Tahoe Facts and Trivia

Your one stop for all things Tahoe! Basic information to start, with new and fun information added regularly. It's information like this that is why your should make the Tahoe Science Center one the top to-do items during your visit to Tahoe. Be sure to check back for all the latest updates. 

About Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe Basin

Q. How deep is Lake Tahoe?
A. The maximum depth is 1,645 feet (501 meters), making it one of the deepest lakes in the world and second deepest lake in the United States

Q. On average, how deep is Lake Tahoe?
A. The average depth is approximately 1,000 feet (305 meters)

Q. What is the surface area of Lake Tahoe?
A. The lake surface area is about 191 square miles (495 square kilometers)

Q. What is the size of the Tahoe Watershed (also known as the Lake Tahoe Basin)
A. The watershed area is 312 square miles (800 square kilometers)

Q. What is the maximum length of Lake Tahoe?
A. From the north east corner to the south west corner of the lake, the maximum length is approximately 22 miles (35 kilometers)

Q. What is the maximum width of Lake Tahoe?
A. From the Tahoe City area on the west shore to the east shore, the maximum width is approximately 12 miles (19 kilometers)

Q. How much shoreline does Lake Tahoe have?
A. The length of lake shoreline measures approximately 75 miles (120 kilometers) and can vary based on lake level

Q. How much water is actually in Lake Tahoe?
A. The Lake's volume measures in at about 39 trillion gallons, plus or minus

Q. What does the volume of Lake Tahoe equate to?
A. The daily evaporation from Lake Tahoe (half a billion gallons) would meet the daily water needs of 5 million Americans

Q. Is Lake Tahoe man-made?
A. The formation of Lake Tahoe occured naturally over the course of 3-4 million years through faulting, volcanic activity, and glaciation. However, as a result of the dam (controlled by the federal water master) located in Tahoe City, the Lake is also a reservoir. 

Q. How much algae is in Lake Tahoe?
A. The number of algal cells in Lake Tahoe is approximately 30 million trillion, within a few trillion or so

Q. Daphnia are unambiguous feeders that hoover everything in its path and can potentially be an ecological solution to lake clarity in Tahoe. How much can each Daphnia eat?
A. A single Daphnia can consume 100,000 fine particles every hour, wow!

Q. How large are Daphnia and how long would it take Daphnia to clean the lake?
A. It would take a single, pin-head sized Daphnia one week to clear a gallon of Tahoe water of all fine particles

Q. Non-native Mysis shrimp were introduced into Lake Tahoe back in the 1960s and feed on the beneficial Daphnia. How many Mysis are there in the lake now?
A. On a bad day there currently are over 60 billion Mysis shrimp in Lake Tahoe. On a good day in the future, there will be less than 15 billion Mysis shrimp, allowing the Daphnia population to rebound and help restore ecological health.

Q. How many streams are there in the Basin that flow into Lake Tahoe?
A. The number of inflowing streams — 63, the largest being the Upper Truckee River

Q. How many streams flow out of Lake Tahoe?
A. Number of outflowing streams: one, the Truckee River, which exits at Tahoe City, California, flows through Truckee and Reno, and terminates in Pyramid Lake, Nevada

Q. How does the clarity of Lake Tahoe compare to other lakes?
A. Of all the large lakes worldwide, there are none with an annual clarity exceeding Tahoe’s

Q. How many monitoring stations does TERC maintain in the Tahoe Basin?
A. 224

Q. If you were to drain the lake, how long would it take for it to refill?
A. Length of time it would take to refill the lake is about 600 years

Q. What elevation level does Lake Tahoe sit at?
A. The average elevation of the lake's surface is 6,225 feet (1,897 meters)

Q. What is the highest peak in basin?
A. Freel Peak, 10,891 feet (3,320 meters)

Q. Where is Lake Tahoe?
A. Latitude: 39 degrees North and Longitude: 120 degrees West

Q. Is there an elephant in Lake Tahoe?
A. Our research divers have yet to find one!

Q. Are there sharks in Lake Tahoe?
A. As one of the best sources of fresh waters in the world, our waters do not support ocean life accustomed to much saltier water.