DescriptionIncline Village, the second largest community in the North Lake Tahoe area and the largest on the Nevada shore, spreads back toward the mountains from the lake's northeastern corner. The town takes its name from the Great Incline Tramway, built in 1874 to transport logs to the crest of the Carson Range; from there a flume sluiced them down to the Washoe Valley.
This was Tahoe's quietest corner before development took off in the 1960s; today it's a popular resort town. Lakeshore Drive, a 3-mile stretch that parallels Tahoe Boulevard (SR 28), runs along the lake past pricey-looking homes and condo developments shaded by lush growths of pines and conifers. Businesses and restaurants line busy Tahoe Boulevard.
Perhaps the most spectacularly scenic way to enter Incline Village is via SR 431, better known as the Mount Rose Highway. From downtown Reno, access US 395 South and get off at exit 59 (Damonte Ranch Parkway), following the directional signs to the beginning of this designated scenic route. The road immediately narrows from four lanes to two, and the flat Washoe Valley is left behind for the gently rolling, sagebrush-dotted Sierra Nevada foothills once the climb into the mountains begins.
The Mount Rose Highway doesn't actually ascend Mount Rose; it negotiates the rugged Carson Range of the Sierras, and Mount Rose, at 10,776 feet, is one of several impressively lofty mountain peaks in this wilderness region. The road quickly gains elevation in a series of serpentine bends, with designated pull-offs offering dizzying views of the valley far below.
A different vista reveals itself around each curve. Snow often covers the mountainsides—at this elevation, July and August are just about the only snow-free months of the year. It glints under the brilliant blue sky like diamonds, adding a fairy-tale beauty to the scene.
Mount Rose Summit, at an elevation of just over 8,900 feet, is the point where the highway crests the Sierras. After that the descent toward Incline Village and Lake Tahoe begins via another series of hairpin curves. The initial view of Lake Tahoe, a distant, sapphire-blue mirage framed by tall pine trees, is a stunner. The highway ends at SR 28; follow the roundabout to the second turn and head into Incline Village.
A right turn on Village Boulevard will take you down to Lakeshore Drive; turn left and watch for the entrance to Incline Beach (967 Lakeshore Dr.), a little park right along the shore. The pebbly beach here is often delightfully uncrowded, and the aromatic scent of pine fills the air. The water is calm—only the slightest ripple of a wave breaking at the shoreline—and amazingly clear. The reason? Nearly half of the precipitation falling on the Lake Tahoe Basin lands directly on the lake. The remaining rain and snowfall drains through soils of decomposed granite, which creates a filtering system. This magnificent outdoor setting is a lovely place to spend a peaceful hour.
South of town SR 28 runs through Lake Tahoe-Nevada State Park, which extends from the lake to the summit of the Carson Range. Hidden Beach and Sand Harbor State Park are popular spots known for their large, rounded boulder formations. The highway then climbs above the lake, offering sweeping views westward.
Sand Harbor State Park is the scene for the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, which runs early July to late August.
Visitor InfoIncline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau 969 Tahoe Blvd. INCLINE VILLAGE, NV 89451. Phone:(775)832-1606 or (800)468-2463
Things to SeeTahoe Science Center