About Truckee and South Lake Tahoe
Some 6,000 feet above sea level at the northern limit of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Lake Tahoe will take your breath away literally as well as metaphorically. The clear blue waters of the world’s second-largest alpine lake – 22 miles long, 12 miles wide – are ringed by green, fir-tree cloaked slopes, which rise sharply to magnificently moody peaks of grey granite.
This is essentially a summer journey, when the sunshine-filled days find Lake Tahoe and its surroundings bathed in a warm and sensuous natural glow. You can enjoy the best places to visit in shirtsleeeves. During winter, powdery snow covers the steep mountainsides and the area transforms itself into one of the U.S.’s major ski resorts – and one where skiers enjoy fantastic views.
While the so-called Rim of the Lake Road (actually an 80-mile route which uses several different highways) makes a complete circumnavigation of the lake easy, but such a trip actually turns up far fewer roadside highlights than might be expected. A better course is to concentrate on a shorter section of the lakeside route, being ready to spend time out of your car savouring the settlements such as Tahoe City and magnificent glacier-sculpted sights such as Emerald Bay.
Almost half of Lake Tahoe’s shoreline lies in Nevada, where gambling is legal and where roulette wheels, card tables and slot machines bring more visitors than do the lakeside vistas.
Take your time when making your way and exploring this area, and visit the highlights first. If you’ve got time to spare though visit Kings Beach on the lake’s north shore in addition to Tahoe City; both towns have direct roads to Truckee (where the tour connects with Between San Francisco and Lake Tahoe. South Lake Tahoe is a good stop over; though sprawling and largely unattractive, the large range of accommodation and eating options will be welcome and the town is well-placed for the Sierra Nevada Foothills: Gold Country and The Eastern Sierra
One daily AMTRAK train The California Zephyr (www.amtrak.com) and three daily Greyhound buses (www.greyhound.com) link Sacramento with Truckee. From Truckee, however, there are no public transportation links to the Lake Tahoe communities. Greyhound buses from Sacramento also serve South Lake Tahoe and continue into the neighbouring Nevada town of Stateline. Tahoe Area Regional Transit (TART; http://www.laketahoetransit.com) buses operate a limited number of services along the lake’s western and northern shores; their routes are extended during summer to include Meeks Bay and Sugar Pine Point State Park.