As one of the main staples in South Lake Tahoe, the Heavenly Village and Gondola are both huge attractions for skiers and vacationers alike. I have been to the village many times before but never rode the gondola to the observation deck. So on my most recent time, I decided to give it a go. Here is all the information so you can go in both the winter and the summer.
- Hours and Pricing
- Location: 4080 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
- Information from my visit in 2016 and 2018
The gondola is located right in the middle of the Heavenly Village. You can park in the attached structure, which costs $1.50 per hour. There are not a lot of other great spots to park at, so that structure is one of the best bets you have. After parking, head to the gondola, but make sure to stop at Heavenly Donuts first.
It’s never hard to convince me to have some donuts. When you walk by Heavenly Donuts, and they offer a sample, you know it must be good. After the sample, I was immediately hooked and picked out one of the combinations they have. While there a lot to choose from, I went with the s’mores and really enjoyed it. These are the perfect donuts to take with you on the gondola as you have a two-mile ride, so you might as well eat some donuts while looking at the view.
Since I had skied earlier in the day, my pass was still good for the gondola, but if you are not skiing, you can buy a ticket at the base. We hopped on and immediately started to gain elevation as the gondola goes pretty much straight up the mountain.
Be sure to take in the views as you go up this part as they are amazing. When you arrive at the top of the hill, you will reach the observation deck, which you have to get out on while on the way up as you can’t on the way back.
We entered a storm of snow right when we got there, so our views were non-existent. I just had to imagine something beautiful out there. The deck allows you to walk around a small hill and see down into South Lake Tahoe. There is also a cafe and bathroom up here as well, but they are not always open. Since we couldn’t see anything, we didn’t stay very long.
Update 2018: I came back again in the summer, and here was the view from the observation deck.
When you get to the top/end of the gondola, you should get off and go over to the Tamarack Lodge. This lodge is beautiful, with clean architecture and a stunning main room.
I went in, and they had music playing, so I grabbed a black coffee ($5.50, which is a lot!) and sat down to listen to the band for 30 minutes.
It was getting close to 5 PM, when they told me the last gondola would be heading down, so I headed back and got in one.
The ride down was beautiful as the clouds had parted, and the views were stunning. Unfortunately, the ride does not stop at the observation deck on the way down, so we weren’t able to get off and see it, but it was still amazing to experience from our gondola.
Update Summer 2018
At the top of the lift during the summer, they have a bunch of fun attractions like tubing and an alpine slide. I did the alpine slide, and it was a total blast. It is pricey, but it is a lot of fun.
This can be an expensive adventure for a whole family, but it really is a fun experience in South Lake Tahoe. It is an even easier recommendation if you have been skiing as you can use the same ticket to get to the top. Let me know if you have been in the comments and be sure to leave a photo from the deck.