Billed as a refreshing alternative to the large hotels that line the overcrowded South Lake Tahoe strip, Zephyr Cove Resort (www.zephyrcove.com) offers a quieter, more relaxed lodging option. Granted, the cabins that dot this lakeshore retreat are outfitted with modern amenities — including access upgrades for wheelchair-users and slow walkers — however the historic nature of the 1900s property has been retained. And although Zephyr Cove is also a popular day use area, nothing beats overnighting at this mountain lakeside property.
A Cabin in the Woods
Accessible parking is available near the main building at Zephyr Cove Resort, with ramp access up to the general store and restaurant. The general store, which doubles as the lodge office, features level access from the front porch. There are also accessible restrooms across from the general store and in the restaurant.
Cabin 29, a nice two-story model with a lake view, is the most accessible cabin in the complex, and a good choice for wheelchair-users and slow walkers. It features accessible parking on an asphalt pad, with ramp access up to the front porch. There are also low-rise stairs for slow walkers in front.
Access features include wide doorways and plenty of room to navigate a wheelchair on the first floor. Two downstairs bedrooms each have a 30-inch high queen-sized bed with wheelchair access on both sides, as well as a dresser, night tables and a side chair.
The spacious downstairs bathroom, which is located between the bedrooms, is equipped with a transfer-type shower with a fold-down shower bench, grab bars and a hand-held showerhead. The shower measures 33 inches wide by 32 inches deep, with ample transfer space on the outside. There is also a separate tub/shower combination with grab bars, a hand-held showerhead and a fold-down tub seat. The toilet grab bars are located on the back and right walls (as seated), and the bathroom also includes a roll-under sink with plenty of knee space, and a lowered mirror.
Additionally, the cabin features a full kitchen with a lowered eating bar. It’s equipped with a refrigerator, stove, oven, sink, microwave and coffee maker, plus plenty of pots, pans, dishes and utensils.
The adjacent great room is furnished with a large dining table and a 13-inch high sofa bed. And if you’d like to dine al fresco, the front porch has a built-in charcoal grill and a picnic table. Additional sleeping areas are available upstairs, and the cabin can accommodate a total of nine guests.
Access is good around the property too, with asphalt pathways leading to all of the cabins and public areas. There is also a paved pathway near the accessible cabin that leads over to the Beach Bar and Grill. Additionally, there’s barrier-free access to the Zephyr Cove Restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers an expansive lake view.
Take a Cruise
Of course you can certainly just sit on the deck and enjoy the view at Zephyr Cove Resort, however if you want to get up-close-and personal with Lake Tahoe, hop aboard the MS Dixie II (www.zephyrcove.com/msdixie.aspx). Docked next to the Beach Bar and Grill, this Mississippi-style paddle wheeler offers daily cruises around the largest alpine lake in North America.
There’s level access out to the dock, with a ramp up to the outside deck. Once aboard you’ll find ramp access over the coaming (lip) to the main deck cabin, which has table-and-chair seating, a very roomy accessible restroom and lots of windows. There’s only stair access to the upper decks, but the view is great from below.
The two-and-a-half hour cruise takes passengers over to Emerald Bay and back, and offers a good interpretation of the history of Lake Tahoe and plenty of splendid photo ops. There’s also a full bar and a restaurant in the main cabin, if you’d like to enjoy an adult beverage or have a little snack. The only problem with the cruise is that it goes by much too quickly.
When you get back to shore make sure and explore the accessible trail that runs alongside the lake. It starts near the dock, and although there are steps down to the beach, the views from the trail are well worth the walk.