Northern California June 23, 2018
This Scenic 61-Mile Drive Just May Be The Most Underrated Adventure In Northern California
If you’re looking to experience a ton of Northern California’s epic landscape in a short amount of time, there’s no better way than by getting in your car and departing on one of our many scenic byways. Luckily for us, our state is home to some of the most stunning scenic drives in the country. Drives such as the Redwood Highway and Lost Coast Highway are world famous for their jaw-dropping vistas. However, there are plenty of lesser-known highways in Northern California that boast equally epic views. For example, the Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway is one of the most underrated adventures in the state. Not only does this highway boast mesmerizing views and tons of natural beauty, but it also contains plenty of attractions and history that’s sure to make this a trip you remember for a lifetime.
The Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway is one of the most breathtaking drives through California's Sierra Nevadas. The byway is comprised of a 61-mile stretch of both Highway 4 and 89, connecting the towns of Arnold and Markleeville.
The route is book-ended by two fantastic state parks: Calaveras Big Trees State Park and Grover Hot Springs. From whichever side you choose to start from, you'll then be taken into the rugged landscape of Stanislaus and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests.
What makes this byway such an epic adventure is the fact that you're completely surrounded by wilderness and natural beauty at any point along the drive. Ancient volcanic peaks, alpine lakes, cliffs, thick forests, canyons...the list could go on and on. You'll see it all.
The majority of the highway delves deep into national forest and wilderness areas, treating you to heart-stopping views that will leave you in total awe. These are the types of views some people only dream of seeing!
The list of the highway's points of interests could go on forever. Your options for recreation are endless. Locations such as Lake Alpine (pictured below) are great for taking a break from the road to have a little fun. Dip your toes in the lake, hike around, or set up camp for an extended adventure.
One of the most gorgeous sights you'll come across are the two perfectly reflective alpine lakes known as Mosquito Lakes. This is a popular fishing and camping spot, so you'll probably have company as you peruse this beautiful region. However, these glossy lakes are worth getting out of the car for!
The byway is extremely remote with just a few small towns scattered along the way. The quaint town of Murphys is widely regarded as an excellent home-base for your journey to Ebbetts Pass. Be sure to fuel up and bring along any essentials you may need.
Driving along this stunning byway, you'll experience a part of California history that you can't easily get from a museum. Ebbetts Pass is one of the oldest trans-Sierra routes and it was first surveyed in the 1850s as a possible railroad crossing. There are a lot of stories associated with this incredible region.
We recommend starting your trip in Arnold and ending in Markleeville. That way, you can enjoy a nice, long soak in Grover Hot Springs before heading back. As you relax in one of the park's natural hot spring pools, you'll be surrounded by beautiful mountains and forest. This is a sublime experience that you won't soon forget.
Have you accomplished this wonderful scenic drive? We’re so lucky to have access to incredible highways like this one! Check out these
11 Beautiful Byways In Northern California That Are Perfect For A Scenic Drive for more.