Tahoe National Forest

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About Tahoe National Forest

Tahoe National Forest is a popular spot for those looking for a quick getaway. When the summer weather just gets too hot, you need an escape into cool lakes and waterfalls, and when winter rolls around, you’ll be itching to get your skis on. Although Lake Tahoe isn’t within the forest’s boundary, you can see it in the panoramic views in the high country, along with all of the other stunningly beautiful vistas of smaller lakes dotting the landscape, the rivers carving out gorges, and mountains looming in the distance.

Campgrounds in Tahoe

Calpine Lookout

1. Calpine Lookout

Just 40 miles from the quaint mountain town of Truckee in the Tahoe National Forest, you can get your starry skies on at the Calpine Fire Lookout....

77 Saves
Rocky Rest Campground

2. Rocky Rest Campground

Ooh boy, you just pulled up one of our favorites. Rocky Rest Campground is prime Central California camping. Situated up on a ridge overlooking the...

72 Saves
Indian Springs Campground

3. Indian Springs Campground

The ample shade and fresh smell of cedar and pine trees at Indian Springs Campground are sure to please any treehugger. There is a bit of noise...

Samara
Samara: "A bit of noise from the nearby road?" Seriously, Highway 80 is louder than my obnoxious apartment neighbors. Incessant roar...
24 Saves
Salmon Creek Campground

4. Salmon Creek Campground

Choosing to chill with your crew at Salmon Creek Campground on the North Yuba River is gonna make y’all say “awww ya” with the endless sites and...

Tara
Tara: There are so many lakes to explore. We spoke to some regulars up there and they recommended Salmon Lake and Long Lake. This is...
17 Saves
Sardine Campground

5. Sardine Campground

100% Recommend (3 Responses)

Sardine Lake Campground sounds like it might smell. . . interesting, but we promise your olfactory will only be overwhelmed by fresh pine and crisp...

Troy
Troy: Yuba Pass campground is located very close to Sardine Lake and has 20 campsites among large pine trees. Only a handful of sites...
17 Saves
White Cloud Campground

6. White Cloud Campground

Drowning in big city life? White Cloud Campground is calling your name. Set within the Tahoe National Forest, this is the perfect escape from the...

12 Saves
Sterling Lake Campground

7. Sterling Lake Campground

100% Recommend (9 Responses)

Sterling Lake Campground sits on the beautiful Sterling Lake, just off of a steep, winding road. There are awesome hiking and backpacking trails...

Emily
Emily: So pretty!
10 Saves
Big Reservoir Campground

8. Big Reservoir Campground

Big Reservoir Campground sits in a shady spot near the banks of the reservoir. Non-motorized boating is permitted here, so bring your kayak or...

10 Saves
Cal Ida Campground

9. Cal Ida Campground

Just across the road is the North Yuba River. Need we say more? This scenic river is reason enough to plan a visit to Cal Ida Campground. You’ll be...

10 Saves
French Meadows Campground

10. French Meadows Campground

Oh la la—French Meadows Campground is simply magnifique! This campground offers the best of both worlds; there’s plenty of shade to be found at...

9 Saves
Hampshire Rocks Campground

11. Hampshire Rocks Campground

Tree-hugger types will love this spot; the campsites at Hampshire Rocks Campground are surrounded by confiers, aspen, AND dogwood. Plus, the...

Patrick
Patrick: Be aware that certain sites have very loud freeway noise from I-80. Generally, the sites by the River and further from I-80...
9 Saves
Giant Gap Campground

12. Giant Gap Campground

Giant Gap Campground is located on the Sugar Pine Reservoir. Aaaand now we’re daydreaming about giant sugar-filled reservoirs. But s’mores around...

9 Saves
Carr Lake Campground

13. Carr Lake Campground

Carr Lake Campground sits on the banks of the beautiful Carr Lake. Be prepared for three miles of rough road into the campground, and a short hike...

9 Saves
Gates Group Campground

14. Gates Group Campground

If you’re ready for an epic girls or guys (or girls AND guys) getaway, head to Gates Group Campground on the east shore of the sparkling French...

