Tahoe Swimming Holes

 

It is that time of year in Tahoe that is perfect for the locals. The summer crowds have begun to dwindle away as most kids have returned to school, the temperature still reaches the 80’s during the day, and the nights are brisk. What I love the most about this time of year, is that the swimming holes are perfect, the water is at just the right temperature for jumping into and splashing around in…and hardly anyone is there.

A “swimming hole” can be from a stream, river, or any other natural body of water that has spots deep enough for a person to swim in. All summer I wait to visit these holes, I am kind of a wimp when it comes to cold water, so the temperature has to be just right. Also, during spring and early summer the snow is still melting so the water is fast and not safe to swim in. Regardless of the time of year, or how fast the current is, remember to be cautious.

Here are a few of my favorite swimming holes around the Tahoe area. I would not recommend any of these spots for young children.

Potholes-Silver Lake / Carson Pass: 20 minute hike

Miles of granite rock have formed into giant pools along the Silver Fork American River, and some of them are so deep its hard to touch the bottom. With deep blue and dark turquoise waters is an inviting and well known spot to South Tahoe locals, as it easy to get to and there are more then a few swimming holes you can play Marco Polo in. . This use to be a hidden gem, but after a publishing in a guide book it became well known. I recommend going here from mid-summer to end of summer, the water is the perfect temperature.



To get here: This is off HWY 88 on the Carson Pass. Drive towards Silver Lake and across from the lake you will see a green access gate with parking for 4-5 cars. The trail is to the right, walk about 1.5 miles down and you can’t miss the pools.

Horsetail Falls-South Lake Tahoe: 45 minute-1 hour hike

If you enjoy chilly yet refreshing water, then this is a perfect spot to visit towards the end of summer. I know I have written about this hike before, but the swimming is too good not to talk about again. There is only a few spots that you can actually swim around in, but with crystal clear waters from the recent snow melt and the beauty all around you, its hard to not go! Plus there are a number of different rocks you can jump off from. 




To get here
: Highway 50 towards Placerville or Towards South Lake and it will be on your left/right. Parking is $5 and you will hike the Wilderness Bounty Trail. There is a couple swimming spots on the way up towards the base of the fall if you would rather not hike all the way there. If you choose to hike to the bottom you will find two swim spots there.

North Fork Falls-Emigrant Gap: 10-15 min walk

We stumbled upon this spot while camping out in this area a few years ago and we have been coming back ever since. It is my all time favorite swimming hole, and it is a secret spot not many people know about. I have only told a few people about this place because I love it so much. When you take the trail down it is almost like you have entered another world, or like you are in Oregon, it is so lush and green and so very peaceful. That is until you get to waterfall which is only 60 feet or so. You have two different pools as the waterfall has two separate drop off points, both just as deep as the other. I have actually jumped off into them both and have not touched the bottom. The water here is dark blue and quite warm too!

I won’t give out the information for this spot as it is not so well known, but let me know if you find it on your own 😉

Let me know if I should check any other swim spots out before the summer season is over!

I’ll be off hiking as many trails as I can with Baby M before the seasons start changing. Not sure if anyone knows of the “52 Hike Challenge”? But we are so close !!! Happy Labor Day

XO,C

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Tahoe Trails: Easy-Moderate

It has been some time since I have filled you all in on my recent adventures. Since we got back from our visit down in So-Cal I have not been able to catch up on anything. So I wanted to do a quick update on the recent hikes we have been on since we have returned. These are featured on the north,south, and west shore of the lake. 

South Lake Tahoe –  Hawley Grade : 4.3 miles

I recommend doing this hike mid-day, we hiked in the evening which was a terrible mistake. The misquotes (skeets: as I call them) are out thick this year, and we did not think to bring the bug spray, so we were eaten alive. Besides that this moderate trail was great for us, and had an amazing waterfall about halfway up that actually goes right over the trail. I was carrying Baby M in her pack, so I didn’t take the risk of walking through the rushing water. But, I did see many others brave it, even on their bikes!

To get here just take Highway 50 towards Sacramento and turn left on South Upper Truckee Road and follow the road the entire way down and you will see the sign for the trail on your right.


South Lake Tahoe – Eagle Lake : 1.8 miles

One of the more popular trails in Tahoe, this trail is again moderate, and fun for the whole family. You get stunning views of Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe on your way up and get to even take a dip (if you dare) into Eagle Lake once you arrive. I would definitely pack a lunch to enjoy while you are here, its nice to enjoy the scenery. When we hiked this we actually got to see a baby beaver!


