Tahoe Basin Master Gardener-Led Tours


Join South Lake Tahoe Master Gardeners for one or two guided tours. These tours require pre-registration. If you would like to pre-register, modify your registration here using your reference number and email.
If onsite, go see the conference help desk to sign up and pay. 

Both tours will have bus transportation provided. You may NOT drive seperately. Busses will depart from the pool area.

  • Morning Tour: Meet at the pool at 8:10 AM to load - Bus departs at 8:30 AM sharp
  • Afternoon Tour: Meet at the pool at 1:10 PM to load - Bus departs at 1:30 PM sharp


Morning Tour (4 hours): Historic Tallac Estate and Gardens

Enjoy a guided tour of the Historic Tallac Estate and Gardens, including the Baldwin Estate (Tallac Museum), the historic demonstration gardens and a walk to the Taylor Creek Visitor Center. You may be able to observe the Kokanee Salmon spawning which can take place this time of year depending on various environmental factors. (Wildlife sightings are never guaranteed; however, in October there is often an increased presence from all wildlife including ravens, bald eagles, coyotes and bear).

The tour departs from Granlibakken at 8:30 a.m. and will last four hours. Depending on traffic, it is a 45-60 minute bus ride to the Tallac site, with many scenic views along the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. 

UCCE Master Gardener David Long and Great Basin Institute Visitor Services Coordinator Erin Gavlock will lead a 90 minute walking tour featuring the gardens and landscaping, with an emphasis on the people who originally planted the area, how the current caretakers maintain the landscaping, and highlight issues that arise while operating the estates. Next is a stop at the vegetable garden for a brief discussion on what is grown and why.  The tour continues with a walk through the Washoe gathering garden to learn how some of the plants there were used by the Washoe. 

As time allows, enjoy a walk along the beach to view native plants, and return to the parking area along the Prominade, used by the long gone hotels and Casino operated by Lucky Baldwin.
There will be a considerable amount of walking and some stone steps. The walk is mainly on hard pack or paved surfaces, but the beach trail is more uneven with roots and snags encountered.

Restrooms are available at the site. The bus will return you to Granlibakken by 12:30 PM and the lunch will still be available at the hotel when you return.

Activity Level: Moderate, there will be a considerable amount of walking and some stone steps. The walk is mainly on hard pack or paved surfaces, but the beach trail is more uneven with roots and snags encountered. 

Tentative Schedule:  8:30 AM – 12:30 PM

  • Tour bus departs from the pool area
  • 8:30 – 9:15 Drive to site
  • 9:15-9:30 Off the bus and settle in
  • 9:30– 11:30  Tours
  • 11:30-11:45 Get back on bus
  • 11:45 – 12:30 Return to Granlibaken for Box lunch


Afternoon Tour (4 hours): Slow Food Lake Tahoe Garden and UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center

  • Half Day Tour: Additional fee, pre-registration required, walking on uneven surfaces, offsite activity
  • $50 fee
  • Tour bus departs from the pool area
  • Distance/time between:

This tour provides both an opportunity to see a successful community garden operation that weathers the Sierra climate year after year and a chance to learn about ongoing scientific research happening at Lake Tahoe. Depart Granlibakken at 1:30 for a thirty-minute drive north along the scenic Truckee River. You will pass Olympic Valley and Alpine Meadows, drive through the historic town of Truckee and arrive at the Truckee River Regional Park to the Slow Food Garden. 

At the community garden site, Slow Food Lake Tahoe both rents beds seasonally to locals engaged in growing their own fresh produce and uses the site to grow and harvest food donated to local food banks. For photos and more details about the gardens, visit their website: https://www.slowfoodlaketahoe.org/truckee-community-garden. Your guide for this section of the tour will be Joey Eberhardt, garden manager. Joey will spend about 45 minutes describing how the food garden has built a close-knit community as well as providing nutritious locally grown produce to the Truckee area. Joey is happy to answer your questions about the successes and challenges of operating a large community garden in a cold climate area. There is a bit of walking on both pavement and dirt between the bus parking area and the gardens. Restrooms are available nearby at the park. 

Hop back on the bus for a drive south to visit the Tahoe City Field Station owned and operated by the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC). This field stations is located in a historic building, which once served as a fish hatchery. You will be met by UCCE Master Gardener and TERC education and outreach program manager Alison Toy. Alison will provide a tour of the field station, highlighting the historical aspects of the area and various research projects which take place there. You will have the opportunity to visit the Eriksson Education Center and learn about the timeline of invasive species at Lake Tahoe. Take a quick stroll on a flat, brick path around the three-acre native plant demonstration gardens. Board the bus for the short drive down the west shore of Lake Tahoe back to Granlibakken.

Activity Level: Easy/Moderate, there is a bit of walking on both pavement and dirt between the bus parking area and the gardens.

Tentative Schedule:  1:30 – 5:30 PM

  • Tour bus departs from the pool area
  • 30 minutes arrival travel time to Slow Foods Garden (1:30 – 2:00)
  • 10 minutes to get off bus and walk to garden (2:00-2:10)
  • 45 minutes on site at Slow Foods Garden (2:10 – 2:55)
  • 10 minutes to walk back to the bus and board (2:55 – 3:05)
  • 35 minute travel time to TERC (3:05-3:40)
  • ~1.25 hours on site, (3:40 – 5:00)
  • 15 minutes return travel time (5:00-5:15)

Self-Guided Tours

Want to explore Lake Tahoe on your own during tour time on Tuesday? We've compiled a list of great options in the area for you. Check them out below! Book and pay online yourself.