9 Saves
Pierce Creek Campground

15. Pierce Creek Campground

Pierce Creek Campground sits near the banks of Pierce Creek in Tahoe National Forest. Fall asleep to the sounds of the creek cascading past your...

9 Saves
North Fork Campground

16. North Fork Campground

Change out of your skivvies and into your suit as fast as you can set up your tent (or park your RV) at North Fork Campground. There’s a super...

9 Saves
Indian Valley Campground

17. Indian Valley Campground

If you wanna toss up your tent or drive your RV down to the North Yuba River for a splish splashin’ good time, Indian Valley Campground is your...

6 Saves
Fiddle Creek Campground

18. Fiddle Creek Campground

100% Recommend (3 Responses)

Be prepared to leave Fiddle Creek Campground with stains on your shirt and belly full of blackberries! Ya, blackberries; the forest floor here is...

Peter
Peter: Go in July on a dry year and August on a wet year for floating
6 Saves
Forbes Group Campground

19. Forbes Group Campground

Have you been dubbed the "Family Reunion Master Planner" by your relatives? Continue your legacy at Forbes Creek Group Campground on Sugar Pine...

5 Saves
Wild Plum Campground

20. Wild Plum Campground

Experience a taste of the wild west at Wild Plum Campground. Once home to thousands of gold miners hoping to strike it rich, this area full of...

Mark
Mark: We stayed here a couple of weeks ago, love the campground, the river runs along many of the sites, and there is a nice beach...
5 Saves
Poppy Campground

21. Poppy Campground

Poppy Campground sits on the northwest shores of French Meadows Reservoir. Surrounded by a coniferous forest, you’ll have easy access to the...

5 Saves
Faucherie Group Campground

22. Faucherie Group Campground

Don’t even bother trying to fight it, the scenic views at Faucherie Group Campground will absolutely take your breath away. The two 25-person...

5 Saves
Grouse Ridge Campground

23. Grouse Ridge Campground

Grouse Ridge Campground is reached after driving over six miles of undeveloped dirt road, and the views are more than worth it. Sitting atop Grouse...

4 Saves
Silver Creek Campground

24. Silver Creek Campground

There is a silver lining to all things folks. Silver Creek Campground is no exception. Granted you can hear noise from highway 89 while you try and...

4 Saves
Ramshorn Campground

25. Ramshorn Campground

If you're all about that hammock life, you’re gonna love Ramshorn Campground. Situated beneath a canopy of stunning cedar and fir trees, you may...

Mary
Mary: Ramshorn is an absolutely incredible place to check out if you're into mountain biking! Downieville is 5 and a half miles down...
4 Saves
Chapman Creek Campground

26. Chapman Creek Campground

Simple Cali campin’ at its finest! Chapman Creek Campground is located right on the creek it’s named after, away from the hustle and bustle of the...

4 Saves
Robinson Flat Campground

27. Robinson Flat Campground

Robinson Flat Campground is surrounded by pine and fir, and adjacent to a beautiful meadow and stream. The campground is winding and narrow, and...

3 Saves
Findley Campground

28. Findley Campground

Throw your tent down at Findley Campground and get rollin’, cause this is the perfect base to explore all that the Tahoe National Forest has to...

3 Saves
Cottonwood Creek Campground

29. Cottonwood Creek Campground

Skip the crowds and enjoy some privacy at Cottonwood Creek Campground. This camp is a great locale to base up if you want to pass on the hoopla of...

3 Saves
Lower Little Truckee Campground

30. Lower Little Truckee Campground

Judging by the name you might be led to believe this campground is tiny, but there is no shortage of outdoorsy fun to be had here. Many people come...

3 Saves
Boca Campground

31. Boca Campground

Nestled between a forest of pine trees and the Boca Reservoir, the Boca Campground offers plenty for the adventurous spirit. They have it all...

3 Saves
Emigrant Group Campground

32. Emigrant Group Campground

Wanna host a family reunion, a yoga retreat, all of the above? Whether you want to play camp games and picnic with your fam or “ohm” until you once...

3 Saves
Lewis Campground

33. Lewis Campground

Attention water pigmies: Lewis Campground is located on the French Meadows Reservoir, providing ample water-related activities to satisfy your...

