Lassen Nat'l Park

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Jun 10th, 2004, 05:04 PM
  #1
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Lassen Nat'l Park

Well, it never fails. We plan our vacation to include a full week in one spot, then wanderlust sets in. This time we are seduced by Lassen National Park. We will be staying in South Lake Tahoe in early October. Hubby (whose byline, by the way, is "I just drive the car") would like to take a day trip to Lassen. We have been to Tahoe a couple of times and love it (tho we don't gamble to speak of). So, do you think we can do this in a day and reasonably enjoy it, or will we be auto hostages all day? I can see that the routes are scenic and may take a while to traverse.
By the way, we already have another day trip planned for the wineries in the Apple Hill-Gold Rush area. I don't want to get so drive-happy we don't enjoy Tahoe.
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Jun 10th, 2004, 07:05 PM
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You could do it as a day trip from Tahoe - but I would get an early start. Hwy 89 is a good road through some beautiful scenery and not much traffic. But it is about 200 miles from Southshore to the south entrance to Lassen park so plan on about 4+ hours each way.
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Jun 10th, 2004, 08:50 PM
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That's going to be a long DAY and keep in mind that the days are a lot shorter in October! I guess you could even run into some snow.

http://www.nps.gov/lavo/pphtml/weather.html

If you're looking for things to do on a day trip, you might check out Bodie State Historical Park or Pyramid Lake.

Utahtea
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Jun 11th, 2004, 08:51 AM
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Listen to utahtea.
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Jun 11th, 2004, 11:40 AM
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You could do Lassen on the way to Tahoe or on the way out but you would need two days at least to be able to see anything. Where are you coming from? I would not recommend Lassen as a day trip from Tahoe because the roads are pretty slow.

Both Bodie and Pyramid Lake are also long drives from Tahoe as day trips. Better done as two day (or longer excursions). Better choices (and less driving) are day trips to Markleeville (and soaking in Grover Hot Springs), Genoa (near Carson City) (and soaking at Wally's Hot Springs) and Sierraville (and soaking in Sierra Hot Springs).

Another nice day trip is to go up to Truckee and wander around the shops, visit Donner Lake (and the memorial there) and then drive up old Hwy 40 to old Donner Pass and see some incredible vistas and close up views of the snow sheds that the Central Pacific built in the 1860's.

If you do go to Apple Hill, consider driving over to Hwy 88 and going over the Carson Pass (to see some spectacular scenery) and then hanging a right on the Mormon Emigrant Trail down to Apple Hill. Then you can go back on Hwy 50 to South Lake Tahoe.

In early October, the weather is almost always beautiful but the days are short and the nights at higher elevations can be very crisp. It's too early to bring skis.
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Jun 11th, 2004, 12:01 PM
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I wouldn't do Bodie AND Pyramid Lake in the same day. I had said "or".

Bodie is 105 miles (one way) from Lake Tahoe and we did it as a day trip in October a couple of years ago.

Pyramid Lake is also about 100 miles (one way) from S. Lake Tahoe. You can also see Virginia City as part of this route.

Utahtea
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Jun 11th, 2004, 01:29 PM
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Kal
 
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I love to drive but the SLT to Lassen haul would be out of my "one day comfortably" range.

Pyramid and Bodie may be a good side trips as mentioned as they are basically "straight shots".
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Jun 11th, 2004, 04:39 PM
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Thank you, everyone. utahtea, I have read some of your contributions in other threads, and am so happy to have your advice. I agree that Lassen is really a stretch, particularly since I have done this trip before. My husband grew up in Ohio and doesn't know better.. I will use your suggestions to try to -- guide, is the gentler word -- his decision (we each pick a trip, this one is his).
As to where we are coming from -- we are flying into Reno from Orlando Florida. Then to Sacramento for a day, to Monterey for a couple of days, San Francisco for a couple of days, Reno for a couple of days (it's the Annual Outhouse Races in Virginia City, after all!), then a week in Tahoe, then back to Florida.
Hubby, scrutinizing the atlas, had also mentioned Pyramid Lake. And Otis_B_Driftwood, thanks for the list of alternates.
Tell me about Bodie State Historical Park -- what's best to see/do there?
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Jun 12th, 2004, 12:00 AM
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Bodie State Historical Park is the best preserved Ghost Town I've ever seen.

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=509

On your drive from Monterey to San Francisco make sure you drive Hwy 1. Very Scenic!

We were in Virigina City a couple of years ago and didn't realize the Outhouse races were going on. I wish we hadn't missed them.

Pyramid Lake is not a real develped kind of tourist place. It's more of a go, see and enjoy the scenery.

On your way back to Reno I would suggest taking Hwy 88 (Carson Pass) to see the aspen which will be turning color in October.

Utahtea
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Jun 12th, 2004, 08:05 AM
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If you can change your plans, I would recommend the following trip from SF to Reno which would include a visit to Bodie.

From SF, drive up to Yosemite and then over Hwy 120 (Tioga Pass) to Mono Lake. Spend the night in Lee Vining. In the morning, take the tour out at the South Tufa Reserve on Mono Lake. Then drive up to Bodie and tour the ghost town. Then, you will head back over to Hwy 395 and drive north to Reno through Bridgeport and along the Walker River. From Yosemite to Carson City is some of the finest scenery in California (and Nevada).

BTW, it would probably be better to stay in Carson City if you are going to be heading up to Virgina City for the outhouse races.

As far as Pyramid Lake is concerned, I would skip it unless you have nothing else to do. It's a two to three hour drive from Tahoe (depending on traffic in Reno) and there is nothing to do once you get there.

I love Pyramid Lake and have been there many times. But, I know where to go and usually camp there. In the summer, it's fun to swim in the lake but in October, it will be too cold. Skip it unless you are really into seeing desert scenery and/or appreciate the history and inhabitants of the area.
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Jun 12th, 2004, 04:43 PM
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If you haven't been to Yosemite, then I would do as Otis suggested.

Utahtea
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Jun 12th, 2004, 06:31 PM
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Growing up, we used to spend a week or so every summer in Yosemite, in the housekeeping cabins. Those were the best times! We're skipping a visit to Yosemite this time, and planning a future trip just to Yosemite -- so much to see and do, it deserves it own vacation.
Southlake Tahoe is looking better, as of our last trip a year and a half ago. It had gotten to be pretty tacky (now we have a timeshare in Daytona Beach, talk about really tacky!).
So much we'd like to do, too little time to do it in...isn't that always the case?
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