It is a well-known fact that July 4th is the busiest weekend of the year on Lake Tahoe. This is the highest peak of tourism. Weekends flock to the cool mountain air, hotels are booked, beaches fill up, and at night, a fireworks boom echoes throughout the basin.
Still, Tahoe’s Independence Day is also an abbreviation for everything that went wrong with overtourism. On the West Shore, a two-mile drive to Tahoe City can take an hour or even longer. Second houses and vacation rentals host furious parties at night, turning a normally quiet neighborhood into a fraternity-like scene. And in the aftermath, volunteers comb the Tahoe coastline and Truckee’s riverbed, picking up all the empty beer cans and plastic inner tubes left.