Photo by Lech Naumovich

San Francisco to
South Lake Tahoe

from San Francisco
to South Lake Tahoe
Tahoe summary 9cff6eb6981c5b072db16ffb0d06814ff42743b497e0daa53aeafe3328878a94
One of the deepest and clearest lakes in the world, Lake Tahoe and the surrounding Sierra Nevada Mountains offers endless outdoor recreation opportunities. From camping, hiking, biking, trail running, boating, kayaking and SUPing in the summer to skiing, sledding, snowshoeing in the winter, Tahoe has it all!
Oh, and get this, you can avoid the traffic, stressful driving, and enjoy the wonderful Sierra scenery while taking transit to this outdoor paradise!

Additional Info

Getting to South Lake Tahoe from San Francisco

1
Connect to BART and make your way to the Richmond station
2
At the Richmond BART station, transfer to the Capitol Corridor train for a relaxing and scenic ride along the scenic Carquinez Strait through the Central Valley to Sacramento. Enjoy free wifi, large comfortable seats, and restrooms on your way.
3
Take the Amtrak thruway bus from Sacramento to the ‘Y’ in South Lake Tahoe. These luxury buses have comfortable seats, restrooms, plenty of storage for gear and large windows for taking in the Sierra scenery along the way.
4
Transfer to the classic open air Emerald Bay Trolley
5
Take in the view and the fresh air as you ride the Trolley to numerous recreation, lodging and camping destinations.
6
Alternatively, ride your bike or rent a bike and ride along the bike path or road shoulder to your destination.

Costs

Richmond to South Lake Tahoe on Amtrak Thruway Bus

Adult

$102 round trip, $51 one-way

Child (2-12)

$51 round trip, $25.50 one-way

Senior (62+)

$88 round trip, $44 one-way
* Amtrak frequently offers deals and has numerous discounts for students, military, etc.
See more info here.

Lodging

The South and West Shore of Lake Tahoe is loaded with lodging opportunities!

Bay View Campground

Bay View Campground is located across the Inspiration Point Trolley stop above Emerald Bay! This is a first come first serve campground so plan accordingly. Cascade Falls Trailhead is located within the Bay View Campground!

Meeks Bay

Meeks Bay is a beautiful resort with cabin, tent sites, and trailer camping available.

Camp Richardson

Camp Richardson is a historic resort equipped with hotel rooms, cabins, tent sites, and trailer camping!

Fallen Leaf Campground

Fallen Leaf Campground is located along beautiful Fallen Leaf Lake with plenty of tent sites available, just south of the Mt. Tallac Trailhead!

Backpacking Desolation Wilderness is also a possibility!

The lodging opportunities discussed above are all conveniently located along Highway 89 adjacent to an Emerald Bay Trolley stop!

It is important to plan ahead and reserve a camping spot well in advance. The Lake Tahoe Basin is a popular tourist attraction, campgrounds are usually full during the summer peak season.

Food

Keys Cafe

South Lake Tahoe’s independent coffeehouse, restaurant, wine & dessert bar, and internet café. Open Everyday 7am-4pm. Located at 2279 Lake Tahoe Blvd #2, South Lake Tahoe, CA. See the menu here.

Beacon Bar & Grill

Located on the shores of South Lake Tahoe on the way to Emerald Bay, this Bar & Grill has tasty food and panoramic views of the lake.

Camp Richardson General Store & Emerald Bay Cafe

Open daily, year-round, serving breakfast and lunch, deli take-out, groceries, beer and wine, ice, camping supplies, books, maps, clothing and gifts, ATM.

Grass Roots Natural Foods Store and Bakery

Here you can get homemade sandwiches, pizza, bread, cookies and more, as well as a wide selection of groceries, toiletries and bulk items.

Sprouts Cafe

Counter-service health-food cafe preparing homemade soups, wraps, burritos & smoothies.

Meeks Bay Marina Snack Bar and General Store

A snack bar and general store at the Marina.

More Information

If you don’t want to bring your own gear, consider renting camping gear from Tahoe Wilderness Adventures , they offer full service or individual gear rental and will deliver the gear right to your campspot or trailhead!

Renting a bike near after arriving in South Lake is a great option for getting around. Many of the key lodging and recreation destination are accessible via bike paths. South Shore Bikes is a short walk down Emerald Bay Road from the South Lake Tahoe “Y” Transit Center or more information. A tandem bike with a trailer is $75 for overnight rental, and includes helmets and a local map. See rates and more info here

A great bike map is available here

Bringing your bike with you is another great option. BART allows bikes on board and space is not usually an issue except when travelling during peak commute hours, see more info here . The Capitol Corridor Amtrak train allows bike storage and there is no extra cost or reservation required, see more info here . The Amtrak thruway bus from Sacramento to the ‘Y’ in South Lake Tahoe also allows bikes in a storage unit under the bus, as space allows.

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