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Winter drive from San Francisco to Squaw Valley

Nottingham, United...
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Winter drive from San Francisco to Squaw Valley

Hi,

We are arriving from the UK into San Francisco in early February (Monday 3rd), picking up a car and driving to North Lake Tahoe (Squaw Valley) for a fortnights skiing.

Can anyone tell me the best route from the airport at San Francisco. I have heard that there is a dangerous pass that can be affected by ice & snow if taking the I 80 out of Sacramento.

We don't land until 2:00 pm so will be driving in the dark with my geographically challenged daughter acting as navigator!

Any help or advice would be gratefully received.

Thanks.

Rob.

Santa Clara...
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1. Re: Winter drive from San Francisco to Squaw Valley

The dangerous pass is probably Echo Pass on Hwy 50. You won't go near it as that is towards South Lake Tahoe. You will go on I-80 towards Reno once you mame your way across the bay from SFO (101 North to Bay Bridge to 80 North towards Sacramento).

The tricky park is in Sacramento. You want to stay in I-80 towards Reno and NOT Hwy 50 towards Lake Tahoe (which is southside). My directions challenged spouse has made this mistakes more than once if I am not awake!

Once on I-80 it is pretty straightforward highway driving until you get to Trucjee to turn off.

Be prepared for winter conditions. Always bring extra water, food, etc. Have a great trip.

Edited: 19 November 2013, 13:27
Santa Clara...
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2. Re: Winter drive from San Francisco to Squaw Valley

Oy vey... sorry for typos. Small keyboard on phone. I hate that we only have one edit...

Corona del Mar, CA
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3. Re: Winter drive from San Francisco to Squaw Valley

>>>picking up a car and driving to North Lake Tahoe (Squaw Valley) for a fortnights skiing<<<

A fortnight? First thing to learn about the U.S. is very few of us actually speak English. Only tennis fans who watch Wimbledon or those who watch Downton Abbey actually know how long a fortnight is :)

The drive is very easy, freeway all the way on Interstate 80. That doesn't mean it can't be icy, but it isn't very tricky it is pretty straight forward.

As is described above, just be sure you stay on Interstate 80 until Truckee. The interstate Freeways tend to use major cities to help in directions so as noted above, head towards Reno. Here is the sign chinita is talking about.

http://goo.gl/maps/oU7g2

The next time you have to do anything is when you get to State Highway 89. Take it South to Squaw Valley. The SR89 sign is below.

http://goo.gl/maps/hAeMN

Sacramento, CA
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4. Re: Winter drive from San Francisco to Squaw Valley

Be sure to rent an AWD/4WD vehicle.

Corona del Mar, CA
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5. Re: Winter drive from San Francisco to Squaw Valley

Oh.... and should it be raining heavily when you hit Sacramento that means it is probably snowing heavily in the mountains. There are lots of motels off I-80 in Roseville, just east of Sacramento, at Roseville Parkway. Here is a map that shows those.

http://goo.gl/maps/hAeMN

It might be good to have one in mind if you decide to stop rather than push on.

Santa Clara...
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6. Re: Winter drive from San Francisco to Squaw Valley

Great tips! I will add that you should travel with extra provisions. When you are getting gas or toilet break, pick up extra food and water and some fleece blankets. Should you be stuck, you will be prepared. We always travel in the Sierras with our sleeping bags just in case. Never been stranded overnight, but had to wait out road closures in the middle of nowhere for many hours due to white out conditions.

Edited: 19 November 2013, 14:05
Nottingham, United...
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7. Re: Winter drive from San Francisco to Squaw Valley

Thanks for your great advice, it really is appreciated.

Rob

Nottingham, United...
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8. Re: Winter drive from San Francisco to Squaw Valley

You watch Downton Abbey? Wow! In return I'm a devotee of two and a half men (old & new).

Thanks again for all of the great advice, I hadn't given a thought to stocking up with provisions etc. In the UK we don't have such vast distances to cover & the climate is less severe.

Once again, grateful to everyone who has taken the time to reply, it really does make a difference.

Rob

Santa Clara...
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9. Re: Winter drive from San Francisco to Squaw Valley

Love love love Downton Abbey! I binged watched the first 2 seasons over one weekend. Can't wait for season 5.

Have a great trip and hope for a good season. We are still waiting for snow...

10. Re: Winter drive from San Francisco to Squaw Valley

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