10 Worthy Pit Stops on the Road to Tahoe
Horsetail Falls, in El Dorado National Forest in Placerville, is a great spot to get in a quick hike on the road to South Lake Tahoe. (David O'Bryan, Alltrails)

10 Worthy Pit Stops on the Road to Tahoe


Headed to Lake Tahoe for a weekend escape? Don't let the drive—and inevitable traffic—get you down.

Whether you're headed to the North or South Shore, break up the journey from the Bay Area with stops at a candy factory, winery, 24-hour arboretum, and more.

Happy travels!

Boa Vista Orchards, Placerville

Apple Hill Orchards is open year-round, selling apples, Asian pears, berries, peaches, and plums depending on the season. Stock up on jams, hard cider, apple cider donuts, gourmet olives, pies and more from the farm stand while taking in views of the acres of fruit trees. In the fall, visit their u-pick pumpkin patch. // 2952 Carson Rd. (Placerville), boavista.com

Jelly Belly Candy Company, Fairfield

Get your sugar fix at the Jelly Belly Candy Company headquarters where you can take a self-guided factory tour ($5 for adults, $2 for kids), browse a gallery of art made entirely of jelly beans, and stock up on beans of every flavor imaginable. // 1 Jelly Belly Ln. (Fairfield), jellybelly.com

Lake Natoma, Folsom

Located just off Highway 50 in Folsom, Lake Natoma is a great spot to stretch your legs or take a quick dip before continuing the drive. The lake was created when the Nimbus Dam was constructed across the American River. // recreation.gov

Yankee Jim's Bridge, Colfax

Cool off with a dip in the teal waters of the North Fork of the American River under Yankee Jim's Bridge. Exit Interstate 80 toward Colfax and make your way to Yankee Jim's Road, which is best suited for SUVs that can handle the bumpy ride to the bridge. The clear water, large rocks, and sandy beaches underneath make the detour a must-see. // alltrails.com

Cafeteria 15L, Sacramento

America's self-proclaimed "Farm-to-Fork Capital," Sacramento is home to an array of restaurants that take pride in utilizing seasonal produce from the region. Cafeteria 15L offers comfort food with a twist. Stop to enjoy buttermilk fried chicken strips with Thai chili sauce and truffle tater tots before getting back on the road. // 1116 15th St. (Sacramento), cafeteria15l.com

U.C. Davis Arboretum, Davis

The arboretum at U.C. Davis is home to 100 acres of beautiful gardens. Walk through groves of redwoods, oaks and acacia, or discover plants from Mexico, Australia, and East Asia. Added bonus: It's free and open 24 hours a day. // U.C. Davis campus, 448 La Rue Road (Davis), arboretum.ucdavis.edu

Boeger Winery, Placerville

Boeger was the first winery to open in El Dorado County after Prohibition, and over the years, the family-run vineyard has continued to produce award-winning wines in the Sierra Foothills. Pop into the tasting room on the historic property to grab bottles of barbera, tempranillo and primitivo to enjoy lakeside. // 1709 Carson Rd. (Placerville), boegerwinery.com

Ikeda's California Country Market, Auburn

Every morning at 4am, Sally Ikeda and her team start baking pies the same way she's been making them for over 30 years. Enjoy a slice of fruit pie—apple, marionberry, peach, blueberry, razzleberry, cherry and banana, to name a few—or buy a whole one to dive into later. Plus, while you're there, be sure to grab a massive burger for lunch or some fresh produce if you're feeling healthy. // 13500 Lincoln Way (Auburn) and 26295 Mace Blvd (Davis), ikedas.com

Donner Pass Road, Truckee

Take the scenic detour to the North Shore by forgoing Interstate 80 for Donner Pass Road. Enjoy beautiful views of the mountains and Donner Lake with plenty of opportunities to stop and snap pictures.

Horsetail Falls, Twin Bridges

Hop off Highway 50 on your way to the South Shore for a short hike to the raging waterfall seen from the road, Horsetail Falls. Go as far as time allows along the 3.1-mile out and back trail along Pyramid Creek, taking in the towering granite peaks and views of the famous climbing wall Lovers Leap. // El Dorado National Forest (Placerville), tahoesouth.com

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