Description - This State Scenic Highway journeys through the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, passing through high passes and open mountain valleys on its way to Lake Tahoe. As the vista opens up before the traveler, they feast on the beauty before them. The clear blue lake and spectacularly high mountains dazzle the eyes of the beholder and speak peace to the soul.
Copyright: - California Scenic Highway Program
As is true of the other routes in Alpine County, the scenery changes dramatically
- The designed portion of the route begins in Slinkard Valley and rises abruptly, through a series of switchbacks, 2,000 feet in six miles to cross Monitor Pass. From Monitor Pass, the highway drops down through several alpine meadows and rocky canyons until it joins with Route 4 alongside the East Fork of the Carson River. The highway continues along the meadow adjacent to the Carson River to the county seat at Markleeville. Here the route leaves the valley of the East Fork of the Carson River, travels up Millberry Canyon, over a low mountain range and then down into the valley of the West Fork at Woodfords, the highway rises through Woodford Canyon, crosses Hope Valley, and makes a final ascent to Luther Pass and the El Dorado County line.
As is true of the other routes in Alpine County, the scenery changes from that of high-desert brush covering rolling hillsides at the lower elevation, to mountainsides covered with aspen, fir, pine, and cedar at intermediate elevation on up to rocky crags and alpine vegetation normally found above the timberline.
Recreation - The Route 89--Monitor Pass & Luther Pass Highways & Lake Tahoe Road is known for it's cultural, natural, recreational 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.
This byway is located in the High Sierra Region. It leads fromThe Topaz and Topaz Lake area, north to Lake Tahoe. (From 3.2 miles west of State Route 395 north to the Placer County line.)
Steep and mountainous at times. Chains may be required or partial road closures can occur during winter storms.
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