Most scenic route from Yosemite to Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe to Yosemite is a famous road trip journey that takes travelers to see the beautiful freshwater lakes in California. It is a well-known route that has shimmering cobalt blue waters. The beauty of this location is well complimented by the roaring waterfalls found in Yosemite. Covering all the vistas in this area should cost you over $56.89 in fuel. This fuel should get you through the 261 miles of distance. The entire area is connected in a loop, and many travelers manage to complete it in 5 hours and 54 minutes. Drive directly on the US-395 will take about 2.5 hours. This strip has 124 miles, which will not add too much time to your journey. We recommend making this journey from March to May or September to November. This period is when you will find the most fantastic variety of attractions/activities. Recommended activities include:

  • Yosemite Visitor Center, 
  • Lake Tahoe, 
  • Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway, 
  • Carson City, NV Topaz Lake, 
  • Fales Hot Springs, 
  • and Mono Lake.

Highlights of the Most scenic route from Yosemite to Lake Tahoe

Table Of Contents

Yosemite Visitor Center

Travel Overview: 2 hours 29 minutes — 102 mi

There are over four visitor centers in the Yosemite National Park. Traversing through these parks should take you over 2.5 hours to complete. 

The most popular option is the Valley Visitor Center. It is trendy because it is the biggest and offers the most attractions. This stop will keep you fascinated with displays, books, and postcards. It is a great area to pick up souvenirs before the journey begins. The valley stays open throughout the year and has staff on hand to provide an intriguing experience. You will encounter natural history displays, audiovisual programs, and ancient maps. For the film buffs, you can catch a popular 23-minute film that dictates how the Yosemite National Park came to be. The cinema is state-of-the-art, wide-screen out, and is located at the modern West Auditorium Theater.

The Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center is the next best valley you can visit during your journey. It is an area that is best experienced during summer and offers travelers the chance to engage with the local geology exhibits. You can also learn about the wildflowers and the ecology of the area. Bears are known to roam around in the wilderness popularly.

The Big Oak Flat Visitor Centre is an option because it has many well-trained National Park Service Rangers. Many travelers feel safe watching nature in this area because of the calming guidance of the staff. Feel free to have a picnic in the forest or look through some of the books, maps, and wilderness permits they have on offer. 

The Wawona Visitor center can be found at Hill’s Studio. This place is close to the Wawona Hotel and has a wide range of information on interpretive programs and park activities. Books, maps, and wilderness permits are also available. Hours vary, and this center is only open during the summer.

Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway

Travel Overview: 1 hour 9 minutes — 55 mi

The Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway is calmingly intimate and naturally untamed. It comes through the heart of the Sierra Nevada and is 51-miles long. Traveling down Highways 4 and 89 should take you close to 1 hour and 10 minutes to complete. 

This area boasts very strong, naturally fomented valleys that differ from each other. You will find glacially carved valleys, granite outcroppings, and basalt columns. The fantastic features on this route are bald eagles, majestic stands of Giant Sequoia, and pristine alpine lakes. Travelers often like to stop here for rare sightings. There are other endless attractions such as ancient volcanic peaks, deep river canyons, and thick forests. These stops are unique to this byway and offer the traveler an opportunity to make memories with their camera. 

The area is well known for its hospitality, making it an excellent place to stop and enjoy some hot mineral pools. The Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway goes through picturesque mountain valleys, past old gold mining towns, and through the biggest meadow in California that is high in elevation. Driving on this road, you will find it is a narrow asphalt ribbon. It is a well-designed road that can offer an exceptional and intimate high country experience. For most of the trip, you will be surrounded by national forests and wilderness areas. Consider stopping for some recreational activities here, including hiking, backpacking, camping, and biking. If you are more comfortable on the water, you can bring your kayak along for kayaking, canoeing, fishing, or even swimming. It is advisable to go during the warmer times in the calendar for water activities. The Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway is known for downhill skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing in the winter. Make sure to dress accordingly for the below-freezing temperatures.


Lake Tahoe to Yosemite via 395

Yosemite is 124 miles from Lake Tahoe via US-395 S. The journey can be finished in approximately 2 hours and 34 mins.

Where to stay between Yosemite and lake taho

  1. The southern entrance, Fish Camp 
  2. High Sierras, Tioga Pass 
  3. Mono Lake, Bodie. 
  4. Cal-Neva, Crystal Lake
  5. Best Western, Lee Vining
  6. Walker River Lodge, Bridgeport
  7. Carson Valley Inn, Minden. 

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