June Lake in the eastern Sierra Nevadas is year-round playground for those who love the taste of the outdoors. There's top-notch trout fishing, hiking and climbing, lake action, and bumps and jumps on the slopes when winter settles in with its luscious pow. If engine revving thrills are your thing, locals break out the boats in summer and the snow mobiles in winter. When the day's run-and-gun is done, kickback with the mountain views and let the high life sweep over you.
June Lake is 315 miles of an arcing route east 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. When you reach Mono Lake, you're in the home stretch with only about 10 miles to go.
The June Lake Motel is in the heart of the region, giving you spacious comfort, local insights and all the comforts of home. Select rooms have equipped kitchenettes. There is an onsite laundromat. And the location sets you up for skiing, fishing, hiking in Yosemite National Park and dancing with ghosts in historic Bodie, all only minutes away. There are onsite BBQ facilities and the Wi-Fi flows freely.
The Heidelberg Inn serves up hot tub comforts and mountain views, along with the expected amenities and comforts. There's free Wi-Fi, satellite TV and air conditioning. And the Heidelberg Inn is within a half-hour of Yosemite Village, Lee Vining, Mono Lake and Mammoth Lakes besides, of course, the charming June Lake its part of.
The June Lake Villager is a top choice in the area, with its mountain cabin ambience, comfort and friendly staff. The location puts you within minutes of area lakes, the ski area and the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park. Some of the home-style rooms even have a fireplace and kitchen. There are BBQ facilities onsite and fish-cleaning stations for prepping the day's catch.
The Tiger Bar is the casual joint you want after a day's hard run. It's killer pub food, friendliness and vibe make it not only a great spot for fish and chips, brews and burritos but a great wind-down spot for the evening. If you're up for a plate that calls for some tools, the meatloaf and mashed potatoes slathered in gravy are worth a look -- or two. But no worries for the veggie lovers in your life. The Tiger Bar also is veg friendly, making it the all-family place to gather 'round the dinner table.
The June Lake Brewery is a hot spot for locals and passers-through in the know, alike. Parking can be an issue at peak lunch hour but make the effort and you'll be rewarded. This joint is about the tasty brews, but a food truck will hook you up with the eats, even bringing the food to you at the brewery. Dogs are welcome. Beer lovers, count this as a must-stop.
The Silver Lake Cafe is the breakfast spot you must hit. The omelets are huge, the pancakes are delicious, and the fried potatoes are worth the calories. You won't have to eat until dinner, and possibly not even then. The Silver Lake Cafe gets raves from locals and travelers from near and far, alike.
High Sierra Jeep Tours gets raves for not only its friendly staff but its in-depth knowledge of the region. Take a seat and let the scenes roll by, learning about the geology and and history or just admiring the jaw-dropping mountain views of the High Sierras. Well worth the half-day or full-day. You'll leave wanting to do it again.
June Mountain is prime adventure, especially in winter, when the skis and snowboards come out of the closet and carry whoops and smiles racing through the pow. There are lessons for kids and adults, terrain parks to slay and backcountry tours to tackle. In summer, take a hike and maybe play wedding crasher. The views are awesome and the slopes turn lush green.
Load 'em up and saddle up for a gorgeous horseback mountain ride, a taste of the cowboy life without the true-grit troubles. Frontier Pack Train has you covered, with all the know-how and hand-holding you might need. The crew is friendly and the experiences amazing.
Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve near Lee Vining lays out the outdoor life in spades. Rent kayaks or take canoe tours in summer. Join naturalist-led walk-and-talk sessions, like the one-hour walking tour of the world-famous South Tufa grove, in which you will learn about Mono Lake's million-year old ecosystem. Of course, you can venture on your own hike, too, or wet a line and breath easy while the sun sets in pink.
The Travertine Hot Springs in Bridgeport are an area favorite. If you love a hot soak, this is a must-do. The views can't be beat. You can drive to the first pools and, with a short hike, reach deeper into thermal bliss with the jagged Sawtooth Ridge stretched in front of you. Find the springs off Jack Sawyer Rd., east of town.