Come winter, or even late fall for that matter, the Sierra Mountain range becomes an impenetrable wall of 14,000 foot peaks and snow depths of over 30 feet. There are only a couple year-round routes that cross the range and most of them are far north. One of those routes is 88, a beautiful stretch of scenic highway that reaches over 8,000 ft at times and scales avalanche-ridden slopes and high altitude lakes. It nudges up against Kirkwood Ski Resort before finally dumping you out 30 miles short of Lake Tahoe on Route 395.
Route 395 is the Eastern Flank’s version of Highway 49 (great link by the way) on the Western Flank of the Sierra. It meanders, climbs and twists by the Sierra range passing Mono Lake, June Lake, Convict Lake, Crowley Lake and Mammoth Lakes to name a few. The Upper Owens river snakes itself parralel to the highway and branches its veins throughout the high country’s plains. You can’t help but stretch your neck on the way home as you look out at Mt. Whitney (14,505 ft.) and its towering neighbors. Truly amazing.