Updated: August 2023

Experience the best of the fall season in Lake Tahoe by exploring our curated list of things to do in Lake Tahoe in October. Breathe in the crisp aroma of autumn leaves while admiring the deep blue colors of the lake. 

Whether you’re hiking local trails with loved ones or seeking unforgettable experiences with friends, Lake Tahoe promises to be America’s most beautiful alpine destination for your fall dreams to come true!

1. Appreciating Fall Colors

The Changing Foliage

During October in Lake Tahoe, nature puts on a spectacular show with its changing foliage, painting the landscape in stunning fall colors. As the leaves transition into vibrant hues of red, orange, and gold, the surroundings become a glorious fall display for visitors.

Best Spots for Leaf-Peeping

To fully appreciate this autumn spectacle, leaf-peeping enthusiasts should head to the best spots around the lake.

If you’ve already taken steps to book your stay at Camp Richardson, you won’t have to travel further to experience views that will leave you in awe.

These places are renowned for their picturesque views and perfect for enjoying the vibrant autumn scenery:

Photography Opportunities

For those looking to capture the beauty of fall in Lake Tahoe through photography, the key is to play with natural light and composition. 

The soft, golden light during sunrise and sunset can enhance the colors while framing the foliage against the lake’s backdrop adds depth to the images. 

With a keen eye and patience, photographers can capture the enchanting essence of October in Lake Tahoe.

2. Outdoor Adventures

Hiking Trails

If you want to spend a peaceful morning or afternoon outside, pack a backpack with some water and food and go on a hike through the stunning fall foliage! Camp Richardson has direct access to the Tahoe Basin’s famous Desolation Wilderness and Rainbow Trail! 

You can choose from other incredible trails based on your skill level and how far you are willing to hike.

Consider exploring these Lake Tahoe hiking trails:

Biking Trails

Mountain biking and cycling are great activities for those that love the outdoors, especially in the fall! Enjoy the beauty of the mountains and the lake, or feel free to use a road bike that can cruise along the twisting mountain roads.

You’ll love biking through the fall colors around Lake Tahoe and hearing the crunch of leaves under your bike tires.

Check out these popular South Lake Tahoe Mountain Bike Trails:

3. Fall Festivals and Events

Lake Tahoe hosts a variety of fall festivals and events in October. Oktoberfest celebrations feature local beer festivals, while harvest festivals showcase seasonal produce and agricultural delights. 

Additionally, cultural events offer art, music, and theater performances for visitors to enjoy. From beer enthusiasts to foodies and art lovers, there’s something for everyone to celebrate and experience in Lake Tahoe during October.

To stay up-to-date on this year’s current October festivals and events, go to Visit Lake Tahoe’s website. There, you’ll be able to find current fall festivals and events happening in Lake Tahoe this year!

4. Wildlife Watching

Salmon Spawning

Visitors have traveled to watch the Kokanee salmon spawning in Taylor Creek for years. One of the best spots to watch salmon spawning in Lake Tahoe is the Taylor Creek Visitor Center

You’ll see a sea of red as both male and female salmon work together to lay eggs that will hatch several months later. Salmon spawning typically occurs each October, so book your stay at Camp Richardson now so you can be at the creek in time!


In October, Lake Tahoe becomes a paradise for birdwatchers. Migratory birds flock to the region, offering a diverse and captivating sight. From elegant waterfowl on the lake to raptors soaring above, visitors can enjoy observing these beautiful creatures in the serene and picturesque setting of Lake Tahoe. 

Whether you’re a seasoned birder or simply appreciate nature’s beauty, birdwatching in Lake Tahoe during October promises an unforgettable experience.

5. Lake Cruises and Scenic Drives

Lake Cruises

For a unique perspective, indulge in boat tours that offer breathtaking views of the lake’s pristine waters and surrounding landscapes. Whether it’s a leisurely cruise at sunset or an adventurous journey exploring hidden coves, Lake Tahoe boat tours promise memorable experiences.

Sail Tahoe Blue offers daily sailboat cruises and private charters until mid-October. To guarantee your preferred lake cruise during your October trip, book early, as many daily cruises tend to close for the season as the weather becomes cooler.

Scenic Drives

If you prefer exploring by land, embark on picturesque scenic drives that take you through the stunning surroundings of Lake Tahoe. From the winding roads of the Emerald Bay scenic drive to the panoramic vistas of the Tahoe Rim Drive, each route offers its own charm and beauty.

6. Fall Flavors and Dining

Indulge in the heartwarming charm of local cuisine, which celebrates seasonal dishes and specialties that capture the essence of the harvest season. From hearty stews infused with the freshest ingredients to delightful pumpkin-flavored treats, Lake Tahoe’s culinary scene promises a tasteful dining experience amid the fall setting. 

Here are a few restaurant recommendations to check out:

7. Relaxation and Wellness

Spas & Wellness Centers

Relax this October with Lake Tahoe’s spas and wellness centers that provide a serene escape for visitors to unwind and rejuvenate. Pamper yourself with soothing massages, refreshing facials, and holistic wellness programs that nurture the mind, body, and soul. 

Experience the ultimate relaxation and leave feeling refreshed and revitalized! 

