Green up Your Tahoe-Reno Trip with A Scenic Train and Some Local Color
If you are planning a Tahoe-Reno this spring or summer, do yourself a favor and take a bit of stress out of your trip with an added stop en route, or even a chance to get out of the car and see one of America’s most scenic train routes.
Colfax, a historic town along Highway 80, about an hour east of Sacramento, is a great place to get off the highway, board a train or sleepover to enjoy the places in between.
Leave Early and Stay-over En Route
Heres a tip: consider a Friday departure and layover an hour or so from a favorite destination. Wake up fresh and rested, with daylight to help guide you to your destination safely.
Colfax and Dutch Flat offer some interesting choices for enjoy some Sierra local color and hitting the road well-rested for an early start or even, trying a holiday without the car-board Amtrak mid-day for Reno or Truckee and use ski shuttles or public transportation. The message here is simple: maximize outdoor time, minimize traffic hassle.
Colfax, named for 1800’s politician, Schuyler Colfax, is right next to Highway 80 with a motor lodge, bed and breakfast, Air BNB farmhouse and a Best Western Hotel beginning construction. It’s not hard to envision getting an early start from this quiet foothill town and enjoying a more relaxed pace.
Just a few miles up the Interstate from Colfax, Dutch Flat also offers a historic family/friendly hotel with multiple bed suites and discounts for return visits and groups. From the one-block long Dutch Flat town center, find your way to the Monte Vista Inn, a mile or so up the road…this is where the locals go for homemade food in an authentic log cabin. (Trivia: Governor Newsom’s son Dutch is named for Dutch Flat.)
Dump The Car!
One more suggestion: Take the train from Colfax and dump the car just as traffic congestion starts. Ever notice how wonderful Tahoe is EXCEPT for the traffic?
Take the time to see the Sierra from a totally different vantage point in the mountains on a train. With daily mid-day departures, this is the slow way to get there, but provides not only a glimpse into spectacular beauty, but history. This was one of the most challenging sections of the Transcontinental Railroad construction and still inspires awe.
With stops in Truckee and Reno, there are plenty of on the ground transportation options. In particular, Tahoe Area Regional Transit (TART) in Truckee has frequent buses from Truckee to favored resorts and restaurants, like Northstar, Squaw and Tahoe City. Ride TART for free as part of a two-year trial public transportation program. As bonus, TART even offers night service from Tahoe City to Truckee until 1:30 am-well after the taverns close down.
While very scenic, train schedules are subject to delays. Plan accordingly. Colfax has free overnight parking and puts a traveler on the train just as the climb through the mountains begins. This trip has a reputation for providing seasonal beauty from snow, to wildflowers to grand summer and fall vistas.