Even though Lake Tahoe is only three and a half hours away from my Northern California home, I hadn’t been there in over ten years. So, when Peter and I were offered a free cabin for a couple of days there was no way I was turning down this getaway. Free is good. Besides it was salmon spawning season and I had my heart set on watching the salmon run. I am a voyeur like that.

Taylor Creek has many beautiful sights, but one of the most interesting is seeing the Kokanee salmon run each fall.

Perfect timing for us. We parked at the head of a trail and walked the short distance to the main attraction. Taylor Creek trail

Along the way, I found the largest pine cone…EVER. And Peter found the smallest.

Truth be told, one of the biggest pine cones in the United States is the Sugar Pine which could be over 24 inches long and my find was just a mere 9 inches. But, it was still bigger than my head.
Annette White with a Pine ConeLargest Pine Cone in Lake Tahoe

After playing with pines cones, we passed by these gorgeous Aspen trees.
Aspen Trees in Lake Tahoe

Then we came upon this…thing. I couldn’t even begin to wonder what the heck it was. I guessed it was some sort of sun observation device. Nope.

It is a monitoring station used to predict the annual water supply created by melting snow. Okay.
Lake Tahoe monitoring station

We slowly gawked and walked past the 9,735 foot Mt. Tallac. Seeing the Salmon run was starting to be an afterthought to all of the other beautiful sights along the way.
Mt. Tallac in Lake Tahoe

And then we arrived.

In the fall the salmon begin to turn bright red and the male develop a hooked jaw. This signals the start of spawning season and they begin to travel back to Taylor Creek where they were born.
Salmon Run spawning in Lake Tahoe

The salmon work really hard to get back to their birth place.

Once the salmon arrive, the female builds a nest, the male fertilizes the eggs and both sexes die. Very Romeo & Juliet-esque. Several months later the babies are hatched.

“At Taylor Creek, the life of the Kokanee salmon begins and ends when they return to their birthplace to spawn and die”

We walked to the trail end where hundreds of salmon end up to spawn and you are able to witness this moving sea of red.
salmon run in lake tahoe

I am a big fan of any traveling that starts out with a check off my bucket list. I think I’m going to like Lake Tahoe.

Have you ever seen the salmon run? Have you ever been to Lake Tahoe in Northern California?