If you love scuba diving as much as we do, then you’ll be keen to explore the world's lakes and wrecks just as much as you want to explore the oceans and seas.
Scuba diving Lake Tahoe has a lot to offer divers in terms of wrecks and underwater forests, not to mention the huge maze of house-sized granite boulders.
If you’re thinking of taking a trip out to Tahoe soon and diving is on the agenda, then keep reading as we take a closer look at four particularly famous dive spots.
Scuba Diving Lake Tahoe: Adventure Awaits
Lake Tahoe is home to a multitude of sports and activities.
Winters regularly see thousands of ski and snowboarders visiting the lake area for the famous Sierra Nevada Slopes.
On the other hand, summers have water sports fans just as enthused about the season ahead, whether it be for fishing, kayaking, parasailing, jet skiing, or sailing.
Tahoe’s underwater landscape has long held intrigue for scuba divers too, with the first dive shop opening its doors back in 1968.
Divers have to be willing to brave the cold, dark depths as well as complications that arise from the location’s altitude.
Even in the summer, you’ll want to make sure you’re equipped with either a thick wetsuit or, better still, a good drysuit to help keep out the icy cold water.
Our Favorite Tahoe Dive Sites
Scuba diving in Lake Tahoe is an entirely different experience from scuba diving in the ocean since there is no coral or seaweed to be seen.
Depending on the dive sites you visit, you may not even see a single fish!
You will enjoy fantastic visibility, though, even at great depths, and Tahoe is a number one choice for divers that love adventure, mystery, and intrigue.
The 6000-foot elevation doesn’t give you a lot of time to explore larger areas, but it does make every single minute spent down there, even more special.
1. Emerald Bay
Scuba diving Lake Tahoe got even more exciting in 2018 as California state park officials announced the opening of a new underwater adventure.
The new Emerald Bay Maritime Heritage Trail, located on the western side of Lake Tahoe, offers scuba divers access to four different dive spots in the bay.
The scuba trail allows divers to discover up to 12 boats and two sunken barges that rest below the surface of Tahoe’s famously clear, still waters.
The boats were purposely sunk in the early 20th century after they no longer served a purpose and now serve as a reminder of Tahoe’s recreational golden age.
This collection of small boats can be found between 10 and 60 feet depths, and they make up the largest and most diverse collection in the country.
You’ll also discover a whole host of leftover relics from this period, including an old pier, toilets and sinks, and even an old Model A Ford car.
Each of the dive sites is helpfully equipped with panels to educate you on the sunken ships you’ll be exploring, so you know what to look out for once you're there.
2. Rubicon Wall
The Rubicon Wall dive site is located on the southwest shore of Lake Tahoe and can be accessed by boat, or with a 150-yard swim from Calawee Beach.
This is a site that is hugely popular with more experienced divers who will love the fact that it offers a true perspective of the lake’s enormous size.
The Rubicon Wall is among one of the most breathtaking dive sites that Tahoe has to offer.
Buoyancy control is vital here as the vertical drop extends up to 800 feet.
Swimming out over this dramatic vertical wall is one thing, but combined with the staggering 100-foot visibility, it really is a spot that experienced divers shouldn’t miss.
You’re also likely to spot fingerling trout here in their 1,000’s.
3. Carnelian Bay
Carnelian Bay, also known as Patton Beach, is a free dive site located on the north shore of Lake Tahoe.
Compass navigation is a must, and the first 1,000 feet features pretty shallow depths, beyond that is only recommended for experienced divers.
If you are a fan of night dives, then you’ll absolutely love Carnelian Bay as you discover ghostly sunken fishing vessels, a sunken barge, and huge submerged logs.
You’ll also observe a host of nightlife since you can commonly spot rainbow trout, bottom sculpins, and crawdads after dark.
4. Fallen Leaf Lake
Fallen Leaf Lake is around one mile southwest of its larger sister lake, Lake Tahoe.
With water temperatures hovering just above freezing, you can expect visibility of around 40 feet on average at Fallen Leaf Lake.
You’ll discover an underwater forest of ancient conifer trees, many of which are still standing upright, up to 77 feet tall.
Researchers believed that there was a mega-drought in medieval times that allowed the trees to establish in the lake bed.
When the drought ended, the water level rose quickly by around 150 feet, which froze the trees in time, preserving them just as they are now.
More recent research, though, theorizes that the trees slid to this resting place as a result of seismic activity in the area.
Whatever the reason, these submerged forests are magical to explore, and rainbow and brown trout can often be spotted here, hunting for minnows.
Magnificent Mountain Lake Diving
When most people think about diving, they picture colorful reef fish and even more colorful reefs, but Lake Tahoe offers an underwater fantasy land quite different from this!
Lake diving may not be as popular as ocean diving, but that’s not because it’s any less magical or breathtaking.
Mostly it’s the cold that puts people off, but there are plenty of scuba suit options to keep you warm.
It’s not just the cold that can present problems, though, as the massive altitude of Lake Tahoe limits the time you can spend in the water.
That won’t stop the truly adventurous divers among you, though!
Within Lake Tahoe’s waters lay some of the unique and breathtaking sites you’ll ever see.
From ancient underwater forests, wrecks galore, forgotten golden heydays, and dramatic drops, Lake Tahoe dive sites are as varied as they are impressive.
Stay safe and have fun!