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The south shore is a great jumping-off point for day treks into nearby Eldorado National Forest and Desolation Wilderness.
Desolation Wilderness. Trails at the 100-square-mile wilderness lead to gorgeous backcountry lakes and mountain peaks. It's called Desolation Wilderness for a reason, so bring a topographic map and compass, and carry water and food. In summer, you can access this area by boarding a boat taxi ($12 one way) at Echo Chalet (9900 Echo Lakes Rd., off U.S. 50, 530/659–7207; www.echochalet.com) and crossing Echo Lake. The Pacific Crest Trail also traverses Desolation Wilderness. El Dorado National Forest Information Center, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 95667. 530/644–6048. www.fs.usda.gov/eldorado.
Pacific Crest Trail. Hike a couple of miles on this famous mountain trail that stretches from Mexico to Canada. Echo Summit, about 12 miles southwest of South Lake Tahoe off U.S. 50, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 96150. 916/285–1846 or 888/728–7245. www.pcta.org.
Heavenly Village Outdoor Ice Rink. If you're here in winter, practice your jumps and turns at this rink between the gondola and the cinema. 1001 Heavenly Village Way, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 96150. 530/542–4230. www.theshopsatheavenly.com. $20; skate rental available. Nov.–Mar., daily 10–8, weather permitting.
South Tahoe Ice Arena. For year-round fun, head to this city-operated NHL regulation size indoor rink where you can rent equipment and sign up for lessons. In the evening the lights are turned low and a disco ball lights up the ice. 1176 Rufus Allen Blvd., South Lake Tahoe, CA, 96150. 530/542–6056. tahoearena.com. $9, plus $3 skate rental. Daily, hrs vary.
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