Truckee, Nevada County, CA
Distance from SF: 184 miles by car; three hours, three minutes
Yes, this is the lake where those peeps ate each other in the 1840s. No, no one eats each other there anymore. We think. A large lake to the northwest of North Lake Tahoe, Donner has boating, fishing, hiking, climbing, and spectacular/challenging high-altitude cycling to the top of the summit. The large campsite accommodates many summer visitors, and rentals are plentiful in the area. Plus: Truckee is basically attached to the lake and, get this, reachable by a long (almost eight hours!), but scenic Amtrak ride from the Bay Area. Who knew? Pro tip: hit Truckee after you're done at the lake, pull up a stool at Casa Baeza, and order a classic Paloma (tequila, lime, Squirt), which'll come in a badass, salt-rimmed clay pot.
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Ksenya Gusak works in Product for an analytics and advertising company, and likes long-distance hiking, bike touring, and making planning spreadsheets. She lives by "GPX or it didn't happen," so you can find the record of her miles on the trail and hill summits on Strava and Instagram @ksenycat.