How To Get In Reno

By car
From Northern California

As both Reno and the Sierra Nevada are popular weekend destinations for Northern Californians, traffic can be bad coming to Reno on Friday evening, and leaving Reno on Sunday evening, especially in the ski season.

The most direct route to Reno from Sacramento is via Interstate 80 over Donner Summit (7239 feet or 2206 m). This route sees a great deal of snowfall during the winter, and will shut down for periods of up to a day several times during a typical winter. Northern California residents also use U.S. 395 in Susanville, this highway stays at a lower elevation and has less problems of traffic and weather. Residents living in the Redding and Chico areas of California find this route safer and quicker. If you plan on crossing this or any other pass in the Sierra Nevada in the winter, keep an eye on the weather forecast, and always carry tire chains if you do not have four-wheel drive.

An alternative route is US 50 over Echo Summit (7330 feet). This route follows the American River up from the Sacramento valley, and then drops into the Lake Tahoe Basin. From there you can continue on US 50 into Carson City, and from there head north to Reno on US 395, or continue around the lake to Incline Village and drop into Reno on the Mount Rose Highway. This route is two lanes only for much of the way, and traffic can be heavy both in the winter and the summer, and winter maintenance is not as good as on Interstate 80.

Passes across the Sierra south of US 50, aside from CA 88, are not maintained in the winter (from approximately November until May.) And when they are open they are out of the way and potentially dangerous.
From Southern California

The most direct route to Reno is via US 395. This route takes you up the Owens Valley to Bishop, past Mammoth Springs, into Carson City and thence to Reno. The portion between Bishop and Carson City crosses three passes as high as 8,143’/2,482m that may have moderately heavy snowfall during winter storms. In that event it would be better to take U.S. 6 from Bishop over Montgomery Pass to U.S. 95 (north) which stays in much lower valleys with less snow. At Schurz beyond Walker Lake take 95(Alt) north to Fernley, then I-80 west to Reno.
From Las Vegas

Don’t be fooled by the fact that Las Vegas and Reno are in the same state – there’s about 9 hours of driving time separating them. Take US 95 north to Fallon, US 50 west to Fernley, and Interstate 80 west to Reno. If you’re not a fan of desert landscapes, boredom is a serious risk on this trip. Winter weather will generally not be a large problem on this trip, but don’t count on being able to find food or fuel outside the major towns (Beatty, Tonopah, Hawthorne, Fallon and Fernley)

During the summer the heat along US 95 can be hard on you and on your vehicle. A much more comfortable alternative to cooking in your car is to drive during the night. Many of the dark stretches between the small towns along US 95 reveal numerous shooting stars and other astral phenomenon that you might miss during the baking sun. Be sure to have a lot of rest before undertaking this trip.
From the East

The most traveled route to Reno from the east is Interstate 80. Interstate 80 follows the old Emigrant trail along the Humboldt river for most of the way across Nevada, and thus the grades are generally easy. However, it does this at the expense of swinging well north of the direct route to Reno. US 50 (“”The Loneliest Highway in America””) is more direct, but it crosses several large mountain ranges and thus has some tight curves, steep grades and a few switchbacks. Don’t count on finding food or fuel along US 50 outside of the major towns (Ely, Eureka, Austin, Fallon and Fernley).
By train

The California Zephyr, which runs between Emeryville and Chicago, stops once a day in both directions in Reno. The station is full service, including an indoor waiting room and checked bag service. The station is located in the middle of downtown Reno, and is within walking distance of all the downtown casinos.

Amtrak California also operates a shuttle buses between Reno and Sacramento which connects to the Capitol Corridor, serving Northern California, and the San Joaquins, serving the Central Valley and points south, rail routes.
By bus

Long distance bus transit in the state is mostly only along the I 80 corridor. Greyhound maintains a depot in Reno and buses go daily to and from Northern California and Chicago and points east.

There are buses between Reno and Carson City that are operated by NDOT and the Washoe County Regional Transportation Commission.
By plane

The Reno-Tahoe International Airport is served by most major domestic airlines, including Alaska, American, Continental, Delta, Southwest, United, and US Airways. For the lowest fares, try to avoid flying into Reno on Friday, and out of Reno on Sunday. Northwest and Frontier have ceased operation in Reno. Southwest Airlines features Non-stop service to Chicago(Midway), Portland, Las Vegas, Oakland, San Jose, San Diego and Salt Lake City.

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