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Unlike some larger bodies of water, the temperature of Lake Tahoe varies noticeably with the seasons. It is coldest in February or March at about 45°F (7°C) and warmest in August or September, when it reaches close to 70°F (21°C). The seasons are well-defined and serves the desires of outdoor enthusiasts well, since the area can accommodate both winter and summer sports. The region is also sunny about 80% of the time, with a large portion of the rest of the time being snowstorms to replenish the slopes.
Snow in the Sierra Nevadas falls between late November and early April in prodigious bursts of blizzards at a rate of about 20ft (6m) a year. The snow is also said to be unusually reflective and fluffy, making it ideal for skiing. However, this also means that adequate skin protection is a must, as even the wintriest of days can leave an unprotected skier with severe sunburn.
In the winter, average high temperatures in the shade usually hover around 40°F (4°C), but the slopes can often feel much warmer due to the effects of direct sunlight.
Summers in Tahoe are rarely hot due to the cooling effect of the lake and trees, but it is sunny almost all the time, making picnicking, hiking, biking, and a variety of other outdoor activities possible almost all the time.
Autumn is lovely at Tahoe as quaking aspen and other trees display their color. For a serious color display, take the twenty minute drive on Hwy 89 from South Shore to Hwy 88. Peak color is generally a week or two into October, but it does vary, especially as the world climate is changing. This is also the time of year to see the salmon return. The Rainbow Trail, a little north of Camp Richardson, has a trail that goes underground to let you see the stream through glass, so you can watch the salmon leaping obstacles in their yearly quest. Weather varies dramatically this time of year. Watch the weather reports to see whether to pack for a heat wave or a snow flurry.
Some attractions aren't open until mid June, the Cable cars at Squaw Valley and Tallac Historic Site are just two examples. If you want to hike/bike, stop at the U.S. Forestry office, where you can get loads of information on the length and difficulty of the trail, and even info on where to rent a bike.