Does the thought of clear mountain lakes, national forest camping and the chance to play in an unforgettable northern California playground sound like the perfect vacation? If your answer is “Yes!” start planning now for an RV trip along the Yuba Donner Scenic Byway.
Your trailhead is in Truckee, California, just thirty miles from Reno, Nevada. All along this one hundred sixty mile Byway you’ll find magnificent scenery, exciting outdoor recreation and outstanding motorhome camping. Your entire itinerary is within the boundaries of the Tahoe National Forest, located in Northern California’s spectacular Sierra Nevadas.
Follow our quick guide below to planning your RV camping vacation along the Yuba Donner Scenic Byway.
Quick Guide to Planning Your Yuba Donner Scenic Byway Vacation
- How You’ll Go: Start your journey in Truckee, California and travel north on CA-89 to Sierraville, then head west on CA-49 past Sierra City and Downieville. Your next leg is south down to Nevada City, finishing the circle by traveling CA-20 then I-80 east through Soda Springs, making your way back to Truckee. You can drive the entire byway in about six hours, but there’s so much to do and see, you’ll want to plan time to stop, camp and play along the way.
- What You’ll See: This scenic byway roughly follows the route of the ill-fated Donner party, who spent a tragic winter here in 1846 when their wagon train was stranded by mountain snows. Take time to see the historic monuments and exhibits throughout this area to learn more about the stories of early pioneers as well as the California Gold Rush. One of our favorite side trips—Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park north of Nevada City.
- What to Do: Hundreds of lakes, an abundance of mountain streams and rivers and impossibly tall granite bluffs provide excellent opportunities for fishing, photography, wildlife viewing, paddling, hiking, boating and swimming all along the Byway. Stop wherever you want along your route and take advantage of all this national forest has to offer.
- Where to Camp: The National Forest Service website has detailed information on RV campgrounds within Tahoe National Forest, including nearby recreation opportunities. If you prefer private campgrounds, here are a couple of nearby RV parks to contact:
- When to Go: The entire route is paved and is open year-round (some passes may close due to snowfall.) The peak season is after the winter snows have passed in the higher elevations, usually May 1 to September 1. RV packing tip: You’re going to find a wide range of temperatures as you wind your way through the Sierra Nevadas, so pack clothes for cool nights and warm days.
- Where to Find an RV Rental: Here’s where we can help you plan the perfect vacation. With locations throughout California, it’s easy for you and your family to fly in, pick up a luxurious RV for your trip and head to Truckee. Click here to get started.
Get a jump on early summer RV travel this year by planning your trip to Yuba Donner Scenic Byway and Tahoe National Forest. Go for the history and natural beauty of the area and stay to enjoy a trip down a mountain river in a kayak, a visit to an historic mining town or a night spent camping in RV comfort, surrounded by breathtaking scenery.
This is the year to take the motorhome vacation your family’s been longing to enjoy. Northeastern California and the grandeur you’ll see along the Yuba Donner Scenic Byway are custom-made for making RV camping memories.