Agnes
Agnes: Not impressed. River almost dried up. Walk to paved road, ends in ONE hiking trail;no maps of other trails seen. Very basic...
3 Saves
Canyon Creek Campground

34. Canyon Creek Campground

Canyon Creek Campground sits in a mixed conifer forest on the creek below Faucherie Reservoir. This remote campground can only be reached by a...

3 Saves
Logger Campground

35. Logger Campground

A weekend getaway is calling. Leave your work woes at home and head to Logger Campground. Right on the shore of Stampede Reservoir, Logger...

3 Saves
Jackson Point Boat In Campground

36. Jackson Point Boat In Campground

You can only reach this campground by boat! Jackson Point Boat In Campground is on the east side of Jackson Meadow Reservoir, about half a mile...

3 Saves
Union Flat Campground

37. Union Flat Campground

Ever romanticized about being a gold miner in the wild west, but then became overwhelmed with sadness because those times are long gone? Don’t be...

2 Saves
Carlton Flat Campground

38. Carlton Flat Campground

Tucked away in a forest of towering cedar, ponderosa pine and oak trees, standing at the heart of Carlton Flat Campground will make even the...

2 Saves
Boca Rest Campground

39. Boca Rest Campground

Outdoor enthusiasts, gather your non-enthusiast friends because it’s conversion time. We’re going to Boca Rest Campground. This is where your...

2 Saves
Upper Little Truckee Campground

40. Upper Little Truckee Campground

Location, location, location. Upper Truckee Campground puts you at the center of the best that Tahoe National Forest has to offer--fishing that...

2 Saves
Onion Valley Campground

41. Onion Valley Campground

Onion Valley Campground sits near a creek in a remote meadow. The campground is surrounded by cedar, pine, and fir. There is no water here, so...

2 Saves
Meadow Lake Campground

42. Meadow Lake Campground

100% Recommend (3 Responses)

Meadow Lake Campground sits near the shores of the lake. Buckle up! The road getting in is pretty rough and not accessible for large trailers and...

2 Saves
Snag Lake Campground

43. Snag Lake Campground

Snag Lake Campground sits in a beautiful region with many high-elevation lakes, and rugged landscape of forest, rock outcroppings and granite...

Cindy
Cindy: If you can find a spot to put your tent you can camp and its free! Great little spot when every other place in Downieville is...
2 Saves
Jackson Creek Campground

44. Jackson Creek Campground

Jackson Creek Campground is in a remote spot that can only be reached on a rocky and winding road. The campground sits at an elevation of 5600 feet...

Charise
Charise: The road is narrow and parts are washed out. I would advise 4WD .
2 Saves
Berger Campground

45. Berger Campground

Located in the Packer Lake area near the Sierra Buttes, Berger Campground gives you access to enough outdoor activities to get you through at least...

2 Saves
Pass Creek Campground

46. Pass Creek Campground

Posted up amongst a dense front of pine and fir trees, Pass Creek Campground’s other claim to fame is its variety of water activities on the...

2 Saves
Boca Springs Campground

47. Boca Springs Campground

Tucked away in a forest of Jeffrey Pine and fir trees, Boca Springs Campground offers a secluded stay to visitors of Boca Reservoir. Just one mile...

1 Save
Prosser Family Campground

48. Prosser Family Campground

Residents of Truckee, California have it good--within 30 minutes in any direction there are loads of amazing campgrounds, and Prosser Family...

1 Save
Granite Flat Campground

49. Granite Flat Campground

17 minutes from Lake Tahoe. Need we say more? Surely we don’t, surely you’ve stopped reading and are clicking “check availability,” but just incase...

1 Save
Coyote Group Campground

50. Coyote Group Campground

Pack the baguettes for your trip to Coyote Group Camp Campground, located on the northeast shore of French Meadows Reservoir. With sites for RV or...

1 Save
Tunnel Mills Group Campground

51. Tunnel Mills Group Campground

Ready to party down and tent it up in a pristine location with all your best buds? Then head over to Tunnel Mills Group Campground, where the...

1 Save
Sierra Campground

52. Sierra Campground

It’ll be too easy to take a load off at tent-only Sierra Campground. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a PCT hiker, Sierra has a riverview site...

