Road trip lovers everywhere will appreciate the drive to Lake Tahoe. Expansive terrain, scenic bodies of water, and gorgeous desert foliage guide you to one of the most picturesque lakes in the country. Here, we’ll share the best ways to plan for this beautiful trip, and what to see throughout the journeys from Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City.
Driving to Reno-Tahoe from Los Angeles
Why not knock out two world-famous natural sites in one trip? The drive from Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe allows you to do just that. Mammoth Lakes is on the way if you take Highway 395. Pull over and take in the majestic views or take your time getting to Tahoe and hike up one of the area’s scenic trails. Just north of Mammoth is June Lake, a tranquil, relaxing escape. While the area is full of untouched meadows and landscapes, it’s also home to plenty of resorts and spas to treat your body and mind (which may be needed after a long car ride!).
Another must-stop is Mono Lake off of the 395. The lake features stunning rock formations and islands, which the sun drenches in color when it sets. Make sure to bring your camera to capture this photogenic lake. If you’re in the mood to meander along a scenic road, make sure to take a slight detour to include Smith Valley in your route. The landscape changes as the sun shines on the surrounding mountains, creating gorgeous panoramic views.
Driving to Reno-Tahoe from San Francisco
Sacramento lays directly in the path from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe and a road trip is the perfect opportunity to discover the city. Explore California’s capital and take advantage of everything it has to offer. Pay a visit to the California State Railroad Museum, the Crocker Art Museum, or the California State Capitol Museum. Tours are available to take you around the city if you’re on a time crunch. Hungry? Grab a bite to eat at a local favorite like Tower Cafe, Grange Restaurant, or Bacon & Butter.
Further down the road, Folsom Lake State Recreation Area is a great place to stop for some outdoor exploration. Stop and take in the peaceful lake views or have a picnic in the park. Further down the road is the charming town of Colfax and its quaint downtown is perfect for grabbing a quick bite to eat before making your way to Reno-Tahoe.
Driving to Reno -Tahoe From Las Vegas
The route from Vegas to Lake Tahoe is packed with things to see. As the Stargazing Capital of the World, Tonopah, Nevada is a must-stop on a road trip from Vegas to Tahoe. Visit at night to spot constellations with your fellow roadtrippers and relax under the glittering sky. The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest off the 168, Mono Lake, and Walker Lake are all worthwhile stops during your drive.
Weave your way through dramatic tree silhouettes and take in views that have nearly remained the same for thousands of years at the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. It’s a natural wonder that these massive trees have continued to thrive in their desert environment and several walking trails throughout the park let visitors explore these ancient marvels.
Driving to Reno-Tahoe from Salt Lake City
The route to the Reno, Lake Tahoe area from Salt Lake City is packed with natural beauty. Stop by Copper Basin off the 80 and explore the colorful valley of desert foliage. After getting back on the road, keep a look out for Mount Tobin, the highest mountain in the Tobin Range in Pershing County, Nevada. When your group gets hungry, stop in the small town of Lovelock to grab a bite.
Another worthwhile stop is the Humboldt State Wildlife Management Area. Venture into caves and learn about the local ecosystem as you take in the sprawling landscape. Once you get a little closer to Lake Tahoe, stop into Reno to enjoy everything the “Biggest Little City in the World” has to offer. Reno is home to everything from glittering gaming resorts and pool parties to specialty museums and art galleries. Whether you’re traveling with the whole family or taking a solo trip, don’t miss driving through one of Nevada’s most popular stops.
The drive to the Reno-Tahoe area is enjoyable, easy, and full of attractions along the way. Day or night, rain or shine, we can’t wait to see you here!