Coleville is holds a quiet spot near the California-Nevada border about halfway between Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Lakes. It's a popular destination for outdoor thrills and opportunities to chill. The favored activities include fishing, horseback riding, hiking, birdwatching, kayaking, cycling on back roads, fall color viewing, and ATV riding. In fact, Coleville hosts California's only all-terrain vehicle event in the state, the Eastern Sierra ATV Jamboree.
Kick back and listen in when locals tell their timeless tales of cowboys, ranch hands and life of the California settlers along the beautiful Walker River. It's the heartbeat of history and a way of life that still lingers.
Coleville is less than 250 miles from San Francisco. Take I-80 E toward Bay Bridge/Oakland and continue onto I-580 W/I-80 E for about 80 miles. Keep left at the fork to continue on I-80BL E/US-50 E/Capital City Fwy and follow signs for Interstate 80 Business/Sacramento/South Lake Tahoe. Five miles later continue on US-50 E/El Dorado Fwy. This part of the drive will take you through a gorgeous stretch of El Dorado National Forest.
Find a scenic overlook here if you need to stop and stretch your legs. Near the eastern edge of the forest, you’ll turn right onto CA-89 S and 11 miles later, left onto CA-88 E/CA-89 S. There are a few turns in quick succession coming up. You’ll enter Nevada and continue on NV-88 N for a few miles before making a right onto NV-756 E/Centerville Ln. Continue straight on Dresslerville Rd for just under 1.5 miles and then continue onto Riverview Dr before making a right onto US-395 S/US-395 N. That's your run all the way down past Topaz Lake and to Coleville
The Best Western Topaz Lake is over the state line in nearby Gardnerville, Nevada. This Eastern Sierras hotel is just off Highway 395, your main line to Coleville and the surrounding outdoors. It features a daily continental breakfast and fitness center, and guest rooms are hooked up with free Wi-Fi, cable TV, a microwave, fridge and coffee maker.
Meadowcliff Resort in Coleville is nestled against a gorgeous rock wall and serves up views of the Sierras. It is a simple joint but offers free WiFi, air-conditioned comfort, a seasonal outdoor pool and a barbecue. There also is an onsite restaurant.
The Toiyabe Motel in nearby Walker is straight-up charm from another era. Think old-school Route 66 lodging with a neon sign, and handcrafted wood carvings telling fish tales and stories of happy trails. Soak up the mountain views while you use the onsite barbecue, and enjoy the close proximity to enjoy trails, biking, fishing and sailboarding.
There's no secrets about what's coming off the grill at Walker Burger. Locals and passers-through alike dig this place as a must-eat when passing this way along the West Walker River. It's friendly, local and the rep for tasty burgers is more than well-deserved.
Mountain View Barbeque isn't shy about its portions or its flavor. It's another favorite in this little slice of the High Sierras, a genuine smokehouse that will have you licking sauce off your fingers and your shirt. Enjoy the mountain views from the picnic tables outdoors or step inside and belly up to the bar.
Meadowcliff Restaurant covers all your meals, if you really want to hang out like that, but the breakfast here especially flips our flapjacks. The food and the service with smile get top reviews here. Some even call it a necessity when in Coleville.
Topaz Lake Park is a beautiful spot for getting into the watery nature of the area. Take a dip or rev up a speed boat, grab a paddle or cast a line. The mountain surrounds make this high alpine lake a rare gem for views, and with rare car accessibility for such a sweet natural treat.
Travertine Hot Springs are an easy side trip south to Bridgeport. Only 37 miles from Coleville, these springs give you the chance to soak up relaxation in natural hot springs while surrounded by jaw-dropping mountain views. Make sure this stop is high on your must-do list.
Topaz Lodge Casino is the spot for trying your fortunes at scoring fistfuls of dollars while taking in the view of the High Sierras and Topaz Lake. The meal prices are insanely cheap, so grab a steak and a drink, and let the good luck roll.
Load up the packs and ride out into the High Sierras on horseback. The guides at JC High Country know how to handle the reins and the terrain. They will give you the outing of your life with fresh air, views from a saddle and a dose of the Western mountain man life.