1 Save
Boyington Mill Campground

53. Boyington Mill Campground

Solar powered campers, harken here! This little campground is a prime place to face your panels to the south and soak in the sun’s energy. With...

John
John: Nothing wrong with this campground...certainly beats paying summer rates at Tahoe hotels. It's about 30 minutes to Kings...
1 Save
Woodchuck Campground

54. Woodchuck Campground

Woodchuck Campground sits near the banks of Rattlesnake Creek in a mixed conifer forest. This campground is remote and serene, with off-highway...

Tasha
Tasha: We have been camping up here for years (I mean like 20+ years). To me it's only 1 group site...but I guess more then the group...
1 Save
Woodcamp Campground

55. Woodcamp Campground

For those that prefer the left coast in everything they do, Woodcamp Campground brings laid back vibes from just west of the Jackson Meadow...

1 Save
Prosser Ranch Group Campground

56. Prosser Ranch Group Campground

Set upon a sage and pine covered hilltop overlooking Prosser Reservoir, Prosser Ranch Group Campground can accommodate tribes as large as 50 with...

1 Save
Goose Meadow Campground

57. Goose Meadow Campground

Just some good, old-fashioned family fun. That’s what you’re in for at Goose Meadow Campground on the banks above the Truckee River. Tubing and...

Ahart Campground

58. Ahart Campground

Ahart Campground sits on the banks of the Middle American River near French Meadows Reservoir. Bear proof food boxes are available here. Make sure...

Fir Top Campground

59. Fir Top Campground

"Get your lakeside game on at Fir Top Campground, nestled along the glassy Jackson Meadow Reservoir. This is the perfect base camp for all those...

Lindsey Lake Campground

60. Lindsey Lake Campground

Wanna spend a few days in fresh mountain air, taking long peaceful hikes, splashing around in the water, and living off the fish you catch...

Justin
Justin: Road is definitely rough getting in - SUV or Truck would be your best option. Don't recommend driving in via car. TONS of...
Skillman Horse Campground

61. Skillman Horse Campground

Skillman Horse Campground caters especially to those with horses. No surprise there. If you don’t have any horses you can still enjoy this...

Laura
Laura: I stayed here recently with a large group. No horses but a few dogs to round out the gang! This is a great campground for large...
Talbot Campground

62. Talbot Campground

Talbot Campground sits near French Meadows Reservoir, the Middle Fork of the American River, and Talbot Creek at an elevation of 5600 feet. There...

Silver Tip Group Campground

63. Silver Tip Group Campground

It’s not size that matters… well sometimes it does. So should you and 25 of your camp enthused besties want a place to pow wow, Silver Tip Group...

Aspen Group Camp

64. Aspen Group Camp

Let us ease you into the awesomeness that Aspen Group Campground has to offer with a few self-reflecting questions. Looking for an exceptional view...

East Meadow Campground

65. East Meadow Campground

Sitting on the northeast shore of Jackson Meadow Reservoir, East Meadow Campground is embarrassment of riches when it comes to pine and fir trees....

Big Bend Group Campground

66. Big Bend Group Campground

Big Bend Group Campground offers two group sites for up to 25 people each. Reserve one and spend your day fishing on the South Yuba River with your...

Cold Creek Campground

67. Cold Creek Campground

If rainbow trout fishing is your paradise, Cold Creek Campground is the spot for you. Situated among pines, firs, willows, and aspens, this shady...

Yuba Pass Campground

68. Yuba Pass Campground

Now we ain’t sayin’ you’re a gold digger…but you can do some gold panning if you are into that when you crash at Yuba Pass Campground. That’s...

Packsaddle Campground

69. Packsaddle Campground

Prepare your eyeballs. This is going to be one visually astounding camping trip. Packsaddle Campground is literally packed with unbelievable views....

Sagehen Creek Campground

70. Sagehen Creek Campground

Sagehen Creek Campground sits on the banks of the creek adjacent to a meadow. The campground is shaded by lodgepole pine. The rough roads are not...

Bowman Campground

71. Bowman Campground

Bowman Campground is located on the banks of beautiful Bowman Lake, surrounded by a rugged landscape of rocky cliffs and scattered pine. This is a...

