Northern California December 06, 2016
Take This Road To Nowhere In Northern California To Get Away From It All
Every once in a while we all need to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. Sometimes an aimless drive is just what the doctor ordered to help clear your head and take a load off. California Highway 89 is an amazing route that ambles through the mountains and Northern California. Next time you need to just take in the beauty of nature and life on the open road, take this highway to nowhere at all.
Highway 89 stretches as far south as the Eastern Sierra, but most of this stunning alpine route weaves in and out of higher elevations of the northern Sierra Nevada.
It begins at an intersection with US 395. The highway goes west through a few switchbacks before crossing into Alpine County and the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. The southernmost section of State Route 89 over Monitor Pass is also closed during the winter due to snow accumulation.
It extends all the way to Mount Lassen.
The road continues by Heenan Lake before intersecting with the eastern end of SR 4 and turning northwest, passing through Markleeville. SR 89 continues northwest to the town of Woodfords, where it turns west, running concurrently with SR 88 for a brief distance before turning into El Dorado County.
The often snowy but picturesque mountain highway is a great way to see the Eastern side of the state, especially more remote areas like Alpine county.
The section of 89 from SR 88 north to US 50 is sometimes used as a detour route when this busier road closes. The highway continues north to Meyers, where it joins up with US 50 into the city of South Lake Tahoe.
The heavily forested route is scenic, peaceful, and usually pretty mellow in everywhere except Lake Tahoe. This stretch of road is located between Truckee and Sierraville.
It continues along the western shore of Lake Tahoe, where it passes through Camp Richardson, Emerald Bay, Meeks Bay, Pomins, and Tahoma. After crossing into Placer County, this scenic road then passes through Chambers Lodge, Homewood, Tahoe Pines, Skyland, Timberland, Pineland, and Tahoe Tavern before coming to an intersection with SR 28. Follow 89 from this point to the north through Tahoe National Forest and into Nevada County and the city of Truckee. This portion of the highway has been designated the "10th Mountain Division Memorial Highway."
Snow drifts can get pretty high, although they do usually plow this road in the winter. You'll never know what you will see on this route, though. Look at this friendly little marmot!
SR 89 runs concurrently with I-80 eastbound briefly before exiting to the north and continuing through the city of Truckee and passing near Prosser Creek Reservoir outside of the city limits. SR 89 continues through Hobart Mills before crossing into Sierra County
In warmer months, you might have to share some of this road with cyclists who crave its steep climbs and epic views.
As you get closer and closer to Lassen, you will travel northwest from the Truckee area towards Randolph and Sierraville. Here SR 89 runs concurrently with SR 49 southbound through the town of Sattley. The road then intersects with CR A23 before splitting off to the northwest. SR 89 continues through Calpine before crossing into Plumas County.
Highway 89 offers a chance to see some of the best of Northern California up close and personal.
From Plumas county, keep winding your way north. You'll find that the road is more open in this neck of the woods now that you have left the more populated Tahoe area in your tracks.
Eventually you will reach the Lassen area, but life is about the journey rather than the destinations, so be sure to enjoy your drive and not worry about the time it takes to get there.
What places are your favorite stops along Highway 89 and when was the last time you traveled this scenic route? We’d love to hear from you!