Explore Tahoe-Truckee: Incredible views above Lake Tahoe from the Mt. Rose Highway Scenic Overlook
This is the second in a series of recurring stories highlighting simple-to-access scenic views for motorists and cyclists of the greater Truckee-Tahoe region.
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The brilliant blue water. The striking Sierra Nevada serving as its backdrop. The array of trees — pines, firs and aspens — circling it for miles and miles like a painting that doesn’t end.
Whether you’re lounging on its shore, floating across its surface, or gazing at it from a mountain trail, there truly is not a bad view of Lake Tahoe.
But there are viewpoints of the aptly named “Jewel of the Sierra” that stand above the rest — in more ways than one.
One such surveying spot can be found on Mt. Rose, the second highest mountain in the Lake Tahoe Basin, at the Mt. Rose Highway Scenic Overlook.
Located a few miles outside of Incline Village, the turnout barely requires you to get out of your car or hop off your motorcycle.
There are no parking spaces, but there’s room for at least two dozen vehicles to pull off.
Now, what exactly will you see when you reach the overlook? Quite simply, you’re getting one of the best panoramic views of Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America.
By the way, if you’re looking for more Tahoe facts, the overlook has an interpretive kiosk that notes everything you’d want to know about one of the purest lakes in the world.
There are also panels that list the names, locations and elevations of the surrounding mountain peaks and points of interest.
But first, you need to drink in the view — and take a boatload of photos.
While the people who stop at the overlook wax and wane throughout the day, as the sun begins to make its descent, the crowd increases.
Why the influx? To witness a scene that can only be described as celestial. As if the view was not picturesque enough, as soon as the sun starts to set, a display of vibrant reds, oranges, yellows and purples streaks across the sky and reflects off the blue waters of Lake Tahoe.
It’s no wonder why people travel from all corners of the country — the globe, even — to capture its awe-inspiring beauty.
So, how do you get there? Glad you asked. Since the overlook is already a stone’s throw from Incline Village, let’s start there.
Coming from Incline Village:
Head west less than a mile out of town on Highway 28.
Hang a right at the roundabout onto the Mt. Rose Highway (Nevada Highway 431).
A mere 3.3 miles of winding up 431 brings you to the overlook on your right. Don’t worry, you’ll get a visual cue: a blue sign 500 feet before notifies drivers of the fast approaching overlook.
Coming from Sacramento/Truckee:
Hop onto Interstate 80E toward Reno.
Take Exit 188B toward Truckee and stay right to head southeast on California Highway 267 for about 12 miles.
After you’ve entered Kings Beach, turn left onto California Highway 28 (it later turns into Nevada 28), which you’ll take through Crystal Bay and past Lakeshore Drive.
Turn left at the roundabout onto the Mt. Rose Highway.
Keep winding up the road until you see the overlook on your right.
Coming from Reno:
Jump on I-80E toward Sparks/Elko.
Take Exit 15 onto US-395/I-580 for 10 miles.
Take Exit 56 for NV-431/Mt. Rose Highway.
Curve and climb Mt. Rose Highway for 20 miles until you reach the overlook on your left. You’ll come upon two different blue marker signs on your right: one 2 miles before, and the other 500 feet ahead.
Visit bit.ly/1j1hDOb to learn more about Mt. Rose Highway Scenic Overlook.