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  1. Default Las Vegas to Lake Tahoe questions....

    Hello everyone, I'm planning on driving from Las Vegas to Lake Tahoe at the end of this month and staying in Lake Tahoe for 5 days. I have a few questions for about the drive and then Hiking/ camping areas of Tahoe that aren't too crowded as I'm going solo to get away and relax by myself.

    I've researched a bit of the drive and understand that it's a long 8-10 hour drive. My biggest concern/ question is on the drive into Lake Tahoe from Reno. I'm a bit concerned of driving through winding roads on cliffs of mountains as I'm a little scared of heights. I don't know if this is the case of dangerous winding roads or not, but that's what I envision. I've driven through mountains just fine before, but not the kind when your right on the edge and I really would like to know what to expect.

    I've read that it would be easier to fly from Vegas to Reno and rent a car to drive to Tahoe, but I don't mind the long drive and would still have to drive into Tahoe anyways. Plus I'd have to rent a car for 5 days and money is an issue.

    Assuming my fears of the mountain driving to Tahoe disappear, I'm looking for quiet areas to hike and camp. I hear it's a bit commercial up there but I hope someone here can recomend some quiet places.

    Thank you in advance for any help you can give me, Thank you.........Seven

  2. Default

    I've done that drive the other way round - a long time ago. There are some scary drops and the winding roads are tiring to drive on. I constantly underestimated the times it would take me to cover distances on roads like these in California/Nevada. As long as you take it steady the drive is ok - just look out for rock falls on the road and give way to local speedsters who want to pass - it's ok for them, they know what's round the next bend, you don't. Sometimes you get a timely reminder of where someone went over the edge, when you pass one of those morbid roadside shrines.

    I drove for weeks on the mountain roads all over California - it was worrying at first, but you soon get used to it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Why are you going through Reno?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seven View Post
    My biggest concern/ question is on the drive into Lake Tahoe from Reno.
    I am a little confused about the geography for your trip. Reno is considerably north and east from Tahoe and although you could drive from Las Vegas to Reno to Lake Tahoe -- (via US-85 and US-50) it's not the direct route.
    I'm a bit concerned of driving through winding roads on cliffs of mountains as I'm a little scared of heights.
    There really aren't any such roads on this route -- you can certainly find detours that will allow you access to steep and winding roads, but there are no direct routes that way.

    Your main options are US-395 to either the Kingsbury Grade (fastest route to south Lake Tahoe) or US-395 to US-50.

    Alternatively you can follow US-95 from Las Vegas and cross over to US-396 on US-6, Alt-95 to US-50.
    I've driven through mountains just fine before, but not the kind when your right on the edge and I really would like to know what to expect.
    Seriously, it's pretty darn hard to find any of these roads on the main highways between these two points.

    Mark

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    777

    Default Where in Tahoe?

    North Shore CA/Truckee: the road from Reno is I-80, 4 lane freeway with some gentle curves but nothing spooky at all until Truckee. The roads from Truckee to north shore are both two lane but I don't recall any ugly dropoffs.

    Mt Rose Highway to north shore Nevada. Cuts off from 395 south Reno. Have only done this once or twice, generally recall a lot of curves, but no scary dropoffs and fairly wide (mainly two lane).

    US50 to east shore NV. No nasty sections here either.

    South Shore/Stateline: you would not go through Reno, you would take the Kingsbury Grade (NV207) from the Minden/Gardnerville area. I've only done this once; If I recall correctly there are some narrow windy sections, but they are over the crest and there aren't any spooky dropoffs in that part of the road. The road up to the crest from Gardner is (if I recall) a four lane, undivided highway. Plenty wide, mostly gentle curves, and nothing that spooky. You may want to play around with Google Earth or just Google sattelite photos to get a better feel.

    You want spooky? Try Schafer Trail in Canyonlands.

    (photo by Dan Wulfman)
    Best have a 4X4 and no fear of heights. I learned a lot about my wife's acrophobia on that stretch of road. Still picking fingernails out of the dashboard on the passenger side. But I digress.

    On the drive up, you might be able to get in some hiking in the Mammoth Lakes area (but check locally for conditions). Would mean you'd have to break your trip at that point, but it should be low season there.

    Also; Mono Lake and the ghost town of Bodie are interesting stops.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-16-2009 at 05:51 PM. Reason: added the photo for effect....

  5. Default

    Thank you all for the replies. I was under the impression that I'd have to drive through Reno to get to Tahoe and a co-worker was telling me that the drive into Tahoe was a difficult one with winding roads that I'm afraid of. Can I bypass the bending roads by avoiding the Reno route? Exactly what route is the direct one from Vegas?

    I am planning on either staying at Harrahs or Harveys because i have 4 comped nights at either one of them. Can anyone give me an opinion on which of those hotels are in a better location? I don't really care which hotel is better, but would like to be in the more beautiful location and possibly easiest to get to due to my fear of the roads.

    I appreciate all of your help as I've never been to this area of our country before. Maybe i'm over thinking the roads a bit but I just remember driving into Bryan Head in Utah for some skiing and getting a little shaky around the snowy bends. Thank you again......Seven

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Get a map or look online

    Quote Originally Posted by Seven View Post
    I was under the impression that I'd have to drive through Reno to get to Tahoe
    Get a map or look at a Google map like this one here. Notice how far away from Lake Tahoe, Reno is?
    Exactly what route is the direct one from Vegas?
    Again, get yourself a map. Most scenic route would be US-95 to US-6 to US-395 (there are some passes, but the road is mostly a 4-lane highway).
    I don't really care which hotel is better, but would like to be in the more beautiful location and possibly easiest to get to due to my fear of the roads.
    They are both in South Shore, which isn't really "beautiful" -- you'll need to get out town if you want some peace and quiet.

    Mark

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Confusion?

    I've read that it would be easier to fly from Vegas to Reno and rent a car to drive to Tahoe,
    Maybe this was the reason you was worried about the drive from Reno to Tahoe and got then confused ?

    Anyway, I would take the road trip, but is it possible to stop overnight and take in some of the views on the way, could be fun !

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    If you made it to Brian Head on snowy roads, you will have NO problem getting to Tahoe on ANY route in warm weather.

    Take NV-160 to Pahrump, then the "locals route" (Bell Vista/Ash Meadows/Stateline Rd) to Death Valley Junction, and drive through the park on CA-190. Take CA-136 to US-395 at Lone Pine. Take the Kingsbury Grade (NV-207) up to Tahoe. This is a 470 mile drive, doable in a long day as long as you don't do too much off-the-road sightseeing, especially in Death Valley.

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