In August 1991, on a cross-country drive, my wife and I stopped at my grandfather’s house in the old railroad town of Truckee, Calif. The town’s main drag is lined with old-timey, Western-saloon-like edifices. Back then, I was an avid banjo player and, by great fortune, the banjo virtuoso, Bela Fleck (along with Jerry Garcia and Jimmy Cliff) happened to be playing nearby at The Squaw Valley Music Festival, produced by the legendary Bill Graham.
Fast-forward 18 years to 2009, when we were searching far and wide for Wanderlust Festival’s very first location. After visiting several mountain towns, Schuyler and I flew out to Squaw Valley. We rode the funitel up to Gold Coast and our guide, Jimmy King, said, “Eighteen years ago, Bill Graham produced a Jerry Garcia show right here. And that’s the last time there’s been a big show at Squaw Valley.”
We made the decision right then that Wanderlust Festival would premiere at Squaw.
Experience the Water
Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America. With a depth of 1,645 feet, it is the second deepest in the United States and the 27th largest lake, by volume, in the world. If you don’t take a SUP class at the festival, then make sure you at least check it out!
If you have a few free hours, grab a bike and head from Squaw Valley to Tahoe City on the Truckee River Bike Path. From Tahoe City, head south along the 21-mile length of the lake to enjoy grand views and historic mansions like Erhman Mansion in Sugar Pine Point State Park. Bring a picnic and enjoy the vast grassy grounds amongst the century old pines.
Wanderlust is a place for discovery. Many yogis come to practice with some of the biggest names in yoga, while others come to discover a new hidden gem of a teacher. Furthermore, our class sizes vary just as much as the yoga styles we feature. You can submerge yourself in a sea of yogis in The Greatest Place or you can take a more intimate class in one of the smaller rooms, like The Nook.
Music is the heartbeat of a Wanderlust festival. Throughout the day, you’ll find opportunities to hear a variety of artists in a plethora of varying venues. From musical hikes to DJ-led pool parties and late-night dance parties in front of our mainstage, the opportunities to hear inspiring artist is limitless.
This year, we’re excited to welcome March Fourth to the mainstage, along with Wanderlust favorites Garth Stevenson, Sol Rising, and Ron Artis and the Truth. American rock and blues band Little Hurricane promises some good ol’ foot stampin’ music and favorite DJ Drez will be adding his iconic beats to our pool parties and yoga classes.
Food and Drink
Uncorked, nestled in the Village (as well as 3 additional locations around the region), is a beautifully designed wine shop owned by local adventurer-sommelier Kali Kopley. Working closely with Wanderlust, Kali curates our nightly wine-tasting experience, Winederlust. We bring in around 20 small wineries from Sonoma and Napa, many of which are bio-dynamic and organic. In the evenings, when the air starts to cool, we light up the fire pits and cue gypsy music as people sip and share their day’s experience.
If you’re looking to explore off-campus options, take a look at Sunnyside Restaurant & Lodge and Wolfdale’s. For a local’s favorite, visit the newly opened Tahoe Mountain Brewery located on the Cobblestone Mall in Tahoe City. For the best sandwiches at the Lake, visit the deli at the Tahoma/PDQ Market in historic Tahoma along the magical West Shore.
The afternoon High Camp pool parties are Wanderlust’s little slice of Spring Break. Take a cable car up the mountain to enjoy a huge pool and hot tub, 500 yogis, a couple of mermaids, a slack line, a DJ, acrobats inside a floating ball, and maybe a piña colada or two. If you don’t get to the top of the mountain and behold the view of the Sierras (and the mermaids) then you’re missing out.
On the way: Pick up some healthy snacks
If you’re car-pooling up from the Bay Area, take Interstate 80 to stock up at New Moon Natural Foods. It takes you five minutes out of the way, but you’ll be very happy. If you just want to get there, you can find provisions at Alice’s Market, right in Squaw Valley village. Thursday arrivals can check out Truckee Thursdays, a fun weekly street fair, right downtown.
We offer a limited amount of one-of-a-kind camping at Squaw. Atop the gondola, at 8,200 feet, there is a small but exquisite campground looking out over Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Range. Campers have access to bathrooms and showers at the nearby High Camp facility. It can get a little nippy in the evening, but it’s incredibly unique and an affordable way to stay on campus.
There are five hotel properties right on site:
- The Village-at-Squaw
- The Squaw Valley Lodge
- The Red Wolf Lodge
- The Olympic Village Inn
- If you need more lodging ideas, click here.
As far as amenities go, Plumpjack’s has a great restaurant. Village-at-Squaw and The Squaw Valley Lodge have very serviceable kitchens for sautéing kale and gluten-free grilled cheese. Stop by one of the regions Farmer’s Markets and pick up some deliciously grown local produce to add to your kitchen’s menu.
The Resort at Squaw Creek is a five-minute drive from the festival. If you happen to be one of the 10 yogis in the world who likes golf, this is your spot. Bonus: there is an awesome pool with a slide that never gets crashed by outsiders.
We’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: Our schedule is expansive in scope, but don’t structure out your entire day. Leave some wiggle room—that’s where the magic happens.
In 2008, Jeff, along with partner Sean Hoess, created the concept for Wanderlust —a series of large-scale events combining yoga and wellness with the arts. Wanderlust produces a growing number of the world’s largest yoga festivals spanning the globe from British Columbia to Australia, from California to Chile. Jeff oversees festival programming and business development for Wanderlust forging corporate partnerships, cultivating licensing opportunities and developing its studio, teacher training, and apparel extensions. In 2002, Schuyler Grant, Jeff’s wife, opened Kula Yoga Project in Tribeca and began leading yoga retreats around the world that provided the inspiration for Wanderlust. In 2011, Jeff and Schuyler opened another Kula studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn close to Wanderlust HQ. Jeff and Schuyler have 3 beautiful daughters: Phoebe, Lolli, and Micah.
From Our Partner, the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association: Welcome to spectacular North Lake Tahoe. Whether you are here for the very first time or have been returning for generations, this magical place can’t help but rejuvenate and inspire. The crystal-clear waters of the second largest alpine lake in the world provide the perfect opportunity to experience the youthful exuberance of rejuvenation. The Washoe Native Americans believed the waters of Lake Tahoe held special powers of healing. Plan to spend time in or around the water during your stay at Wanderlust California. For information for this trip or for your next planned Lake Tahoe excursion, visit GoTahoeNorth.com.