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Old 07-15-2019, 10:15 PM   #1
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2015 30' FB FC Bunk
Ayer , Massachusetts
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South Tahoe to Mono Lake

We are in South Tahoe looking to get to Mono Lake in the morning. I heard there is a way with minimal grades. Any help is appreciated.

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Old 07-15-2019, 11:17 PM   #2
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Tracktown USA , Oregon
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For memory the lake is about 6,500. Kingsbury grade (hwy 207) E to minden is 7344. I believe it is a truck route so do expect some big rigs. Nothing of significance SB 395. Heads up sherwin down grade approaching Bishop (past momo). SB and towing mind your gears and brakes. Not towing, heads up CHP lives at the bottom after 395 turn e just outside of town.

Lots of places to pull over along the w walker river...good lunch opportunities in Bridgeport e end of town. Mammouth & June lake loops have camping and scenic opportunities. Nice RV park s end of bishop west side of 395...browns campground??. Local word of mouth legend has it the pie at the park's diner/store is the EE ticket.

FWIW...SB 395 some may argue hwy88 Carson Pass and certainly hwy 120/tioga pass into Yosemite (depending on length) but there are few E to W highways until ridgecrest ( and area 51 heads up fir ufo's )

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Old 07-16-2019, 12:18 AM   #3
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Hi Ted. I just trekked through the area earlier this month, though I was going from Mammoth to South Lake Tahoe.

I'm sure you are aware which is why you're asking. Kingsbury grade is a serious grade that deserves respect. It is narrow, with few turnouts, and windy. It's 6-8% grades. Notably harder uphill as it's at elevation which saps power. Though I had a good time traversing the grade with my 27FB, and it is incredibly scenic. Very doable if you are confident in your driving. Likely will need to hold second to third gear for engine braking most of the steep grade.

That said, I would encourage you to skip Kingsbury Grade (207) and take Hwy 50 which is a 4 lane road. It's not necessary to catch 80.

From South Lake Tahoe, take 89 to HWY 50. Turn left through Stateline passing Kingsbury. Head east on 50 to Carson City. When you get down the hill to Carson City, you will turn right, South on Hwy 395. You will have a very nice and pleasant drive to Mono from there.

There's a cute little hamburger place in Walker about halfway to Mono Lake, called Walker Burger. Highly recommended!

Safe travels!
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Old 07-19-2019, 03:58 PM   #4
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My reply is too late for Ted... but I recommend a 3rd way.

I live nearby, and travel all these routes From South Lake Tahoe ("SLT") the three routes to US-395 South are:

(1) Kingsbury grade (directly out of Stateline). Very "direct" as the crow flies, but the grades are more steep and the corners are sharp. Lots of them, with fairly big altitude gains and losses. Google says 41 minutes to reach Minden, but they're very nervous minutes with a trailer in tow - and lots of impatient people around you on a 2-lane road with few passing opportunities.

(2) North to Hwy 50, East through South Carson City, South to Minden. Google says 55 minutes. Relatively easy, but the "moderate" uphill grade (from lake level to Spooner Summit) is pretty steady and unrelenting.

(3) South, using CA-89 and CA-88. Total time per Google: about 50 minutes. This is probably the best way from SLT over to US-395 South, if you're concerned about hauling a trailer up steep grades are a concern. US-50 South out of Town, through the "Y" (CA-89 North and West), and staying on 50 for another 4.8 miles. Then Turn LEFT CA-89 South. There are signs for Markleeville and Jackson, but you won't be going to either of them.

After 11.2 miles of gentle grades (up, then down), you turn LEFT at Pickett's Junction. That's a "T", (right turn) with CA-88 going West over the Sierra mountains to Jackson. The left turn is for CA-89 and CA-88 down to Woodfords. The next 6 miles contain a few steep grades, but they're very short (and not as steep as grades on Kingsbury). You're also going downhill, exclusively. This section is very scenic, within the Carson River Canyon.

Just before Woodfords, CA-89 splits to the right (going to Markleeville). Do NOT take CA-89, stay on CA-88 (going mostly straight - slightly left). CA-88 goes North, into Nevada, for about 17 miles, before joining 395 at a big traffic light on the West edge of Minden.
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Old 07-20-2019, 12:51 AM   #5
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Thanks all, we made it just fine with your help.
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