Weather at Lake Tahoe & Pyramid Lake

Lake Tahoe Weather

Pyramid Lake Weather

Want to know what the weather will be for a kayaking trip? Click on a graphic above.

Lake Tahoe Water Temperature at Tahoe City

Coast Guard Pier Graphic
Click on graphic to obtain current water temperature courtesy of UC Davis Dept. of Environmental Engineering


Lake Tahoe Water Temperature at Rubicon Bay
Rubicon Bay graphic
Click on graphic to obtain current water temperature courtesy of UC Davis Dept. of Environmental Engineering


What Do I Need On My Boat?


Marsec Level 1



Elevated Threat Level

District 11N Best of the Web Winner for 2009

  • Cold Water Survival
  • Paddler's Safety Checklist
  • Wear It! LIfe Jackets Matter

Kayaker in the water

Be Prepared for Cold Water

Cold water is extremely dangerous. It quickly robs the body of its strength, diminishes coordination and impairs judgment. Immersion in water as warm as 50 – 60 degrees can initiate what has been determined to be "Cold Water Shock". When a paddler capsizes and is suddenly immersed in cold water the body's first reflexive action is to gasp for air, followed by increased heart rate, blood pressure and disorientation and can even lead to cardiac arrest. Without proper equipment and apparel, the body can become incapacitated in just a few minutes and without a life jacket this can be a very dangerous and often fatal combination. When paddling in places where the water temperature is 60 degrees Fahrenheit or colder, a wetsuit is a must and a drysuit is highly recommended. This is also the case if the combined air and water temperatures are below 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

A second dangerous situation that can occur in cold water or cold weather is hypothermia. Hypothermia occurs when exposure to the elements prohibits the body from reheating and maintaining its core temperature. Typical symptoms of hypothermia include: shivering, impaired judgment, clumsiness, loss of manual dexterity and slurred speech.


  • Plan your trip and "think smart". Know the water temperature and weather forcast before you set out.
  • Fuel your body. Keep your body well fueled with high carbohydrate foods and lots of water.
  • Insulate your body. Simply said, you should dress for immersion in cold water. Avoid wearing cotton clothing when paddling in cool temperatures. Dress in layers using synthetic fabrics such as polyester fleece to prevent getting overheated or chilled from perspiration. Carry a waterproof jacket designed for splash and/or rain protection. Anytime the water temperature is less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit, wear specialized insulating clothing (wetsuit or drysuit) capable of protecting you while in the water. Keep in mind that the warmth and comfort range of a dry suit can be flexible based on the clothing worn underneath it. Wear a warm hat that will stay on your head in the water. A fleece-lined skullcap is ideal. Have spare, dry clothing and store in a sealed dry bag while on the water.
  • Watch out for your group. Know your emotional and physical limitations. Group members need to constantly assess the behavior of others in their group. Look for changes in behavior, withdrawal, sluggishness, talking less or a member not eating enough. These are all symptoms of fatigue and may suggest a problem that the group needs to address.


  • The most typical symptoms of hypothermia (in order of onset) are:
    - Shivering
    - Impaired judgment
    - Clumsiness
    - Loss of dexterity
    - Slurred speech
    - Inward behavior
    - Shivering stops
    - Muscle rigidity
    - Unconsciousness
    - Death


  • Mild hypothermia
    (victim shivering but coherent):
    If possible, take action before this stage. You may still have time to either stop the trip or take out early. Planning for an early take out and/or shuttle half way pays dividends. Move victim to place of warmth. Remove wet clothing; give warm, sweet drinks; no alcohol or caffeine. Keep victim warm for several hours. The "window of opportunity" is closing fast. By this time, you are already well on your way to experiencing hypothermia.
  • Moderate hypothermia
    (shivering may decrease or stop): Victim may seem irrational with deteriorating coordination. Treat the same as above but no drinks. Victim should be kept lying down with torso, thighs, head and neck covered with dry clothes, coats or blankets to stop further heat loss. Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Severe hypothermia
    (shivering may have stopped): Victim may resist help or be semiconscious or unconscious. Removed from water, victim must be kept supine, on his/her back and immobile. The victim must be handled gently. Cover torso, thighs, head and neck with dry covers to stop further heat loss. Arms and legs must not be stimulated in any manner. Cold blood in extremities that suddenly returns to the core may induce cardiac arrest. Seek immediate medical attention.
  • Victim appears dead
    (little or no breathing, no pulse, body rigid): Assume victim can still be revived. Look for faint pulse or breathing for 2 minutes. If any trace is found, do not give CPR. It can cause cardiac arrest. Medical help is imperative. If pulse and breathing are totally absent, trained
    medical personnel should start CPR.

