Lake Tahoe is located on the border between California and Nevada, about 200 miles east of San Francisco and 30 miles west of Reno, Nevada.
You may often hear people speak (or write) of North or South Lake Tahoe. North Lake Tahoe lies mostly in California, is best accessed via I-80 and is best known for its ski resorts. South Lake Tahoe is the larger area, with more hotels and restaurants. It's partly in each state, with gambling casinos concentrated on the Nevada side of the border.
Getting to Lake Tahoe by CarIf you'd like to carpool to Lake Tahoe, AlterNetRides offers a voluntary rideshare program.
- To get to North Lake Tahoe: Take I-80 to CA Hwy 267 south
- To get to Tahoe City or Squaw Valley: Exit I-80 onto CA Hwy 89 south
- To get to South Lake Tahoe: From the west, take US Hwy 50 from I-80. Coming from Reno, take US Hwy 395 south through Carson City, then US Hwy 50 West to South Lake Tahoe.
All-Weather Routes to South Lake Tahoe: Besides I-80, US Hwy 50 East over Echo Summit, CA Hwy 88 North from Stockton, CA Hwy 207 Over Kingsbury Grade, US Hwy 395 to US Hwy 50 West at Carson City and NV Hwy 431 Over Mount Rose from Reno.
Winter storms can dump massive amounts of snow on the roads leading to Lake Tahoe, making chains a requirement. For current road conditions, check with CalTrans. CalTrans also offers a very helpful winter driving checklist which also explains various levels of chain requirements.
Getting to Lake Tahoe by Bus
During ski season, the drive to Lake Tahoe can turn into a never-ending, slogging crawl. Taking a bus is one way you can relax and let someone else deal with it.
Bay Area Ski Bus picks up at locations between the San Francisco Bay area and Lake Tahoe, leaving early (around 4:00 a.m.) and returning the same evening. It runs to Northstar, Sierra at Tahoe, Kirkwood, Alpine and Squaw Valley, with different destinations scheduled each week. Check their current pickup locations.
NAC SKI also picks up from a number of Bay Area locations. They go to different destinations each week.
Getting to Lake Tahoe by Airplane
The nearest commercial airports are Sacramento (about 2 hours away) and Reno, NV (30 minutes away).
Private pilots can fly into South Lake Tahoe Airport (KTVL) or Truckee-Tahoe Airport (KTRK). Some ski resorts offer transportation to and from the Reno airport. Check when you reserve.