To get here just go towards Emerald Bay and there is a parking lot that you can’t miss. Make sure you pay the $5.00 for the parking permit though. Remember that this is one of the most popular trails so be prepared to see a lot of others on this trail, and to be courteous of others.

North Lake Tahoe – Tunnel Creek Trail : 4.8 miles

This is one of my favorite trails on the North shore, it provides great views of the lake and you get to check out monkey rock. The trail is well taken care of with hardly any over growth and is wide enough for 3-4 people to walk side by side. This is part of the popular Flume Trail for bicycles so keep your eyes out and make sure you give them space. If you wanna check out monkey rock you can take a slight detour after the first switchback you will see a foot trail off to the left toward large boulders, and you will see a rock with a face of a gorilla carved out of it. 

You will find this trail off of the 28 in Incline Village. Parking is free on the side of the highway. You will see the trail behind Tunnel Creek Cafe which is our go-to spot for lunch after hiking. Try the turkey pesto! 

West Shore – Eagle Rock: 1.5 miles

The easiest trail on the list, this hike will take 20 min tops to get there and you get stunning views of the lake. It’s a bit difficult once you get to the rockier portion but that’s the only tough part. If you adventure around you might be able to find some caves 🙂 

Can’t miss this one of the 89 near Homewood, you’ll see a rock formation that almost goes over the street, find parking on the right. Trail heads are designated. 


 I am pretty sure our daughter has been on most hikes then many people my age at this point, and she is only 6 months! People I come across on trails either are confused as to why I have her out or they praise me. I want to inspire more moms to be adventurous, to be wild and free, and to be brave. Yes it takes more work hiking with a baby, but it’s worth it. 

Follow me on Instagram to see all my recent excursions: CandExplore

Where should we go next? 

The Horsetail Falls Edition

It’s been a warm and sunny week here in Sierra Nevada Mountains, can’t complain!! We have been wanting to hike this trail since we got back from Oregon but it was hard to pick a good day. You do not want to be hiking mid-day in 80 degree weather. Finally we had a drop in the temps and we set out early.


It’s a 3 mile hike depending on how far you go up. You can take the trail off into a few different directions too, so you can shorten it if you prefer. Being the adventurous spirits we are, we decided to take the “Wilderness Boundary Trail” which takes you to the base of the falls. You can take the “Pyramid Creek Trail” which follows along side the waterfall runoff, you’ll still get a stunning view of Horsetail.

Once you begin on the trail it starts to incline up some rocks and  boulders and then you begin to loose the trail. Then you just kinda go for it..whichever way is easiest for you to get closer to the waterfall. You will see a small creek that you have to cross over and there will be some logs to help you across.  Then follow that up towards the sound of the falls. You will be seeing others on the trail so follow them if you are uncertain.


View from Pyramid Creek Trail

The waterfalls are beautiful, we stopped for a bit and enjoyed lunch. We love just listening to the roaring waters!

Please be careful once you get there.. The water is rough and the rocks are slippery. We had a difficult time getting me up and around the rocks with Baby M in her carrier. I also had a few slips, so this trail isn’t really for families. I would stick to the Pyramid Creek Trail for families!

To get here take Highway 50 towards Placerville and you will see a pull out on your right with a parking lot. You will have to pay a fee of $5 for parking. Here is more trail info : Horsetail Falls

We have been on a waterfall mission lately. So please let me know any of your favorites around here!

The Napa Edition: 3 Family Friendly Wineries

Whenever I talk about the city of Napa in Calif. three words come to mind; wine, romance, and relaxation. But, now that Baby M is in our lives, Napa isn’t really talked about. So when F suggested we stop by there for a night on our way home from our road trip, I was a little hesitant about bringing the baby along. After I did a bit of research and talked to friends who recommended some places for us to visit I felt more comfortable knowing I have not been the only one in this situation. Here are my top three wineries that are family friendly. No strollers are recommended for these places, babies in carriers or walking only.

  1. V. Satuui : This winery is fit for all ages with a picnic ground and an artisan deli right on the grounds. No reservation is required, you can pay $15 for six tastings of whichever wine they have available that day. What is great about this place is that it is almost like a self guided tour where you can have your tasting then hit the deli and have some lunch out in their gardens. The little ones can play while you enjoy your tasty lunch and sip on the nice bottle of vino you just bought.
  2. Castello di Amorosa : Built after a 13th century Tuscan castle, this is sure to catch you and your kids attention. This place has 5 towers, a drawbridge and moat, a dungeon, and of course tasting rooms for the of age. No reservations are needed here, however they will close the entrance when they reached capacity. General Admission begins at $25 with 5 premium tastings.
  3. Sterling Vineyards : With an ariel tram that takes you over their vineyards, you can’t get a view better than this! You will be greeted with a glass of wine and you can meander around looking at their art and elevated walkways that show the proccess of wine making. General Admission begins at $29, under 21 $15, and under three are free.