Sara
Sara: This place definitely takes some effort to get to. Stayed here overnight with my friend and our dogs. 4 wheel drive and high...
Diablo Campground

72. Diablo Campground

Introducing the Sierra Buttes, a mountain range that really needs no introduction. In Diablo Campground, you’ll be up close and personal with these...

Loganville Campground

73. Loganville Campground

Loganville Campground offers a wide range of fun outdoor activities, most notably all the fun to be had in the nearby North Yuba River. But what...

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22 Reviews

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Drop some Tahoe knowledge on us.
Hipcamper A
A

The Placer Big Trees is a grove of sequoias with trees named after famous Americans, located next to none other than the American River. It’s designated as a Botanical Special Interest Area and is a must visit!

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Hipcamper A
A

Granite Chiefs Wilderness is the little brother to its renowned neighbor, Desolation Wilderness, and is definitely worth checking out for a day hike or a backpacking trip.

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Hipcamper Tasha

We have been camping up here for years (I mean like 20+ years). To me it's only 1 group site...but I guess more then the group could fit. The road is REALLY rough though! Not great for cars (but they do make it up).

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Hipcamper Charise

The road is narrow and parts are washed out. I would advise 4WD .

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Hipcamper Cindy

If you can find a spot to put your tent you can camp and its free! Great little spot when every other place in Downieville is filled up.

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Hipcamper Mary

Ramshorn is an absolutely incredible place to check out if you're into mountain biking! Downieville is 5 and a half miles down the road and has some of the most incredible downhill biking in California (I think!). Yuba Expeditions in Downieville has a great staff and a shuttle to take you up the hill so you can zoom down.

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Hipcamper Mark

We stayed here a couple of weeks ago, love the campground, the river runs along many of the sites, and there is a nice beach and swimming area near site #1. We showed up without reservations hoping that since school started they would have an open space, just barely, we took the last one and that was first thing Friday Morning. It's a popular campground so book your reservations at www.recreation.gov. There are a lot of good sites to pick, we have our favorites, but depending on whether you want a quiet tucked back site, an open site by the river, or share space with fellow campers, the campground has what your looking for. And Pete the campground host was very helpful and welcoming.

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Hipcamper A
A

There are historical lookout towers that are up for rental; currently it seems the only one available is the Calpine Lookout, but two others are being renovated.

Hipcamper A
A

See the history behind the town of Boca in Boca Historic Townsite Interpretive trail. A former railroad construction camp, the town became a mill and brewery, AKA really awesome and worth checking out.

Hipcamper A
A

Best cross country skiing is in the Royal Gorge!

Hipcamper Tara

There are so many lakes to explore. We spoke to some regulars up there and they recommended Salmon Lake and Long Lake. This is a great spot for families with kids. Creeks to walk through, lakes to swim in and rocks to climb. Lake Tahoe without the crowds. :)

Hipcamper Agnes

Not impressed. River almost dried up. Walk to paved road, ends in ONE hiking trail;no maps of other trails seen. Very basic campground. Google led us on a terrible bumpy fire road from Truckee to here that was NOT for cars! Have to drive for more hiking.

Hipcamper Laura

I stayed here recently with a large group. No horses but a few dogs to round out the gang! This is a great campground for large groups as the sites are spaced far apart. Only non-potable water available during our stay. Drop toilets only.

Hipcamper Justin

Road is definitely rough getting in - SUV or Truck would be your best option. Don't recommend driving in via car.

TONS of yellow jackets buzzing all over. Be careful.

Lake is gorgeous!

Hipcamper Sara

This place definitely takes some effort to get to. Stayed here overnight with my friend and our dogs. 4 wheel drive and high clearance are a must to make it the last 5 miles. Didn't see anyone else camping and only a few cars passed on the "main road" during our entire stay. Quiet and off the grid for sure!

Hipcamper Patrick

Be aware that certain sites have very loud freeway noise from I-80. Generally, the sites by the River and further from I-80 are quieter. If you have an RV, the noise is bearable, but with a tent there's less soundproofing.

Hipcamper Samara

"A bit of noise from the nearby road?" Seriously, Highway 80 is louder than my obnoxious apartment neighbors. Incessant roar all night, punctuated with occasional train racket (with whistle). Not my idea of a peaceful weekend.

