Your Complete Local Guide to Lake Tahoe in November

So the dog days of summer are gone and you may not feel like lounging on the beach, but that still doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the jewel-colored waters of Lake Tahoe in November. In fact, November is a great time of year to hit up this natural gem – especially if you want a more local feel to your holiday.

My family has lived in Lake Tahoe since I was 15. Not to seem like I’m old or anything (ha!), but I’ve been coming to the Lake Tahoe area for over 20 years – including countless November visits. So I know a thing or two about visiting Lake Tahoe at any time of year. If you want a local perspective, look no further than this (or any of my other) amazing guides on the Tahoe Basin.

About this Guide to Lake Tahoe in November

Inside this expert guide to visiting Lake Tahoe in November you’ll find:

  • Hot info if a November visit is right for you
  • A look at general trends in November weather in Lake Tahoe
  • A local’s take on the crowds in November
  • Tips for visiting Lake Tahoe for Thanksgiving
  • A list of things to do in Lake Tahoe in November
  • Additional planning resources
The sun shining down on Lake Tahoe in November. The sun is setting behind the mountains and there are black rocks in the water in the foreground.

Is November a Good Time to Visit Lake Tahoe?

In short, yes. Although water activities are done for the season and it’s not quite ski season, November is a great time to visit if you want to avoid crowds in Lake Tahoe.

As someone who has made countless trips to Lake Tahoe throughout the year, November is my second favorite time of year to visit (with the first being late September through October).

What makes November great is that Tahoe has a really local vibe. Outside of the Thanksgiving holiday, there are fewer crowds, low lodging prices, and it’s really laid back.

Lake Tahoe Weather in November

The average daily highs in Lake Tahoe in November is between 38 – 56 degrees (with most days in the mid to high 40s).

Lows are between 23 and 36 degrees Fahrenheit.

Both cloud cover and precipitation increase – although the sun shines most days. Expect about 25% of the days to have rain, snow, or a mixture of both. Cloudless days are a bit less common than they are during the dry summer months. Meandering puffy clouds as well as storms do blow in during November.

In terms of precipitation, the average monthly snowfall is around 15.5 inches – really low considering snow totals in Tahoe hover around 190 inches for the year. While rainfall is roughly 3.5 inches in November. This means that wintery mixes are common and snow that falls typically will melt at lower elevations.

Is it Going to Snow in Lake Tahoe in November?

Possibly! The first snow of the season usually happens in October, so you may get snow during your November visit to Lake Tahoe. The ski resorts have certainly been making snow at this point, and some may even be partially open.

It’s a far cry from January or February, but you should anticipate colder temperatures with the possibility of snow – so be sure to bring those fuzzy mittens and a warm coat!

The Crowds During November in Tahoe

The crowds are almost non-existent (if that’s even a thing) during November in Lake Tahoe. There is an uptick in people during Thanksgiving week, but for the most part, you won’t have long waits, lines, and expensive lodging prices.

If you’re looking to beat the crowds, November and May are the best months to travel to Lake Tahoe.

Is Lake Tahoe Nice at Thanksgiving?

Of course! I’ve spent a lot of Thanksgivings in Tahoe. It’s a really nice time of year to visit. A lot of the ski resorts and towns have events during the week to light up Christmas trees and put on displays.

If you’re lucky, some ski resorts may even be open. Skiing in Lake Tahoe during Thanksgiving used to be super-common, but thanks to climate change, skiing in November has become a bit less predictable.

Things to Do in Lake Tahoe in November

There are a lot of amazing Lake Tahoe activities throughout the year. It is too cold to swim in November and not quite filled in enough to really hit the slopes, but you’ll still find plenty of stunning scenes and fun activities this time of year.

Hit the Trails

Some of the best hikes in Lake Tahoe are absolutely ah-mazing in November. Typically crowds at famous spots like Emerald Bay are much thinner (although it’s still busy) and there’s plenty of dreamy scenery to check out.

A few fan-favorites include:

Ride Some Single Track

If you’re into MTB, November is a great time to ride the trails! Again, the thinning crowds let you get into a really good flow, making it an ideal time to check out some single track.

There are a LOT of areas for riding – with the biggest concentration of trails on the northwest side of the lake. Trails you might want to check out include:

  • Mr Toad’s Wild Ride
  • Corral Trail
  • Armstrong Pass
  • Parts of the Tahoe Rim Trail

Take a Scenic Drive

The roads in Lake Tahoe are typically in great shape and safe to drive in November. Of course, a rogue storm could change that in a heartbeat.

But in general, it’s an excellent time to circumnavigate the lake by road since there isn’t much tourist traffic (and all the pesky road construction is wrapped up for the year). Some of the best views of Lake Tahoe can be found right along the road, so you don’t want to miss the scenery!

Visit the Beach (But You Probably Won’t Want to Swim)

Even though it’ll be too cold to swim unless you like a good polar plunge, I love to visit Lake Tahoe beaches on a nice November day. There’s typically no one around and you’ll get plenty of excellent photo opportunities.

Local Tip: During the day it’s common for cold winds to blow off of the shore of the lake. If you want calm waters consider visiting the beach in the morning or evening.

Light it Up

Get into the holiday season this November in Lake Tahoe. There are a lot of different light celebrations – typically after Thanksgiving – that are a blast to partake in.

See Heavenly light up its big Christmas Tree or check out the happenings over at Northstar Mountain and Palisades Tahoe.

Enjoy Cheaper Prices on Accommodation

November in Lake Tahoe is the time to find a bargain on lodging! If you’re looking to treat yourself but don’t entirely want to break the bank (by Tahoe standards at least), you can opt to stay at a nice hotel, lodge, or vacation rental and usually score a pretty sweet deal.

Snag a Bite

There are a lot of great eateries to enjoy in the Tahoe area. Sure, it’s not the food capital of the world by any means, but there’s nothing better than a relaxing bite near the water’s edge. Best part, you usually don’t need to wait in exorbitant lines like you do in the summer and winter months.

Lake Tahoe is huge by the way, so I’ve gone ahead and given a few reccos for both the north and south end of the lake.

North Shore eateries:

  • Wings Korean Chicken – $
  • T’s Rotisserie (and burritos) – $ cash only
  • Sage Leaf – $$
  • Spoon (Reservations required – this is a small joint!) – $$

South Lake Tahoe

  • Base Camp Pizza – $$
  • Empanash – $
  • South of North Brewing – $

Can You Ski in Lake Tahoe in Early November?

Most likely not. Most Lake Tahoe ski resorts open in mid-November at the earliest. Heavenly Ski Resort and Palisades Tahoe (Formerly Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows) are typically some of the first ski resorts to open.

Dates vary every year, so it’s important to check with the resort you’d like to visit for specifics. Of course, the weather isn’t predictable and there have been early snow years, but it’s very rare.

Additional (Local) Lake Tahoe Planning Resources

Wanna visit Lake Tahoe like a local? Not a tourist? Check out these handy resources:

Meg Atteberry
Meg Atteberry

Meg is a long-time Colorado local and outdoor industry professional. She's spent the last 15 years hiking, climbing, mountaineering, and canyoneering all over Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada in search of the best views. She's written for Outside Magazine, REI, Backpacker Magazine, and appeared on the Weather Channel.

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Meg Atteberry standing on a mountain sticking her tongue out

Meg aka Fox is a 30-something who's born to explore. Toddler mom, queer, and neuro-spicy her favorite things to do are climb in the alpine and camp in the desert. Her mission is to get you out on your greatest adventure.