Getting to Lake Tahoe

How to Get to Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe in Winter
©2011 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

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.

Before you figure out how to get to Lake Tahoe, you need to know what part of the lake you're going to. Lake Tahoe is probably bigger than you think. If you drive all the way around it, it's 72 miles and takes about two hours.

North Tahoe, South Tahoe

Descriptions of the lake's areas can be confusing and may seem to defy logic. The state border between California and Nevada runs north and south, so you might think it would be East and West Tahoe or California Tahoe and Nevada Tahoe. In fact, people usually talk about North and South Lake Tahoe instead.

North Lake Tahoe is mostly in California. It's less developed than the south shore and close to Northstar and Squaw Valley ski resorts.

South Lake Tahoe is partly in each state, with gambling casinos concentrated on the Nevada side of the border. It has more hotels, shops, and restaurants than North Lake Tahoe, but is also close to several ski resorts.

Occasionally, someone gets confused by the state line markers on the map and thinks that long line drawn through the lake is a bridge. Don't let that happen to you.

All the Ways You Can Get to Lake Tahoe from San Francisco

You can find lots of ways to get from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe. They're all summarized in the guide to traveling between San Francisco and Lake Tahoe.

What to Do When You Get to Lake Tahoe

Once you get to Tahoe, you need to know how to get around Lake Tahoe. Use this Lake Tahoe driving tour to get a good overview of what you can see and do around the lake. We have the easiest and fastest way to plan everything you need for your Lake Tahoe trip with our guide. Going in summer? Take a look at these tips for your perfect Lake Tahoe summer.