A Scenic Drive Over Carson Pass

The drive across Carson Pass is filled with scenic views, alpine lakes, and countless places to pull off the highway and explore. From the west side the road climbs gradually along a ridge, hemmed in by thick forest for the first miles. Soon forests give way and panoramic views of Sierra peaks begin to appear – first to the north around Lake Tahoe where distinctive Pyramid Peak dominates the skyline. Then all of a sudden spectacular views of Silver Lake, Thunder Mountain, and West Pass open before you.

Looking north from Carson Pass, CA

From Silver Lake the road sneaks around the rugged Carson Spur, past beautiful Kirkwood Meadows, and on to Caples Lake. Again dramatic peaks form the backdrop for the sparkling water of another mountain lake. Forests give way to open landscape as peaks rise on either side of the road near the summit of Carson Pass. Down the east slope is Red Lake and then Hope Valley, followed by the West Carson River canyon. Try to imagine bringing emigrant wagons up the rugged canyon with winter nipping at your heels.

Backpacking, Day Hikes, Bicycling, and Mountain Biking

Carson Pass is filled with adventures. Backpackers set off into the Mokelumne Wilderness to favorite destinations like Fourth of July Lake, while day hikers find adventurous trails from easy nature walks in Indian Grinding Rock State Park to ridgeline treks from the summit of Carson Pass. Carson Pass has miles of great cycling roads, especially along the east side of the Sierra. Mountain Bikers find plenty of logging roads and single tracks. On summer weekends Kirkwood Ski Resort opens miles of alpine trails, along with chairlifts 1 and 2, to mountain bikers.

Stay Pioneer while exploring Carson Pass

Plan to stay at Pioneer Inn & Suites during your next Gold Country getaway. Enjoy onsite outdoor pool, heated spa, and hiking trails. Gallagher’s Pub onsite serving beer and wine. Plenty of parking with space for bikes, recreational vehicles and outdoor gear. Pet friendly with dog run for your convenience. Clean, comfortable rooms with queen and king size beds and daily housekeeping. Suites with queen size bed, sofa sleeper and kitchenette. In room amenities such as free Wi Fi, air conditioning and heating. All rooms have a microwave oven, refrigerator, coffee maker, and cable TV. Private patio area for all rooms. All rooms are non-smoking. A friendly and helpful staff, eager to welcome you back again and again!