"Guaranteed Solitude in Soda Springs, California" Soda Springs by karenincalifornia

Soda Springs Travel Guide: 22 reviews and 24 photos

Another Fabulous Weekend in the Sierras

Soda Springs, California is one of my favorite weekend getaway destinations when I want to run away from the rat race of city life. It is close enough to the Bay Area to be a relatively easy drive, yet far enough away to be isolated and unspoiled.

This pristine location does not attract tourists because the area has limited promotion. Most Bay Area vacationers bypass this area as they fly along the I-80 on their way to more glamorous haunts on Lake Tahoe. The lack of promotion and limited facilities translate into lack of crowds and peaceful solitude.

The Soda Springs area is unpretentious and feels like a throwback to the 50s. Although it is only 30 minutes from Lake Tahoe, it has none of the glitz and glamour of South Lake Tahoe. Accommodations and facilities are rustic and sparse. Even the ski areas are decidedly low-key.

January 2004 -- The Sierra Nevada mountain range in California is awesome this winter. The November, December and January storms have dumped an incredible amount of snow in the mountains. Winter sports and activities are at their best!

March 2004 -- March has been unseasonably warm in Northern California. At Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, temps reached 60 degrees F, with sunny skies every day. Snow was bordering on slush but did we care? No! With the warm sunny days and lack of crowds, the weekend was made for sun and speed! There is still a LOT of snow -- waterfalls and rivers will be running at full force in late spring/early summer.

June 2004 -- -- This area is also a perfect location for summer activities -- white water rafting, kayaking, mountain biking, mountain climbing, hiking, and golf are all available in the area. In mid-June, the last patches of snow were melting, days were balmy, and nights were bit chilly. Wildflowers are abundant. The area is serene and quiet.

No shortage of snow in January 2004

Soda Springs is located in a snow belt near the top of the western flank of a mountain range near Donner Summit. Due to its location, it gets pounded by the snow storms just before the storms move on to Lake Tahoe. As of January 2004, the base coverage was 7 to 14 feet of snow.

A Favorite Spot for a Weekend Trip

Only 2-1/2 hours from the San Francisco Bay Area, Soda Springs is the perfect getaway for a weekend, or an entire week. Soda Springs has remained unspoiled by commercialization and the area is never crowded. It sits at a 7,500 foot elevation, which means more snow, a longer winter, and slightly cooler temperatures than Lake Tahoe.

As for summer, the high elevation means balmy days. High temperatures usually do not exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Uncrowded, great location for winter and summer activities
  • Cons:Bad cell coverage by Serene Lakes
  • In a nutshell:Each time I leave this place, I am already planning my next return trip.
  • Last visit to Soda Springs: Jun 2004
  • Intro Updated Jun 14, 2004
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Reviews (21)

Comments (14)

  • Jun 5, 2008 at 11:11 AM

    I am looking for wonderful lodging in Serene Lakes that will allow us to bring our dogs. We will visit the area Aug 5-9. Any ideas?

  • Sininen's Profile Photo
    Jan 17, 2006 at 11:25 AM

    Hi Karen Are you sure that these photos are taken in California? Looks very much like Finland! Great tips and beautiful photos. Sini

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jan 17, 2006 at 11:13 AM

    Fine photos from all seasons, with masses of snow in the winter ones. I shoveled snow this morning, but now it has already melted. Typical for here.

  • Agraichen's Profile Photo
    Jan 14, 2006 at 10:53 PM

    Favoite memories of Soda Springs.....25 ft of snow when looking for a summer place in Jan, and a parking ticket when skiing as my car was "not far enough into the snow bank"...lol...Still it is a wonderful and still quaint part of "Tahoe"

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Jan 14, 2006 at 10:43 PM

    Too bad I have not been in Soda Springs whilst I was in Davis ! That does seem a very pleasant place !

  • keida84's Profile Photo
    Feb 8, 2005 at 12:00 PM

    Karen, Hello from CentralCA. You have a wonderful style of writing, humorous, delightful. Is Soda Springs near Camp Nelson? Cheers, Kat

  • jamiesno's Profile Photo
    Dec 17, 2004 at 10:42 AM

    What a great opening picture!!! You got to love it when you find a place like this not everyone flocks too. I find Kananaskis Alberta another great example of the phenomenon :-)

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Nov 24, 2004 at 9:49 PM

    Karen, that intro photo is stunning. This place looks incredible. You always do quality work, and it's a joy to read your pages.

  • 850prc's Profile Photo
    Jul 15, 2004 at 9:40 AM

    Looks like the perfect get-away destination, Karen. Another lovely page.

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Jun 14, 2004 at 4:21 PM

    Any boarding style is 'goofy' ;-\ Cell phone coverage doesn't matter though, since corgis are not allowed to have cell phones. I also like the Californian version of 'relatively close' :-}}


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