Loch Ness Monster in California

Loch Ness Monster in Lake Tahoe

Did you know that a lake creature like the fabled Loch Ness Monster resides right here in the U.S.? Tahoe Tessie is a sea serpent said to haunt the waters of beautiful Lake Tahoe on the California-Nevada border. The 22-mile long, ~1600 foot deep lake might be the perfect home to an aquatic missing link, like a giant coelacanth that enjoys fresh mountain air, stunning vistas and overpriced real estate.

Tahoe Tessie is California's Loch Ness Monster
Tahoe Tessie is California’s Loch Ness Monster

Tessie has been part of the local vernacular since being described by the Paiute tribe in the mid-1800s. Stretching to a length of 60 feet, the shadowy sea creature has been reported to look like an overgrown water snake or giant fish, depending on who you ask.

Tahoe Tessie a Local Legend

While less well-known than Nessie, Tessie does have her share of legends and hoaxes. The most famous is a report of Jacques Cousteau exploring Tahoe in the mid-70s and encountering the beast, warning “the world is not ready for what’s down there.” We’ve been unable to verify that Cousteau ever visited the area, but the story has been recounted even in mainstream publications like the San Francisco Chronicle as recently as 2004.

Lake Tahoe itself is a mystery and a wonder. Formed during the last Ice Age, Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in northern California is the largest alpine freshwater lake in North America. It’s also the second deepest lake and sixth largest lake by volume in the United States –– certainly big enough to hide an elusive cryptid. The Sierra Nevada range is also thought to be a habitat for another more famous cryptid, Bigfoot.

While few cryptozoologists have seriously studied Tahoe Tessie, there have been many theories as to what the creature could possibly be. One popular theory is that she is a paleolithic holdover like a Plesiosaur, Pliosaur, Ichthyosaur or a Mosasaur since fossils have been found in the surrounding Nevada desert and the Sierra Nevada mountains. Others claim that resort visitors who see Tessie suffer from a combination of altitude sickness and wishful thinking.

Related posts