Travel: Six ways to get to Lake Tahoe without a car |

Travel: Six ways to get to Lake Tahoe without a car

Claire Cudahy
The California Zephyr starts in Emeryville, Calif., and stops in Truckee en route to Chicago.
AP / Phil Gosney | Amtrak

With traffic issues at the forefront of community discussions in Lake Tahoe, agencies like the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Tahoe Transportation District are working to find ways to get visitors (and locals) out of their cars and into public transit.

Though unique travel solutions like park-and-ride lots outside of the basin and a commuter ferry will be instituted over the next decade, here are six ways that you can get to Lake Tahoe without a car right now.


Ditch the car and fly to Reno-Tahoe International Airport, which has more than 120 daily nonstop flights. From there, you can hop on one of two buses — the South Tahoe Airporter or the North Lake Tahoe Express — depending on your destination. These services will drop you off directly at your hotel of choice.


Fly into the Sacramento International Airport on one of its 145 nonstop flights and call an on-demand van service like SuperShuttle to take you the remaining two hours into Lake Tahoe.


Hop on the California Zephyr train at the Emeryville Amtrak station (11 miles east of San Francisco) and sit back for a roughly five and a half hour scenic ride to Truckee. Added bonus: You can head on down to the dining car and order something delicious like a grilled black Angus steak, baked potato and a glass of merlot to enjoy on the ride.

Once in Truckee, make your way around the basin by bus (check out or Uber.


Head into the basin in style. Services like Reno Tahoe Limousine will take you from Reno to Lake Tahoe in a stretch limo, or for a larger group book a party bus from Sacramento through Empire Limousine. Three sizes of party buses can accommodate anywhere from 15 to 55 people and include satellite TV with LCD screens, laser lights, dance poles and wet bars.


The Bay Area Ski Bus has been shuttling snow enthusiasts to and from Lake Tahoe for 19 years. Board the bus from one of 12 locations throughout the Bay Area between 4 and 5:30 a.m., sleep until 7:30 a.m., enjoy a provided continental breakfast and ski movie, ski from 9 – 4 p.m., have an après ski drink or two, then head back to the Bay at 4:30 p.m.

Buses go to Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Heavenly Mountain Resort, Squaw Valley Ski Resort, Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, Sierra-at-Tahoe, and Northstar California Resort.

Greyhound, AMTRAK and Megabus also offer bus transit to Lake Tahoe from a number of cities.


Surf Air is a membership-based airline that charges a monthly fee of $1,950 for unlimited flights to 12 California destination, including Truckee. Truckee-based Mountain Lion Aircraft also offers on-demand charter service. The Lake Tahoe Airport in South Lake Tahoe is not open to scheduled commercial flights, but can accommodate private aircrafts. Providers like Air Charter Service will arrange private flights to the South Shore.

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