The Best Cliff Jumping in Lake Tahoe
So, we wish we could say “Obviously, we know you're smart and you’ll test the depths of any body of water before you dive into it,” but we can’t. Because some of you are stupid so please, be careful and test the water depth before partaking in any cliff jumping activities. Now that our public safety announcement is out of the way...
Free falling through the crisp summer air that hugs the jagged rocks of the cliffs; Landing into the chilly, fresh water that makes your adrenaline pump through your veins in anticipation of what lies below; Plunging to the bottom of the clear abyss like a ship’s anchor searching for the sandy bottom - The thrill of cliff jumping is one of the best feelings in the entire world. Lake Tahoe, nestled between Northern California and Nevada, is home to some of the most beautiful and intense cliff jumping spots in the U.S. Approximately three hours from San Francisco and seven from Los Angeles, the approaching drive through the expansive roads lined with pine trees surrounding the mountains is absolutely breathtaking. While Tahoe is filled with exciting activities for all ages, ranging kayaking to fishing, boating to hiking, cliff jumping is where the journey truly starts. We’re happy to share some of our favorite Tahoe spots for your unforgettable adventure.
On the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, our first go-to destination is Sand Harbor. Located in Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, Sand Harbor is a fairly well known area that welcomes people of all ages to the sport of cliff jumping as the rocks range from a few feet to around fifteen feet high. Getting to Sand Harbor is easy as it’s about twenty minutes from Kings Beach, but plan to go early as this spot is very popular because of the amazing view of the lake. We highly recommend Sand Harbor for beginner cliff jumpers wanting a little rush, as well as more advanced cliff jumpers who aim to throw some flips, as the smooth, inviting boulders are great for lounging on a hot summer afternoon.
Another spot, called Emerald Pools, provides a much different experience than Sand Harbor in Tahoe. Emerald Pools is about 30 minutes from Donner Lake, but a little tricky to find once Google Maps directs you to the parking lot. (Tip: As there is no real path, we recommend wearing jogging or hiking shoes that will give you support.) Here’s the trick to finding Emerald Pools: From the lot, walk north going down the road, then walk up on the ridge on your left. After taking in the incredible view, walk down until you get to water. When you get to the river follow it down until the waterfall. Go around to the right until you reach the big pool of water. With it’s cobalt blue pools, Emerald Pools is not only magical but much more peaceful than other populated spots. There are cliff jumping spots all around the pool, making it perfect for both beginners and experienced individuals. The smallest rock to jump off is only a couple feet and then, if you really want to feel a rush there is about a 75 foot cliff that’s safe to jump off if the water level is high. We encourage you to be very careful at this spot because it’s a little less than a mile from the road, making it not only remote but slightly dangerous for amateurs.
The next spot that we want to highlight is Ponderosa Bridge. This bridge is located about two hours south of Lake Tahoe and isn't too tough to get there as Google Maps takes you right to the bridge. As a more advanced spot, this bridge is perfect to throw flips as it’s about 50 to 60 feet from the water, however it is important that people with little experience should pay attention to the danger signs as thrill-seekers can get hurt if they are new to the sport. If you want a place that’s more relaxing, Sand Harbor is more fitting but this bridge makes for a perfect platform to jump off if you’re not a newbie.
Our last cliff jumping location we’d like to mention is Rooster Rock. Rooster Rock really does look like a rooster, hence its name and is located on the Western Shore of Lake Tahoe just north of Emerald Bay State Park. This rock is an ideal way to get a full Tahoe experience. Only accessible from boat, this spot is one of the prettiest hidden gems in the whole area. In the boat, or even better, on the top of the rock, the view is hard to beat. With Rooster Rock being about 25 feet tall, it makes for an awesome cliff jumping spot. Boat on over to Emerald Bay and have a great day on the water.
When jumping off these rocks make sure to be careful, have an epic time, and #EnjoyTheExploration.