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Tahoe traffic, pollution lands region on list of places travelers should avoid

Travelers told to avoid Tahoe due to traffic and pollution
Travelers told to avoid Tahoe due to traffic and pollution 02:09

LAKE TAHOE — It is normally a good thing when either a town or a tourist attraction lands on a travel guide. In Lake Tahoe's case, it landed on a list of places people should avoid traveling.

The destination attracts people near and far. Facunda Segura arrived over the weekend from San Jose with his extended family to celebrate his mother's birthday.

"It's really nice out here because of the snow," he said.

At Tahoe Bike and Ski, it has seen busier days during the height of COVID-19.

"It was absolutely nuts here," said Ed Weber of the rental shop.

These days, Weber told CBS13 that business is back to normal, although it has been hit-and-miss amid high gas prices and inflation.

Still, some tourists say it is worth the trip.

"It is like a little getaway from business and working every day," Segura said. "It's really fun for us."

The pristine lake and spectacular mountain views are some of the reasons why Lake Tahoe is a popular destination spot for travelers, but that same allure raises concerns.

"You'll have locals who don't want any tourism, right?" Weber said. "But how do you live in a tourist town without that income? It's impossible."

Lake Tahoe is one of ten regions landing on Fodor's No List.

To make the cut, the travel guide looked at natural attractions needing a break from visitors, cultural hotspots plagued with overcrowding and resource depletion, and location impacted by water crises.

"We would never say not come," said Jesse Patterson, CEO of the League to Save Lake Tahoe. "We want everybody to experience Lake Tahoe but do it in a way that protects it now and in the future."

The league is the movement behind the Keep Tahoe Blue campaign.

Crawling traffic mixed with crowds gives way to pollution and litter.

Patterson suggests people use public transit or carpool. When the weather is nicer, people can opt for bicycles.

The league said it recently helped launched Lake Link along the south shore. Similar to a rideshare app, you can request a ride onboard a shuttle.

The league said the lake's clarity has stabilized in recent years after suffering for decades.

"But we're not getting it back either," Patterson said.

For Lake Tahoe, R&R might look like fewer cars on the roads and tourists taking care to leave no trace.


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