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Author Topic: Easiest Route from Mammoth to Lake Tahoe?  (Read 281 times)

catgilbert14

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Easiest Route from Mammoth to Lake Tahoe?
« on: July 14, 2018, 01:04:59 AM »
I am looking for the easiest and safest summer route from the Mammoth Lakes area to Lake Tahoe (west shore is eventual destination). We have driven the 395 between San Diego and Mammoth many times, but have not gone further north. Obviously it is mountain driving, but we are looking for a low-stress, lower grade route if possible. We will be driving a small (25 ft) motorhome. Maps suggests 395 to 89...thoughts?

Thanks in advance!

SeilerBird

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Re: Easiest Route from Mammoth to Lake Tahoe?
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2018, 01:50:56 AM »
You want to climb over the Sierra Nevada mountain range then there is no low stress, lower grade route.
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Chet18013

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Re: Easiest Route from Mammoth to Lake Tahoe?
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2018, 07:25:09 AM »
No matter which way you go, you have a climb. The best road is to go to Reno and then take I-80 up to Tahoe. I've taken our 45' coach up hwy 50 from Carson City to South Tahoe. It's not a real bad road, but two lane in places. It is a shorter route also.

Chet18013
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garyb1st

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Re: Easiest Route from Mammoth to Lake Tahoe?
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2018, 10:58:25 AM »
We've driven the 50 from Placerville to Carson City in a 1999 Ford motorhome pulling a 4600 lb Jeep.  Disconnected the Jeep half way up because of the traffic behind us.  You shouldn't have any problem making the trek from Carson City.  FWIW, the 50 from Carson City to Tahoe is a much newer road.
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Lou Schneider

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Re: Easiest Route from Mammoth to Lake Tahoe?
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2018, 03:12:10 PM »
It doesn't make sense to travel up the Central Valley (the west side of the Sierras), you'll then have to climb 6000 ft. from the valley floor to Lake Tahoe.

Hwy 395 is a good road and is very scenic, the road follows rivers through a couple of mountain ranges north of Bishop but for the most part it's fairly level.  Certainly nothing compared to descending down to sea level along the western route, then climbing up to Donner Summit.

Don't take Hwy 89 from 395 south of Topaz Lake.  You'll face a long and steep 1200 ft. climb on your way up to the 8400 ft. Monitor Pass summmit.

US 50 from Carson City to Lake Tahoe is a 1400 ft. climb, but it's more gradual and 4 lanes the whole way.  You will have a couple of switchbacks going over the ridge south of Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe's southwest side, but that stretch is relatively short and not bad if you take your time.

I-80 from Reno is substantially longer with about the same climb in elevation to Donner Pass.  It's only advantage is avoiding the Emerald Bay switchbacks.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2018, 03:20:09 PM by Lou Schneider »

garyb1st

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Re: Easiest Route from Mammoth to Lake Tahoe?
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2018, 03:16:35 PM »
Lou is right.  Didn't mean to imply that an approach from the West made any sense.  I was just recounting our experience returning home via Tahoe. 
Gary B1st

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catgilbert14

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Re: Easiest Route from Mammoth to Lake Tahoe?
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2018, 10:05:34 AM »
Thanks, all! Lou, thanks for the info. This is exactly what I was looking for. We will try the 50 rather than 89. Weve already done the southwest stretch along Emerald Bay...as you said it is no problem as long as you take it slow. (Just not looking to do a few hours like that:).

Thanks again!