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Route 50--El Dorado County

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Quick Facts
Designation: California State Scenic Highway
Length, One-Way: 58 Miles (96.67 Kilometers)
Time: 99 minutes @ 35 mph

General Information

Route 50 runs from the suburban foothills of the Sierra Nevada to the Tahoe Basin
Copyright: - California Scenic Highway Program
Route 50 runs from the suburban foothills of the Sierra Nevada to the Tahoe Basin
Description - Route 50--El Dorado County runs from the suburban foothills of the Sierra Nevada through the American River Canyon, over the granite peaks of Echo Summit and descends into the Tahoe Basin with spectacular views of Lake Tahoe.

Attractions - The scenic Route 50 transects one of California's favorite national forests. In addition to the magnificent scenery, a myriad of recreations are enjoyed on Eldorado National Forest where topography is broken by the steep canyons of the Mokelumne, Cosumnes, American, and Rubicon rivers. More than 600 miles of fishing streams lace the Forest. Portions of the Pacific Crest, Emigrant Summit and Pony Express National Recreation Trails lead through the Eldorado. There are approximately 123,631 acres of designated wilderness on the Forest, in the Desolation and Mokelumne Wildernesses. Permits are required for overnight backpacking. Hikers, horses, and llamas welcome. Other outdoor activities accessible from Route 50 include camping, boating, hunting, and skiing. This scenic byway ends at the city limits of South Lake Tahoe, a region that offers more places to ski and snowboard than any other destination in North America. The numerous ski resorts are complemented by an abundance of lodging and entertainment options. The resorts around Lake Tahoe range from large, world famous, destinations to small, affordable, family and local oriented resorts. The beautiful, sapphire-blue waters of Lake Tahoe rest at 6,225 feet elevation with surrounding peaks towering over 10,000 feet. This world-renowned clear water lake has been designated an Outstanding Natural Resources Water.

Recreation - The Route 50--El Dorado County is known for it's natural and scenic attractions.

Climate - The High Sierra generally experiences warm, dry summers and cold, snowy and wet winters. Weather can change rapidly during all seasons of the year. Elevation plays a major role in temperature and precipitation. This precipitation falls mainly from October through April. At higher elevations, it comes mostly in the form of snow. A snowpack from 5-10 feet or more is usually present from December to May at elevations above 6,500 feet. Winter temperatures below zero and summer temperatures above 100 degrees indicate the normal seasonal spread. Clouds can build up during the summer to produce spectacular thunderstorm activity. It is wise to pack for any season with clothing that can be "layered," ready to peel off or add on as the thermometer dictates. Always include some kind of rain gear.

Location - The scenic highway begins at the Government Center Interchange in Placerville and follows U.S. Highway 50 past Pollock Pines and Kyburz and over Echo Summit to the city limits of South Lake Tahoe.

Steep and mountainous at times; chains may be required or partial road closures can occur during winter storms.

Directions from :

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Filed By: Dan13 (Placerville, Ca.)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I live in this paradise! Just a morning's drive to Tahoe can put you in close contact with your creator. Lunch or dine at St.Pauli for the best in German fare. Avoid the casinos and drive carefully. Always carry chains in the winter as storms can roll in off the Pacific at any time. Leave plenty of time for side trips and photo stops. Hire a boat at the lake or take the sternwheeler to Emerald Bay.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Scenic Driving Route 50--El Dorado County
ICON Viewing Scenery Route 50--El Dorado County

More Information

Additional Information:
California Scenic Byways - California offers one All American Road, two National Scenic Byways, and well over 50 state and National Forest designated scenic byways.

Scenic Byways Homepage - National Scenic Byways official web site with detailed info on all national and state byways.


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