V. Satuui was my favorite, we even left with a couple bottles of wine to take home.  We obviously had ourselves a great time, because I don’t have many photos. Just because we have Baby M does not mean we can’t go out and have ourselves a “responsible” good time. I encourage you all to get out there too!

Please let me know of any other places we should travel to next as a family, I would love to hear your recommendations.

XOXO, C

 

Oregon Trail pt.4

Driving into California yesterday was bittersweet as we came to an end of our Oregon adventure. Our trip isn’t quite over, but I hated leaving that beautiful state. 

We spent the past few days driving down through the rest of the coast and we were given some beautiful weather. Our last day in Cannon Beach we drove around to all the “must see” points. We checked out Ecola St. Park, which gave us a glimpse of wildlife, when entering the park we saw a heard of elk grazing upon grass on a front yard of a home. The cost to enter the park is only $5 for a parking fee… Plenty of hiking trails and picture opportunities 


We drove around the town of Cannon Beach afterwords and drove around the cute beach homes. I love the look of these homes, a few even had bunnies in their front yards with little gardens for them, there were bunnies EVERYWHERE! Then we walked along the beach to Hay Stack Rock… Any beach here has parking with access to the rock, you can’t miss it..its huge. 

Then off to Hug Point at low tide we went, so I could catch the waterfall that flowed into the ocean. You can only get to this at low tide, you go off to the right of the beach and around the first point and you will see it trickling next to a cave. 

The following day we headed to Beverly Beach St Park, which is just outside the city of Newport. On the way we HAD to stop at the Tillamook Cheese Factory , it was awesome because the tour of the building was self guided, so you can go at your own pace, and then of course grab some cheese samples when you are finished. We grabbed some fresh chocolate milk, fudge, and ice cream to go. I’m not kidding when I say that they had the freshest most amazing ice cream I’ve ever had! Even the chocolate milk was amazing, we wish they shipped it to Tahoe. And then just as we were enjoying ourselves Baby M had ANOTHER explosive diaper, her timing is impeccable. 

We had to stop for hike to.. You guessed it… another waterfall! This is Munson Falls, to get to it you have to drive down a super bumpy one way rode, but it was worth it. We then ate late lunch in Newport at Local Ocean which was right on harbor. Amazing Seafood!

This is Munson Falls

We headed down to Coos Bay  with a stop for a quick hike around the cliffs and then and stayed the night in Sunset Beach St. Park. A cute little campground with easy beach access and tide pools! 

Last night we stayed at Jedidiah Smith Redwood and got a couple hikes in before sunset. We did this stupid loop that was suggested to us called Wellman Loop, it went nowhere! It was mainly all uphill and was not maintained with no Redwoods. So we went to Stout Grove instead which was only a 0.5 mile loop. We saw some massive beautiful trees, they truly are amazing. We ended our last night with a great dinner of leftover turkey with penne noodles and Alfredo sauce haha and this great view 

Btw… Baby M has been so great. She has been sleeping through the night and is so content being outside with us. While we hike she loves looking around at everything and doesn’t make a peep.. Bringing infants on adventures isn’t hard at all. 

Driving currently to San Fransico and then off to Napa

XO, C

Oregon Coast Pt.3

Finally some sunshine!!!! Since we have began our trip we have had on and off rain. We took advantage of the “good” weather which was cloudy and that’s the day we went hiking. We seriously thought it was going to be typical beach weather the entire trip, we packed sandals and tank tops and beach supplies. But we were mistaken, and we have been making the best of it. 

We started our sun shiny day in Portland. We walked around the shops and grabbed some lunch. Went to the world famous Powell’s Book Store, where Baby M had an embarrassing exploding diaper. But, WOW! Powell’s really was amazing, so many books on every subject you could think of. Even I was a bit overwhelmed, they have an amazing coffee bar too. We didn’t spend too much time in downtown,walking around with the baby wasn’t the smartest. 

EAT AT:

  • Bunk sandwich deli: it’s a hole in the wall but has great food. Try the chicken salad sandwich.
  • Voodoo Donuts: if you love donuts you’ve heard of Voodoo! The biggest selection of crazy flavored/designed donuts. Gotta try the Portland Cream, it is a maple cream filled donut with a mustache face on it. 
  • Townshend’s Tea House: The best chai tea I’ve ever had in my life. They have over 80 specially blended teas to choose from and every flavor. I actually left with 8 0z of different looseleaf teas to brew at home. Try the Ginger Green Chai.