Ultimate Lake Tahoe Self-Guided Driving Tour

Explore Lake Tahoe’s dazzlingly blue waters and stunning mountainous backdrop with this self-guided audio tour! Drive around the entirety of the lake as you learn about its origins, admire its breathtaking vistas, and dive into its Gilded Age history. Explore hikes, historic homes, and waterfall views along the Lake Tahoe tour. This self-guided driving tour allows you to experience all of Lake Tahoe with maximum flexibility and value. Learn more here.

Price: $14.99/car
Starting Point (North Entrance): 7815 N Lake Blvd, Kings Beach
Book Online here 

Lake Tahoe Tirade Scavenger Hunt 

Have fun and experience Lake Tahoe in a different way through this interactive and adventurous scavenger hunt. Drive around to different checkpoints and solve puzzles for points, while uncovering local secrets and hidden gems. Compete against other teams for a spot on the leaderboard. You can also get help via chat from a virtual guide if you need it.

Price: $27/person
Starting Point: Drink Coffee Do Stuff, 907 Tahoe Blvd #20A, Incline Village, NV 89451, USA Begin outside in front of the starting location.
Times: 11 AM or 2 PM
Book Online here

Donner Memorial State Park Visitor Center/Hiking Trails

Explore the history of the area and the people who came into this part of the Sierra, including local Native Americans, the Donner Party, and builders of the transcontinental railroad. Visitors can expect to spend about one hour exploring exhibits. Postcards, posters, maps, and books about the human and natural history of the area are for sale in the Visitor Center.

The park has over 8 miles (12.9 km) of hiking and over-the-snow trails. Park property in Coldstream Canyon to the south contains the alignment of the primary Emigrant Trail, which connects to U.S. Forest Service trails and the Pacific Crest Trail. Brochure maps are available online and at the Donner Memorial Visitor Center.

Price (Day-Use Parking): $5/vehicle
Address: 12593 Donner Pass Rd. Truckee, CA 96161

Rainbow Bridge/Donner Summit Bridge

During the 1920s, when the automobile started to become the primary method of transportation in America, the Donner Pass had an 18% incline in some areas, much too steep for cars. The state of California worked on building a new road over the famous Donner Pass in 1923 but was unsure how to best deal with the grade. Eventually, they decided on a concrete bridge that had both a curve and a gradual grade (the first of its kind to have both). The bridge was finished in 1926 at a full 241 feet long, materials for the bridge were taken from down near Donner Lake.

At the top of Donner Summit Road on the right-hand side, you can pull off into the parking lot mentioned above to admire both the bridge and the views of Donner Lake below. After parking, you can walk across the bridge to get a great view from the west side. There is a pathway so that you can safely make your way across the bridge without interfering with traffic.

Price: Free
Address10060 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 96161

Hiking Options

Tahoe Rim Trail

The famed 165-mile trail circles the Lake Tahoe Basin and boasts many stunning vistas. The trail is accessible right from the edge of Granlibakken's property. Many trailheads allow hikers to hike sections as short or as long as they desire. Check out Tahoe Rim Trail Association for trail conditions, maps, areas that allow mountain biking, and more information.

Eagle Rock Trail

The Eagle Rock trail is a 0.7-mile out -and-back trail near Homewood, California and is approximately a 10-minute drive south of the Granlibakken.

Address3370 W Lake Blvd, Homewood, CA 96141
Level of Difficulty: Easy

Martis Valley Trail (formerly Loon Lake Trail)

Explore this 4.7-mile point-to-point trail near Truckee, California. The Martis Valley Trail is a paved path connecting the Town of Truckee to the Northstar Resort area. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 1 h 37 min to complete. This trail is great for hiking, road biking, and running, and it's unlikely you'll encounter many other people while exploring. The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime. This route takes you through the beautiful Martis Valley. You can travel along the entire route from Truckee to Northstar Drive, or you can hop on the trail at various popular spots. There is a large public parking lot for the Tompkins Trail in the Martis Creek area off Highway 267 if there is no street parking available at the trailhead. Kiosks along the route provide information about the cultural history of the Washoe Tribe in the area. 30 minute drive from the Granlibakken.

Level of Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

Tallac Estates 

Discover the history of South Lake Tahoe along the Tallac Historic Site Loop. The easy-going loop trail is a wonderful adventure boasting breathtaking panoramas of the shimmering alpine lake bounded by the Sierra Nevada’s from the historic estates. Open year-round, accessible and scenic, this route is worth adding to your adventure itinerary. The loop is 1.9 miles long and will take 30 minutes-1 hour to complete. 45-minute drive from Granlibakken.

Address: Tallac Historic Estates, Heritage Way, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
Level of Difficulty: Easy

Rubicon Trail Hike

5 mile out-and-back hike starting at the Lighthouse trailhead at DL Bliss State Park. You will hike along arguably the most beautiful and scenic trail in the basin, be treated with expansive views Mt. Tallac, Freel Peak, and the east and south shores. Hike is along the rugged single-track trail, hugging the west shore of Lake Tahoe. Drive to the Lighthouse trailhead at DL Bliss State Park. 

Level of Difficulty: Hard/Strenuous