That said, the swimming hole and waterfalls are really special and the campground is decent and not crowded, even on Labor Day weekend. Site #9 was private and prettier than a lot of the others, though near the road (not that it matters--it's deafening everywhere).

There are amazing hikes nearby, so if you can stand the noise it's totally worth it. We lit a fire, put on some tunes, opened a bottle of wine, and felt glad our laughter was drowned out by semis. For a night of rest, be sure to bring good earplugs.

Hipcamper Troy

Yuba Pass campground is located very close to Sardine Lake and has 20 campsites among large pine trees. Only a handful of sites would accommodate very large rigs, however, most will take your average trailer or camper.

Amenities & Services include:
Biking
Bird Watching
Comfort Station
Cross Country Skiing
Firewood Available
Fishing
Hiking
Restrooms (vault)
Wildlife Watching
Season: Reservations: July through Sep 6.

Yuba Pass Campground Best Campsites: 6 and 12.

LOCATION – DIRECTIONS
Yuba Pass Campground
Sierraville CA 96126
530 862-1368

11 miles south of Sierraville on HWY 49. Turn left at snow park entrance. Campground located approximately mile on right hand side.

Hipcamper John

Nothing wrong with this campground...certainly beats paying summer rates at Tahoe hotels. It's about 30 minutes to Kings Beach!

The campsite is sandwiched between the road and the river, neither of which are too loud. Fellow campers were respectful of one-another, despite very few distinctions between sites. Flat tentsites, but most people had RVs. Accessible by any car (our MINI did fine).

This is definitely a site geared more towards RVs and people wanting to explore the nearby OHV trails on 4wheelers and dirtbikes. I'm sure it could get rowdy, but our time there was pleasant.

Suggestion: If you drive up the road 1/2 mile and park at the trailhead, you can get a nice spot along the river all to yourself after a 5 minute hike.

Hipcamper Melinda

Highly recommend this campground, make a reservation!! Don't miss Upper Sardine Lake or the hike to the Fire Lookout for incredible views.

Hipcamper Peter

Go in July on a dry year and August on a wet year for floating

History of Tahoe National Forest

Transportation routes and development are major factors in the cultural history of the Tahoe National Forest. To some people, the history of the area begins with the wagons of pioneer emigrants, crossing Donner Pass on their way to California. However, human use and occupancy of what is now the Tahoe National Forest goes back many thousands of years. Peoples of the Washoe and Nisenan tribes and their predecessors utilized these lands for food, water, and recreation. Many of the routes we travel today across the Forest have been used for thousands of years.

The first large influx of emigrants from the United States came into the area began in the 1840s, crossing the mountains in covered wagons toward a better life in Mexican California. Donner Pass, the main emigrant route, was named after the ill-fated Donner Party, who wintered in 1846-47 at camps near the present day Truckee.

The Gold Rush of 1849 resulted in a veritable flood of emigrants seeking their fortunes in California, and many of them prospected the lands of the Tahoe. Many of the foothill towns, such as Foresthill, Nevada City, Downieville, Sierra City, and others, date from Gold Rush days, and there are many reminders of those times throughout the Forest. All historic and archaeological sites are protected under federal and state law.

Between 1862 and 1868, the western portion of the first transcontinental railroad was constructed over the Sierra Nevada at Donner Pass by the Central Pacific Railroad, meeting the tracks of the Union Pacific on May 10, 1869, at Promontory Point Utah. The trans-Sierra route remains a remarkable engineering feat, with roadbed built into granite walls, bridges that cross deep gorges, and tracks that pass through a series of tunnels and snow sheds as they cross the mountains. This rail link with the rest of the United States enabled gold and agricultural products from California to be easily shipped east, as well as bringing manufactured goods and even more settlers west, which fueled the rapid growth of the Golden State. Products such as lumber, agricultural goods, automobiles, imports from overseas and products destined for export continue to be shipped over this route today.
The rugged beauty of this route makes it one of the most scenic passenger routes in the United States, and the towns of Truckee and Colfax have Amtrak stops adjacent to the National Forest. Today's Interstate 80 is roughly parallel to the railroad, and travels the same basic route that people have taken for thousands of years.