Getting To South Lake Tahoe

Getting To South Lake Tahoe

World Nomads Travel Insurance

Where is South Lake Tahoe?

The town of South Lake Tahoe is located on the south shore of Lake Tahoe in California. Stateline Avenue separates California and Nevada, with the town of Stateline on the Nevada and “casino side”. Just to make nomenclature tricky, some people refer to South Lake Tahoe/Stateline collectively as South Lake Tahoe.

South Lake Tahoe/Stateline is located 100 miles northeast of Sacramento, 190 miles northeast of San Francisco, and only 56 miles from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport.

The main tourist hub of South Lake Tahoe is located at the east end of town, and is largely centred around the Heavenly Village at the base of the gondola that travels up to the Heavenly Ski Resort.

Travel to South Lake Tahoe from Reno Airport

The Reno-Tahoe airport is the main gateway airport to Lake Tahoe, with direct flights from lots of US airports including JFK New York, and international flights from Mexico and London (from Dec 2015). You can search for flights here.

The Reno Tahoe airport is just over an hour drive from South Lake Tahoe. There are lots of options for shuttle transfers between Reno airport and South Lake Tahoe, and these can be organized as part of a Heavenly ski package.

Alternatively if you plan to visit ski resorts other than Heavenly, picking up a rental car at the Reno airport will give you more flexibility. We’d recommend renting a 4WD car if you plan to drive to other Tahoe ski resorts. From Reno airport it is a very easy drive to get to South Lake Tahoe via Highways 395 and 50.

San Francisco Airport

Alternatively the San Francisco International Airport is another convenient arrival point, which is 200 miles to the southwest (5 hour drive). You can pick up a rental car at the airport. If it has been snowing, make sure to check road conditions. Even the interstates get closed regularly due to heavy snow and dangerous driving conditions.

Or if you don’t want to drive, Bay Area Ski Bus provides transport between San Francisco and the Lake Tahoe area.

Getting Around Town

The main tourist area of South Lake Tahoe is small enough that it is easily navigated on foot. However if you’re travelling a little further afield, the South Lake Tahoe Transit Authority runs a free ‘BlueGo’ ski shuttle on several routes to all the Heavenly base areas and major lodging and the casinos.

The casinos also run various shuttles around town, as do some of the lodging providers.

There are also lots of taxis and limousines in the area.

Ski Resorts Nearby

The Heavenly gondola rises up from the centre of the tourist hub of South Lake Tahoe, so it’s incredibly easy to access.

Nearby ski resorts that can be easily accessed by bus are:
  • Sierra at Tahoe - 15 miles (25 minute drive) southwest of South Lake Tahoe. See the Sierra at Tahoe travel page for more information.
  • Kirkwood Mountain Resort is 34 miles south of South Lake Tahoe. See the Kirkwood travel page for information on getting there.
Other Lake Tahoe resorts are most easily accessible via a car. Given the heavy snowfalls that can occur in the Lake Tahoe area, we recommend driving a 4WD.
  • Homewood is 23 miles away on the west shore of the lake
  • Alpine Meadows is a little further north and 37 miles away
  • Squaw Valley is 37 miles away (can also be accessed by free daily bus shuttle)
  • Mt Rose is 37 miles to the northeast of Lake Tahoe
  • Diamond Peak in Incline Village is 28 miles north of South Lake Tahoe
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