The Newest Way to Explore Lake Tahoe: An Underwater Trail

By now, you’ve likely heard of the Lake Tahoe Water Trail, 72 miles of pure, liquid fun off the shores of Lake Tahoe, but did you know our famous alpine lake also now includes an underwater trail? That’s right, for over two years, California State Parks and the Sierra State Parks District Foundation have been working collaboratively to launch a new trail that showcases the maritime history of Lake Tahoe.

Underwater Trail Mylana Haydu Indiana State University Center for Underwater ScienceBefore the official “opening” of the Emerald Bay Maritime Heritage Trail, I had the rare opportunity to join California State Parks, Sierra State Parks Foundation, California and Nevada resource managers, paddle outfitters, and long-time conservation advocates to watch scuba divers in real-time film their exploration of two of the dive sites. There are four separate dive sites in all, each with its own interpretive underwater panel, and a total of 12 small boats and two barges.

This is one more excellent example of a collaborative effort in the Sierra Nevada that promotes conservation and recreation forged by our history. Even if you’re not an experienced diver, it’s just fun to paddle above the barges and sunken treasurers and imagine a bygone era.

While the underwater park might not be for everyone, (cold waters, the need for scuba gear or snorkel gear, dry suits, etc.) it is fascinating to glide along the Water Trail above these sunken treasures to get a taste of our nautical past which is such an endearing part of Lake Tahoe.

Check out the Sierra Nevada Geoturism website to learn more about the Emerald Bay Maritime Heritage Trail. Paddlers can glide over the submerged treasures along the Lake Tahoe Water Trail, you can download the Water Trail Emerald Bay Day Trip map here. Just don’t forget to be sure to wear your life jacket and SUP leash!

Photo credit: Mylana Haydu, Indiana State University, Center for Underwater Science