Lake Tahoe Logistics Question
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Sep 22, 2012 11:23 AM Last Post By: kenko
Sep 20, 2012 4:26 PM
Lake Tahoe Logistics QuestionHi Team.
Next 13 May we will be driving from Yosemite NP to Lake Tahoe, probably via Sonora, Placerville and Hwy 50 (or possibly via Hwy 88). We have two nights planned at Lake Tahoe. Our booked accommodation at Cal Lodge (near Donner Pass) has been cancelled on us, so I am just seeking some advice on the optimum way to spend those two days-two nights in the area.
Is it a good plan to stay one night at South Lake Tahoe, navigate around the Lake (east side or west side - or nice to do both?) and then have a second night at Truckee? Or two nights in one spot? We will be leaving from there for Sacramento, via Nevada City etc.
Any advice appreciated ... we normally keep our room budget under $US100 per night. We like the natural world, mountain scenery, and even slightly remote places - do not need the bright lights so much, and we generally self-cater.
Sep 20, 2012 4:45 PM
1Look up Sierra Club's Claire Tappaan Lodge. I think it's next door to Cal Lodge. Admittedly, it has the smallest private rooms I have ever seen, and you share bathrooms but they include all 3 meals per day. And it's very clean and friendly. There are also single sex dorms which I thought were quite nice. One member of the party probably has to be a Sierra Club member.
Sep 20, 2012 5:25 PM
2Ian, Yes, very good plan. Take the 88- it's really a beautiful drive and you'll be have the road wide open. Silver Lake is just
unbelievably beautiful- great for a picnic stop. Closer to the summit is Caples Lake- with great
fishing. There's really nice hikes off the 88 as you make the descent for Hope Valley.
At Lake Tahoe on a weekday, rooms at Harvey's Hotel at Stateline, NV can be had for as little as
$79 -- it depends on demand. ( They have an incredible swimming pool and jacuzzi.) Even the
shlocky motels in the area will cost $50 so Harvey's is a good- if zen-zapping- value. )
We usually kayak on the northeast shore and then stay the second night at King's Beach. Right
on the beach is the motel "Ferrari's Crown Motel" (about $90) which has a view of the lake from the pool.
Make sure you leave Tahoe from Tahoe City on the northwest shore. It follows the course of the
Truckee River for about 15 miles or so and makes for a scenic drive/bike ride.
On the way to Nevada City, a fantastic gold-rush town, be sure to pull of Highway 80 and drive
to the tiny lost-in-time Gold Rush town of Dutch Flat. This place is only 3 miles off the 80 and
is in a Brigadoon kind of time-warp. Nevada City is the big city compared to Dutch Flat ( it's
small though) In it's heyday, this is where the wealthy from the Gold Rush and the Comstock Lode
(Nevada Silver Rush) lived. It was quite the town in its heyday- and the state of Nevada
actually took its name from Nevada City.
It's not exactly on your loop, but one of our favorites is Sierra City and the Lakes Basin- about
55 miles north on Hwy. 49 from Nevada City. The Sierra Buttes rise above the town and have
year-round glaciers on the face at Sardine Lake. Stunningly beautiful without the crowds of
Lake Tahoe. Herrington's Sierra Pines is a woodsy motel facing the Yuba River.
The timing of your trip couldn't be better for a whitewater rafting trip on the Yuba River or
the American River!
Sep 20, 2012 8:14 PM
3Thanks for that.
Harvey's is $63.20 on Monday 13 May - for that price I will gladly have my zen zapped! We were going to pay $58.00 at Cal Lodge in any case. And the Sierra Club's Claire Tappaan Lodge looks lovely too (non-members can stay for a few dollars more) - will consult with the board of directors ... or we might stay the second night at King's Beach, visit Squaw Valley etc, on our way to Truckee and Nevada City (and now it seems, Dutch Flat, and possibly Sierra City).
And so I take it from that that it's nice to drive the eastern shore, anti-clockwise? And will there be any lingering snow at that time of year? (I'm rather partial to mountains, snow and ice, coming from a wide, brown, flat, hot continent).
BTW - if you like Lake Tahoe, you might really like Queenstown (NZ South Island) and Lake Taupo (NZ North Island), where the geothermal features do equal - and in some ways surpass - those at Yellowstone NP. No bears either - in fact no terrestrial carnivores of any real size.
Sep 21, 2012 1:57 AM
4Here are some great resources for what to do in Tahoe during your http://www.tahoegetaways.com/ Tahoe Vacation : http://www.tahoegetaways.com/tahoe-guide/, http://tahoehighsierra.com/vacationrentals/tahoe-guide.html
Edited by: shredder11
Sep 21, 2012 2:48 AM
5Except for Emerald Bay on Tahoe's western shore, I like the eastern (Nevada) shore because it's
sparsely populated with less traffic. If you drive the eastern side, Sandpoint State Park, Nevada
is a do-not-miss. It has granite boulders rising from the turquoise water.
It takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to drive from South Lake Tahoe to the north shore which is why
a night in two different places saves you having to backtrack. Weatherwise mid-May is usually sunny
and warming up- although in 2010 winter lingered. Yosemite is more likely to give you a surprise
May snowstorm. I've been snowed on while camping in Yosemite during two different years in late May-
but it is unusual( 25% chance perhaps) The Tahoe roads will be quickly plowed in the very unlikely event of a snowfall, so no worries.
The country north from Truckee along highway 89 is a true wilderness. We had the great news that
wolverines were spotted recently after the conventional wisdom was that they were gone for good from Tahoe National Forest. It's always nice to hear wildlife is making a comeback.
If you have time, the Empire Mine State Historic Park, in Grass Valley (next to Nevada City) has
great tours of what was one of California's largest gold mining operations lasting up until the 1950's. In Nevada City,
the National Hotel is worth a look inside-- it is reportedly the oldest continuously operating hotel in the
western U.S.--- since 1854. Don't stay here though. The best deal in overpriced Nevada City is the
And yes -- South Island New Zealand is in my sights. I've had the itinerary ready for years and have
not yet made it there but it's going to happen either this winter or next. So many places-- -so little time!
Sep 21, 2012 4:04 AM
Sep 21, 2012 5:54 AM
Sep 21, 2012 11:42 AM
9I take the opposite viewpoint from Kenko. Given that no point on the lake shore is more than one hour from any other, it makes more sense to stay both nights in the same place. It's faster to drive from the south shore to the north than to pack up and check out of one place and check into another.
Sep 21, 2012 1:55 PM
Sep 22, 2012 11:10 AM
11Two nights in one spot is fine- Ferrari's Crown Resort (Motel) at King's Beach is $75 on your travel. If
you feel like splashing out for a lakeview room- they're $115. I wouldn't book Zephyr Cove 'cuz for $99
the cabin you get is right NEXT to the highway. (Talk about zen-zapper!) The lakeside cabins are nice but
cost a lot more. Tahoe City works too- just know it's kind of a motel-row town like South Lake Tahoe.
One of the more pleasant areas to stay is Incline Village, Nevada. It lacks inexpensive lodging, however.
The beautiful state park with the boulders in the amazing-colored water is actually called "Sand Harbor
State Park" in Nevada. There's a Nevada state rest area with an observation platform and short hiking trails to the water (free parking) just a mile or two north of the park's main parking area, which has a parking fee.
Sep 22, 2012 11:23 AM
(2 star Hotel)
From US$75.65 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$129.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$229.00 per night