Emerald Bay of Lake Tahoe. In my opinion this area is one of the prettiest spots in all of the American West. Highway 89 heads north from South Lake Tahoe to Tahoe City and cuts between Emerald Bay and a lake so you are perched high above two beautiful mountain lakes on the drive. For a superb day hike consider parking at DL Bliss State Park and hiking to Vikingshome, the historic small mansion by the lake now run by the park service. About 5 miles one way and you can take a trolly back (seasonal!) to your car or hike back. 2 to 3 hours each way on a beautiful, mostly flat trail.