Be A Leader!

Paddler Safety GraphicPre-Trip Planning

Know the waters to be paddled. River guide booklets and topography maps are valuable references in trip planning. Plan alternate routes.

Set-up locations for put-ins and take-outs along with possible lunch break stops. Consider time and distance. Arrange for the shuttle.

Equipment - What you take with you on a trip is all that you have to survive and rescue yourself. This includes water, food, maps and charts, rescue equipment and extra clothes.

File a Float Plan with someone who will notify others if you don't return on time.

Paddle within your, and your group's, limits.

On Water Behavior and Etiquette

Be a competent swimmer with the ability to handle oneself underwater, moving water, surf or current.

Have a properly fitted lifejacket (Personal Flotation Device - PFD), and WEAR IT!

Keep the craft under control. Do not enter a rapid unless reasonably sure you can navigate it or swim the entire rapid in case you capsize.

Keep a lookout for hazards and avoid them. Watch for fog, especially on coastal waters.

Know your emotional and physical limitations.

Group members need to constantly assess the behavior of others in their group.

Respect the rights of anglers and land owners when paddling.

Paddler's ChecklistKnow the Conditions

For Flatwater

Remember to watch for water and weather changes - beware of fog.

Keep an eye out for other boat traffic.

Pay attention to all safety warnings.

Be sure you are visible.

For Whitewater and Rivers

Stay on the inside of bends - Beware of strainers!Strainers are fallen trees; bridge pilings, undercut rocks or anything else that allows the current to flow through it while holding you. Strainers are deadly.

Walk around low-head dams.

Watch for hydraulics - Looking downstream, if a hole is "smiling" it is probably friendly. If it's "frowning", it is probably unfriendly.

If in doubt, get out and scout!

For Coastal Areas

Stay close to shore.
As you travel away from shelter, make sure you have the necessary skills to travel back.

Watch conditions for winds and fog.

Understand wave height, wind speed (Beaufort Scale), fetch and how it will impact your travel.

Stay aware of all boat traffic and traffic patterns.

Learn re-entry techniques BEFORE you need them, know how to re-enter your boat and how to assist others back into their craft.

Stay apprised of tidal currents and their effects on you and your boat.

Watch for landing in surf or passing through the surf zone to shore.

Wear It! Life Jackets Matter

Expect to capsize and swim occasionally when paddling a canoe, kayak or raft - it's part of the sport! But when you hit the water unexpectedly, even strong swimmers need a lifejacket, also known as a personal flotation device (PFD). It allows you to concentrate on doing what's needed to execute a self rescue and will allow you to assist others. Nearly 70% of all drowning involving canoes, kayaks or rafts might have been avoided if the victim had been wearing a lifejacket! Because paddlers wear their lifejackets all day, make sure yours has a secure, yet comfortable, fit. When wearing a lifejacket properly you will hardly know you have it on. Although all USCG approved lifejackets meet certain strength and buoyancy standards, they are NOT all the same. Spend some extra money for a higher-quality model. It will have softer foam, a more comfortable fit and improved adjustability.

It's the Law!

Life Jackets graphicFederal and State laws dictates when lifejacket use is necessary. Where no state laws exist, federal law requires that children under the age of 13 wear a life jacket on a recreational boat, unless the child is below deck, in an enclosed cabin, or if the boat is not under way. Since most paddlecraft don't have decks below or cabins, this means all the time when in use. Check with your state boating officials regarding your state requirements. Set a good example for youngsters: Wear Your Lifejacket.

Fatality Statistics

85% of canoe fatalities were not wearing a lifejacket. 48% of kayak fatalities were not wearing a lifejacket. Experienced paddlers are four times as likely to wear their lifejackets. Lifejackets not only provide additional flotatiion in case of a capsize or unexpected swim, they also provide an essential layer of warmth in cold water. Wear It! Lifejackets Matter.


American Canoe Association Graphic