No Wonder They Call This Place the California Alps

Beautiful lakes, snowy peaks and fields of spring wildflowers.

If you can’t make it to Europe this year, may we suggest you venture to Hope Valley, just south of Lake Tahoe. This glorious region in the Sierras has been dubbed the California Alps, and for good reason. “With just two people per square mile, and with 96 percent of the land set aside for public use, Alpine County has bragging rights to secluded lakes, killer peaks, grassy valleys and hiking amid steep canyons and through lush forests.”

Sacramento Magazine highlighted the region and pulled out some insider tips for exploring on your next visit. Here’s a sampling:

“Alpine County prides itself on being a year-round vacation destination. Its hiking is optimal, with nearly 100 trails to suit all levels. Whether you access the trails on foot, ski or snowshoe, you’re certain to happen upon breathtaking views in every direction and, in spring, meadows and slopes covered in a riot of colorful wildflowers. South of Hope Valley and Highway 88, Kirkwood Ski Resort offers nearly 40 miles of groomed trails, as well as crosscountry and snowshoe tours and rentals. If it’s midsummer, consider a hike (nearly 9 miles) starting at Caples Lake, just to the northeast of Kirkwood, onto Emigrant Lake, where you’ll be bowled over by colonies of wildflowers. At Caples Lake Resort, you can rent boats. The fishing here is also fine with four trout—brook, rainbow, brown and mackinaw—for the reeling in. For a shorter hike (4 miles), head to Horsethief Canyon, so named after bandits in the 1850s who would prey on emigrants en route from the Carson Valley in Nevada. The trailhead is a short drive east of Sorensen’s. It starts out steep and switchbacks along a whitewater stream as it winds amid conifers and junipers before emptying into a valley awash in wildflowers.”

Get the full panorama here.