We took a break from the van that night and had a restful nights sleep and a nice hot shower at the Oxford Suites. A really nice clean hotel that has free (good) breakfast and a complimentary cocktail at happy hour. Then had dinner across the river in Washington at Beaches with old friends. 

Yesterday we started our coast trip with driving up to Astoria, a beautiful little town. We tried to see the Goonies House but the owner has stopped showing it to the public. If you didn’t know…the entire Goonies Movie was filmed in Oregon. We tried to see the Astoria Colum but it was so rainy and foggy it was hard to see anything. 

We then headed to Seaside and stopped for some lunch, and of course it had to be seafood. The town was cute and definitely a summer tourist spot because most of the businesses were closed. The town had starfish lights on all the posts and light banners between the posts at stoplights. We walked down to the beach to hunt for sand dollars, but ended finding hundreds of huge dead torn apart crabs, attacked by birds I’m sure.

I wish I had more pictures, but both our phones died and my camera battery died so all you have are my words to give you an idea of what it was like 😦 

We are now off to Cannon Beach and would love tips on where to hit next.

XOXO, C

Oregon Trail Pt.2

It’s been another beautiful few days in the amazing state of Oregon! We have made our way to the Northern part, with taking plenty of detours. We drove through Hood National Forest and I just about died when I saw campgrounds named Robinhood, Sherwood, and Little John. I am a Disney Fan, and a bit immature sometimes. 

Anyways.. We booked our next campsite along the historic Highway 30, and wow this must be one of the prettiest drives we have taken. Everything is so green  and most of the waterfalls are feet away from where you park, others are a short hike but well worth it…like this one :Multanomah Falls

The 2nd tallest yearound waterfall. Packed with people but well worth the crowds. 

Today we decided to go hiking along the Columbia River Gorge Trail. Our campground had a trail head right to it and we would be able to see 4-5 waterfalls on our way to our destination. Our final stop was the Multnanomah Falls Restaurant. We started at 10:30 and we were making pretty good time at the beginning. The first waterfall was 1.9 miles way called Ponytail Falls, it was the upper part to the lower Horsetail Falls. I loved this because you could walk under a cave around the back of the falls. 

This is Horsetail Falls

This is Ponytail which flows into Horsetail. You can see the trail goes under the cave and out around the other side of the waterfall.

The next stop was Oneta Falls another 0.7 miles away. It wasn’t a large waterfall but it did have a bridge going right over it 


At this point of the hike we had the option of hiking another 2.4 miles up to Triple Falls or continuing to our destination, we decided to go for the extra miles. The trail was 8/10 uphill and carrying Baby M on my front side did NOT make it any easier. But, it was so worth it. 


My legs were starting to get sore at this point, but we kept trecking on. Another 1.9 miles to Multanomah Falls..this is were it became sketchy. Lots of overgrown Poison Oak and rocky parts. We made it to our final resting place after 4 hours and just about devoured our meals then hit the road again. We were able to make it to camp before sundown. 

Thankfully Baby M was perfectly content in her carrier the entire time. Took 3 naps and I was able to feed her in the carrier which saved more time. She has been so great so far despite the teething! 

I don’t recommend that hike to families with young kids because of the poison oak and stinging nettle. Otherwise babies in carriers are the way to go and of course a hiking friend is a must. Thankfully I had Baby M’s daddy to help me along all the complicated rocky stuff.

My whole body is extremely sore today…I see some donuts to cure my pain in my future 🙂 Off to the next stop!!

XOXO, C

Oregon Trail PT.1

A 13 hour drive, countless stops, and lots of diaper changes later…we have made it to Bend, Oregon. The meca of craft breweries, and quite possibly our next home. It was honestly the most stressful drive of my entire life, and I wasn’t even the one driving. Baby M did so well the first 8 hours but then after that she cried the rest of the way, can’t blame her, car seats suck. 

We made plenty of stops, first being Klamath Falls, and no there are no waterfalls, just an awesome brewery with great people. Then Crater Lake, still covered in snow but they plow the main road year round so we easily accessed the viewpoint, we couldn’t  drive around the lake but the viewpoint was enough. 

Crater Lake: The deepest lake in the United States, no boat access besides the park officials. This is from the main viewpoint.

Next stop was Toketee Falls, only a quarter of a mile too the falls and the trail is set with stairs and stones. No strollers can access this trail but we just carried Baby M.


