, members provide complete access guides to services in the Tahoe Basin and Alpine County area. Their information includes accessible hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, businesses, conventions, and weddings. They also have monthly meetings and sponsor their own events and awards for businesses that go above and beyond in providing top-quality accessibility. Their site is about as close as you can get to an access guide for the shores of Lake Tahoe, and I’m sure they’d love to hear from you if you have any questions after browsing their pages.

Sierra at Tahoe is another outstanding option if you want a fully accessible ski resort that respects your abilities and needs. According to the site, it was selected “Most Friendly, Most Accommodating and Most Accessible” ski resort for 2005 from TACCD. Granted, it’s been a few years since then, but this is something they seem very proud of, so hopefully standards are still high!

If you ask me, Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful sights in the country, and this is just a slice of how accommodations on this lake’s pristine shores have expanded over the years. Just about any way you can think of to enjoy the lake is available to visitors of all abilities. So, as we close the mailbag for today’s visit, thanks for asking and for reading … and as always, adventure on!


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