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"Sand Harbor is part of Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park," said Connor. "What's striking about Sand Harbor is the white sands compared to the very, very blue water. We have great big boulders and rocks everywhere that just make this beautiful, and it has a great backdrop to it with the mountains behind it."

Of course, the lake isn't beloved just because of its color.

"People like to go Kayaking at Lake Tahoe, [and] they also go boating and jet skiing," Connor said. "And people just like to come to the beach and just sit here and soak it all in."

During the fall, the oranges and reds of the trees mix with the blue of the lake to make a spectacular sight -- the better to enjoy during outdoor activities.

"It's a great time of year to come to Lake Tahoe in September and October," Connor said. "The leaves are starting to change colors, and there are a lot of great hiking opportunities. The Tahoe Rim Trail, which goes all the way around the lake, is very popular."

The trail took about 20 years to build.

"The Tahoe Rim Trail was a vision that one of the recreational officers had for the U.S. Forest Service, for placing a trail all the way around the mountain tops above Lake Tahoe," Kimbrough said. "They built a 165-mile trail all around the mountain tops above Lake Tahoe, which has become one the premier trails in the country."

Bikers take advantage of the trail along with their hiking companions.

"Some of the best rides that take place happen in the fall here," Kimbrough said.

No matter how the trail is traversed, the effect is the same.

"The natural beauty … people are drawn to that," Connor said. "If you look around, you'll see why people are here."

Oct. 1, 2006

Whistler is nestled in the hills of British Columbia, Canada, about 80 miles from Vancouver. While many associate the village with skiing and other winter sports, Whistler's about much more than just snow.

"One of the beauties of the town of Whistler is that it's right in the middle of the action. People have discovered that it doesn't go away after the winter season and in fact, in many ways, it gets better," said Steve Podborski, member of the Vancouver Winter Olympics committee.

From beach volleyball to canoeing to golf, Whistler offers a host of year-round outdoor activities.

"You name it, you can do it here," said Podborski. "All you have to figure out is how you can get some sleep in."

The village of Whistler was designed to evoke the feel of an era past.

"The village was built in 1980 and the whole idea was to be a pedestrian village without cars and have a vibe like a European village, and it really does," said Whistler resident Cathy Jewett.

Centuries ago, before Western civilization reached Whistler, the area was populated by Inuits, the people indigenous to Canada.

"Annukshuks are something that the Inuit people of Northern Canada would make. They were stone men. Annuk means man, shuk means stone," Jewett said.

The Whistler Mountaineer train travels the scenic route between Whistler and north Vancouver.

"The Whistler Mountaineer runs between two world class centers, North Vancouver and British Columbia, following along the majestic shoreline of the Coastal Mountains," said Doug Rogers, Whistler Mountaineer train manager.

Rogers described the picturesque ride.

"We'll pass cascading waterfalls, with the mountains in the distance, the snow capped peaks. It truly is just a phenomenal journey," he said.

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