Check out these spas near South Lake Tahoe:

Yoga & Meditation

In the serene setting of Lake Tahoe, yoga and meditation provide you with opportunities to connect with nature and find inner peace. Embrace the calming ambiance as you deepen your practice and foster mindfulness. 

Let the tranquil surroundings guide you to a place of profound serenity at these South Lake Tahoe yoga studios:

8. Fall Shopping

Unique Souvenirs

Seek out locally made crafts and gifts that showcase Lake Tahoe’s craftsmanship. These one-of-a-kind souvenirs are perfect mementos to cherish your visit to Lake Tahoe. 

Souvenir shops near South Lake Tahoe:

Farmer’s Markets

Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Lake Tahoe’ best farmer’s markets, brimming with an array of fresh produce and handmade items. From seasonal fruits and vegetables to handmade crafts, these markets offer a wonderful opportunity to experience the local culture and bring home some of the region’s finest treasures.

Explore these farmer’s markets on your next trip to Lake Tahoe:

9. Venture Out on a Day Trip to South Lake Tahoe

If you don’t live too far away from South Lake Tahoe currently, consider taking a day trip! October is the perfect time for a day trip to Lake Tahoe. 

With the summer heat fading and the leaves changing, there’s plenty of opportunity for outdoor fun! Visitors can take advantage of pleasant temperatures, stunning mountain views, and crystal clear waters, making this California paradise a must-visit destination.

South Lake Tahoe also has a vibrant nightlife with dozens of restaurants, bars, and venues hosting everything from DJs to open mic nights featuring local artists. Shopping is also a must when visiting Lake Tahoe for the day! 

Visitors can find everything from souvenirs and apparel shops to antique stores filled with locally produced goods. No matter what type of activity you choose, a day trip here in October will surely be an unforgettable experience.

Is October a Good Time to Visit Lake Tahoe?

Yes, October is an excellent time to visit Lake Tahoe. The crisp autumn air provides a welcome relief from the hot summer months, and nature lovers will find plenty of vibrant colors in the surrounding forest due to the changing leaves. The lake remains a refreshingly cool temperature all year round, perfect for swimming, boating, or fishing. Plus, there’s never a shortage of breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and its picturesque alpine lakes.

October also offers plenty of fun outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, camping, skiing, and snowboarding when conditions are favorable. With its plentiful attractions and activities available throughout the entire month, it’s no wonder why so many people choose to visit Lake Tahoe in October!

10. Take a Tour on Horseback

Nothing screams fall more than enjoying the fall colors on horseback! You can ride through stunning National Forest trails, peaceful mountain meadows, or next to the crystal-clear water of Lake Tahoe.

You and your family will love spending time outside while doing something completely different from your everyday routine! Check out Camp Richardson Corral for scenic guided horseback rides in the fall.

11. Play Disc Golf

A unique way to enjoy the outdoors this fall is with a friendly game of disc golf! Lake Tahoe disc golf courses are typically open until the snow falls, allowing you to enjoy the fall colors while competing against your family or friends.

Just search for a disc golf course near you, and you can get playing almost immediately!

12. Sip Hot Apple Cider Around a Campfire

As the weather cools off, there’s only one right combination for staying warm, campfires and warm apple cider! Camp Richardson is the perfect setting for building a cozy fire, pulling out a chair, and cuddling up with a big blanket with a cup of apple cider in your hands.

Tall trees surround you, making you feel like you’re one with nature – no worries can trouble you out here!

13. See Tahoe From Above in a Hot Air Balloon

Taking a hot air balloon ride in South Lake Tahoe in the fall is an experience like no other. With its pristine mountain peaks, crystal clear lake, and brilliant fall foliage, you will feel as if you are flying through a postcard! Lake Tahoe Balloons offers hot air balloon rides through mid-October, so book your next adventure now!

14. Stargaze From Your Tent

Make your way to the General Store to grab a cup of hot chocolate to stay warm as the sun sets over Lake Tahoe. When your campfire burns low, crawl into your tent and look up at the stars.

Try to find your favorite constellation and search for the North Star. The crickets chirping in the background will create a peaceful night, allowing you to drift off to sleep and go on a fun fall adventure in the morning!

15. Complete a Jigsaw Puzzle or Read a Book

If you’re staying in one of the cabins at Camp Richardson, don’t forget to pack a jigsaw puzzle or a good book! Pour the puzzle pieces onto one of the tables and get to work. As you solve your puzzle, talk with your significant other, family member, or friends.

While taking a break from your puzzle, grab a book and stay cozy next to the gas fireplace inside your cabin – this is your chance to get the relaxation you’ve been craving.

16. Watch the Sun Rise or Set

One of the most amazing experiences Lake Tahoe offers in the fall is watching the sunrise or sunset. As the days start to get shorter, and the sun rises and sets earlier on the horizon, you can take in some of the most enthralling natural views imaginable.

17. Visit a Historic Resort

If you’re ready to experience Lake Tahoe in the fall, book your stay at Camp Richardson today! You’ll want to hold your spot in one of our year-round cabins, Historic Hotel, Beachside Inn, or Lake Tahoe Marina Duplex, as bookings go fast!

You’ll remember your stay at Camp Richardson for years to come! Questions about lodging or things to do in Lake Tahoe? Let’s talk!