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Interesting Facts, Statistics and Myths About Lake Tahoe

Submitted on 2/22/17 | by Lindsey Carlson

Lake Tahoe is one of those places that have accrued a long list of urban legends, interesting facts, and of course, spooky stories… from the legend of Tahoe Tessie to the morbid tale of the Donners, Lake Tahoe has had some interesting labels in the past. Read on to find out interesting facts about Lake Tahoe, and get to the bottom of this mysterious lake.

Facts about Lake Tahoe

1.) Where is Lake Tahoe?

Nestled amongst the pines sits Lake Tahoe basin. Lake Tahoe is located on the border of Northern California and Nevada, with Reno a 45 minute (or so) drive away. About ⅓ of the basin in in Nevada, and ⅔ in California, with the Sierra Nevada to the west and Carson Range to the east. Elevation at Lake Tahoe is 6,225 ft above sea level, with mountain peaks that rise to more than 10,000 ft.

2.) How deep is Lake Tahoe?

Lake Tahoe’s watery depths are impressive - the deepest part of Lake Tahoe is 1,645 ft! Average depth is 1,000 ft, so don’t try to touch the bottom. Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the United States, and the tenth deepest in the world.

3.) What is the highest peak in Lake Tahoe?

Surrounded by mountains Lake Tahoe offers incredible hiking, and huge heights. The highest peak in Lake Tahoe is Freel Peak, elevation 10,891 ft. Freel Peak is located in the Carson Range, and was named after early settler James Freel.

4.) How long is Lake Tahoe? How wide?

Lake Tahoe is shaped in a oblong shape, and is 22 miles long and 12 miles wide. The lake has 72 miles of shoreline, and is considered the highest lake of its size in the United States.

5.) What animals are in Lake Tahoe?

Humans aren’t the only creatures enchanted by the beautiful blue waters of Lake Tahoe. Animals in Lake Tahoe include black bears, yellow-bellied marmots, and many different birds and fish. The famous kokanee salmon were introduced to Lake Tahoe in 1944, and are delicious! If you are interested in fishing, check out our fishing section for a list of fishing guides in Lake Tahoe.

6.) Is the Lake actually really, really blue and clear?

YES!

Myths about Lake Tahoe

1.) Tahoe Tessie

So, what is at the bottom of Lake Tahoe, anyway? Tahoe Tessie is a prehistoric fish that is said to live at the bottom of the Lake. Legends of this creature originated from the Washoe and Paiute Indian tribes who told white settlers about the monster. Modern sightings date from 1972, so keep your eye out when you visit the mystical lake!

2.) Haunted House

If you’re staying at the Tahoe Biltmore, keep on the lookout for the showgirl who haunts the place. Legend has it that a showgirl died at the famous casino, and still haunts the property. Another supposedly haunted hotel is across the street at the Cal-Neva, where Marilyn Monroe is said to turn the hall lights on and off.

3.) Jacques Cousteau

Famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau may or may not have had a brush with something terrifying while on a deepwater dive in the mid 1970s. He is quoted saying “The world isn’t ready for what was down there,” but never released any photos. Speculations include a morbid scene of perfectly preserved bodies from the 1920s (executed mob members wearing cement shoes). Or perhaps he met up with Tahoe Tessie.