Next stop Watson Falls, the third tallest waterfall on Oregon standing at 272 feet. As before it was a quarter of a mile to be viewpoint and no stroller access, so again, we carried Baby M. It was moist and muddy but well worth it. 


Finally after stopping for waterfalls, food, gas, diaper changes, and feelings, we made it to Tumalo State Park. After the 13 hours and hunger and irritation, we didn’t even set up camp, just the bed in our conversion campervan. We didn’t even get out our blankets, just sheets and we were so cold in the middle of the night we used towels to cover ourselves. Thank goodness for our mini human who also is a portable mini heater. 

Our campsite at Tumalo, it sits right on the edge of the Deschutes River. 
Woke up this morning to the sounds of a rushing river and tweeting birds refreshed and ready to take on today. We want to hit up as many breweries as we can. So far it’s been 3. 

  • Deschutes, which is very family friendly, has lunch and dinner available and great beer and is very well known out of Bend. 
  • 10 Barrell: An up and coming brewery that’s small but has amazing beer. Smaller place but lots of outside seating with a fireplace. 
  • Crux Fermantation Project: by far my favorite place, it’s housed in an old AAmco Building, and has a huge outdoor area which has cornhole and lots of room for the kids to roam, food here is mainly snack types for your drunken munchies. 

Bend is such an amazing town with plenty to do. We love it here, even with the rainy weather we had today. We are off to the Columbia River Gorge next. 

XO, C

Waterfall Wednesday II

I love that we live in a place with such a vast variety of hiking trails and things to do. I am huge on a hike that can give me spectacular views of a waterfall. However, there are times as a mom of an infant that I am looking for something that does not take too long and is not too strenuous but still gets us outside.

img_3238My favorite short hike has to be Cascade Lake and falls, a two-mile total hike with only 200 feet in vertical. The trail starts off as a wide dirt path then begins to narrow and become a bit rocky, so make sure you watch your step. I can carry my daughter in her wrap the whole way, but with the 13 pounds added to my front side, it was a bit difficult at times. We stop once we get to the falls for a while to enjoy the sound of the rushing water and gaze upon Cascade Lake and Lake Tahoe which is right behind it. Cascade Lake is home to about four private residences which have a special access gate and they all get the view of Cascade Falls. The falls itself is 65+ feet and flows over boulders and dark rocks which really makes the waterfall stand out from miles away…I would love to live here, it’s like your own private mountain paradise, where you have a waterfall to look at from your backyard!

Here are a couple of shots of the falls.


To get here, drive along Highway 89 towards Emerald Bay, if coming from South Lake it’s before Emerald Bay and if coming from west shore it’s after. You can park at the Bayview campground which is a first come first serve campground and find parking, you’ll see a trail map and a sign with an arrow pointing towards the direction you need to go. Right now is perfect for seeing waterfalls due to the melting snow and it is even better because it’s not too crowded yet. In the summer time it does get very busy and parking is limited.

I hope you all find some adventure this weekend, and please let me know if you think I would enjoy any other hikes like this?

Oregon Dreaming

The past couple weeks in Tahoe have been very gloomy, with on and off rain & snow and some bits of sunshine in between. I can’t complain about the precipitation we are getting, but I am not happy with being stuck indoors with a 4 month old. We can’t go outside because its too cold and wet, and then we have so many visitors these days we can’t seem to find time to actually leave anywhere! Thankfully we are going on our first road trip as a family next week so we can get spend alone time together. So to pass the time indoors I have been googling endless amounts of info about Oregon.

We will be going on a 2 week camping adventure throughout Oregon. We rented a Ford Econo-line conversion camper-van that is equipped with a queen size bed and a kitchenette through Escape Campervans. This is the perfect camping van, especially for families because it comes with almost everything you need, such as camping chairs, kitchen utensils, sheets and pillows. We even added on a Thule box so we can put our stroller and other big items in. What I love about this company, is that each van is painted differently by an artist, and you get to choose whichever one fits your style.

We have booked campgrounds around the state and will be taking many stops along the way. Of course we have a night in Downtown Portland, a couple nights in Bend, and will going down the coastline. I know with Baby M it is going to be a bit challenging, with trying to work around her schedule. Our first day will be hardest for her with the 9 hour car ride to Bend from San Fransisco, we mapped it out with stopping every couple hours at points of interest. She is teething right now so it might makes things a bit harder but we are as prepared as we can be. Now I just need to start packing (lightly) which is hard to do as a girl who also has a baby girl.

I would love to hear any input or ideas for our trip! 

Also, we did manage to get out last night for an early dinner for a birthday and I was able to catch the sun on our way home.