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The Most Beautiful Drive in America explores the natural and man-made wonders in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Located on the California-Nevada border, Lake Tahoe is an absolute treasure, with its sparkling blue waters, phenomenal mountain scenery and endless recreation options.
At 22 miles long and 12 miles wide, Lake Tahoe is North America’s largest alpine lake at 6,225 feet above sea level and contains enough water to cover the entire state of California to a depth of 14 inches. The water is so pure and clear (99 percent pure), a white dinner plate can be seen to a depth of 70 feet.
The Most Beautiful Drive in America
This route, shown in the map below after the list, starts at Stateline, Nevada traveling west on Highway 50 towards Emerald Bay, but you can begin your travels at any point along the 72-mile (not including side trips) route around the lake. There is no right or wrong way to enjoy this scenic road trip around Lake Tahoe!
From Stateline, Nevada travel west on Highway 50
- Shops, restaurants, Heavenly Gondola.
- Miles of alpine beaches, restaurants, horseback riding, bike rentals. Historic mansions (summer).
- Nature trails, ecology information, stream profile chamber along Taylor Creek.
- Overlooking Emerald Bay, one of the most photographed places in the world. Trail to Vikingsholm Castle (summer).
- Secluded beach, picnic area. Views of Rubicon Bay.
- Ancestral lands of the Washoe Indians. Beach, campground.
- Historic Queen Anne-style Ehrman Mansion (summer) and General Phipps Cabin. Picnic area, hiking, bike trails.
- Vast photo and boating memorabilia collection dating to the 19th century.
- Marion Steinbach Indian Basket Collection, logging, and rail-road artifacts. Huge trout in Truckee River from Fanny Bridge.
- Site of 1960 Winter Olympics. Olympic Museum, skiing, cable car, swimming, ice-skating, bungee jumping, lodging, restaurants.
- Historic Donner Party Museum. Exhibits, nature trails, picnic grounds. Donner Lake recreation area nearby.
- Historic railroad town with unique shops, restaurants.
- Living Museum with circa 1900 furnishings.
- and UC Davis Education Center includes information about former operations and ongoing research.
- Pier, beach, paddleboat rentals, dining, shops.
- North shore casinos. Chief Joseph sculpture outside the Cal Neva Resort, once owned by Frank Sinatra.
- Trail to stunning views of Lake Tahoe.
- View of Lake Tahoe and Diamond Peak.
- Hands-on and virtual exhibits about the Lake Tahoe ecosystem. For hours and tour information: 775-881-7566.
- Incredible views, walking trail, restrooms.
- Spectacular sandy beaches, outdoor amphitheater (home of the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival), picnic area, restaurant, State Park Information Center (fee).
- Lake loop trail, other hiking trails, picnic areas.
- Sacred site of the native Washoe Indians. Short climb to great views.
- Lodge, restaurant, beach, park, paddle wheeler cruises, RV park, horseback riding, sailing cruises.
For more great information, be sure to check out the Lake Tahoe Visitor's Bureau website.
Have you driven around Lake Tahoe?
The road trip is a classic summer pastime around the world, and, this year, its popularity is on the rise as more and more travelers crave post-quarantine getaways that still heed proper physical & social-distancing guidelines. No matter where you live, there’s likely a scenic drive nearby, be it a forest-lined highway or a sunny, shore-hugging route.
This route is perfect for a relaxing mountain getaway where you can go hiking, take a dip in the lake and enjoy all of the amazing scenery of Lake Tahoe.
- Lake Tahoe Travel Guide: The Best Places to Stay
- Review: Marriott Timber Lodge Lake Tahoe
- Review: Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe
- The Lake Club at the Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe
- Review: Hyatt Residence Club Lake Tahoe
- Exclusive Amenities at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa & Casino
- Summer Family Fun at Epic Discovery at Heavenly Resort in Lake Tahoe
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