Trolley route has spectacular views
Anyone who has tried to visit Emerald Bay in a car during summer knows you’ve got to have some pretty good luck to find a parking spot.
That’s why Gail Karp of Sarasota, Fla., was thrilled to discover the $3 Nifty 50 Trolley that connects South Lake Tahoe to one of the most photographed destinations in the world.
Karp tried to visit the bay a week ago, but never got out of her car.
“I couldn’t find a place to park. I was driving in circles for 45 minutes,” she said.
Meanwhile, some visitors were enjoying an open-air, 1950s-style trolley with a fully narrated tour.
The trolley hits two state parks and U.S. Forest Service visitor center at Taylor Creek, all in a 45-minute round trip. For the $3 pass, visitors may get on and off as many times as they choose, and transfer to service connecting Camp Richardson with the “Y” and casinos.
The route hugs a winding Highway 89, and provides riders with a higher vantage point than a personal vehicle. Large windows allow 360-degree views of Lake Tahoe and its surrounding mountains.
“It’s one of the most spectacular routes in the world,” said driver Jeff Joslyn, a 30-year resident of Tahoe. “People rave about it after they are done. It’s not nearly promoted enough.”
Several riders on Tuesday said they wished the trolley was advertised better, since they found out about it by happenstance.
Karp said she wasn’t aware the route went so far out of town.
“They ought to let people know it doesn’t just go between the ‘Y’ and the casinos,” she said.
Denise Merrill of Seattle rode the trolley Tuesday with her daughter Ashley, 19, who is working in Tahoe for the summer. Ashley had seen signs for the trolley as she biked past Camp Richardson and decided to check it out.
Elaine Koenig asked about the trolley at the Forest Service visitor center after seeing the sign outside. From the look of the signs, she got the impression the service did not exist anymore.
“It would be great to have the schedule in a box,” she said.
Koenig, who is from Sacramento, said she would ride the service for the rest of her trip.
“I’m very thrifty, so this was quite a bargain to take this all around town,” she said.
A Forest Service parking lot charges $4 and the State Parks lot charges $6. Others park illegally along the highway and walk. One exasperated family caught the trolley Tuesday after having to park more than a mile away from the bay.
Joslyn narrates the entire ride, highlighting points of interest like Inspiration Point overlooking the bay, where naturalist John Muir took President Teddy Roosevelt in the early 1900s.
The trolley is part of BlueGo, a public-private partnership with the city of South Lake Tahoe, Nevada casinos and area ski resorts.
More than 33,000 people rode the trolley last summer, according to manager Ken Daley.
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