Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway
The Sierra Nevada Route
|Mileage||55 miles (89 km)|
|DurationThe duration is an estimate of a one-way drive and does not include any stops or side-trips.||1 hour, 6 minutes|
|SeasonsThe seasons listed are the best seasons for this scenic drive. If Winter is not mentioned, the road may be closed during the winter.||Spring, Summer, and Fall|
|Roadways||California Highways 4 and 89|
|ServicesThe cities or towns listed have either Food or Services such as gas, hotels, pharmacies, etc.||Arnold, CA▼, Murphys, CA▼, Markleeville, CA▼, Gardnerville, NV▼, Mountain House, NV▼, Topaz Lake, NV▼, and Woodfords, CA▼|
3.9 average from 51 votes
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The Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway heads through the Sierra Nevada’s old-growth Stanislaus National Forest, towering peaks, alpine lakes and valleys as it climbs to 8,730 feet of elevation through this historic trail on the way to Lake Tahoe.
The scenic drive starts in Arnold which can be reached by heading north on CA-4 from Angles. The drive heads north to CA-89 where it ends in Markleeville. During the summer, you will see many species of wildflowers and in the fall, enjoy the changing colors of the trees.
Heading north on CA-4, you will soon arrive in Calaveras Big Tree State Park (H1) which is home to two groves of giant sequoia redwoods reaching over 200 feet tall and a diameter greater than 20 feet. Other attractions in the Park include the Stanislaus River, Beaver Creek, the Lava Bluff Trail and Bradley Trail.
After you pass the Bear Valley Ski Resort, surrounded by mountains and valleys is the scenic Lake Alpine (W1). Rent a kayak or canoe to explore its natural beauty.
A few miles ahead is Cape Horn Vista (V1) where you can get a panoramic perspective of the Sierra Nevada. Continuing north, you will soon pass Mosquito Lakes (W2) on your right. The two reflective shallow alpine lakes with their granite outcroppings offer fishing, boating and hiking, such as on the nearby Pacific Crest Trail or to Marshall Canyon.
Continuing north on CA-4, the drive will climb as you approach the 8,732-foot Ebbetts Pass. The road descends quickly with many hairpin turns after the pass and the surrounding scenery is amazing.
At the bottom of the pass, the road parallels the East Fork of the Carson River, renowned for trout fishing and whitewater rafting. Nearby Grover Hot Springs State Park has hot and cold pools and swimming pool hot springs. Shortly after, the drive ends as you approach CA-89. From here, head northeast on CA-89/US-50 towards Lake Tahoe.