cross country skiing and snowshoeing in South Lake Tahoe

The Lake Tahoe region may have the greatest concentration of large xc ski areas in the U.S., with more than 800 km of groomed trails. Most of that is on the north end of the lake, but South Shore has a good network of trails, too. Most also allow snowshoes.

Sorensen's Resort has accommodations and meals in the Hope Valley, CA area. The Hope Valley Outdoor Center (530-694-2266, www.hopevalleyoutdoors.com) is near the junction of Highways 89 and 88, about 20 miles outside of South Lake Tahoe where you can walk the Emigrant Trail and enjoy a historic experience shared with the settlers that trekked to California seeking gold. It has about 60 km of marked xc ski trails, 20 miles of which are groomed, and there are lessons and rental gear. Trail fees are by donation. Lodging at Sorensen's Resort (530-694-2203, 800-423-9949, www.sorensensresort.com) that has more than 2 dozen cabins to accommodate a range of guests. There is also a cafe open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Kirkwood Cross-Country (209-258-7248, www.kirkwood.com) has 80 km of machine-groomed tracks, skating lanes and three interconnected trail xc ski systems with three warming huts, including the 1864 Kirkwood Inn, a trappers' log cabin full of nostalgia. The trail pass is $18 and lower for skiers aged 7-18. A professional ski patrol and a variety of programs. Rental gear includes cross-country ski, telemark, snowshoes and pulk sleds. XC ski lessons are also available. Spectacular scenery with ridge tops and meadows. CCSAA member

Camp Richardson Resort (530-542-6584, www.camprichardson.com) in South Lake Tahoe has a cross-country ski center with lessons, rentals and trails along the Lake Tahoe shoreline. Historic hotel, cabins, and the Beachside Inn. CCSAA member

Spooner Lake Cross-Country on Hwy 28, about a half-mile north of Hwy 50 in the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park on the east side of Lake Tahoe. There are beautiful views of Lake Tahoe, but it does not have a commerical operator to maintain the trails any longer.

Heavenly's Adventure Park (775-586-7000) at the top of the gondola will include a cross-country skiing and snowshoeing center. You'll find 5 km of groomed trails that meander through the forest and provide awesome views from nearly 3,000 feet above Lake Tahoe. Cross-country and snowshoe equipment is available. Cross-country skiing lessons daily.