Staying in Colfax: Visiting Tahoe on a Budget

Downtown Historic Colfax

Recently, my boyfriend and I decided to visit squeeze in a few more days on the mountain in Tahoe before the end of the ski season. We opted to snowboard Sunday to Tuesday, hoping to avoid most of the weekend rush and crowd. Rather than driving up early Sunday (with a 3.5 hour drive, we would have had to depart San Francisco around 5am), we decided to drive most of the way Saturday and spend the night in Colfax, CA, which is only an hour away from Northstar Resort and Lake Tahoe.

The Town

Colfax is a small town right off of highway 80 – perfectly situated for those heading to North shore of Lake Tahoe. There’s a cute, historic downtown area with different shops and a small movie theater. We didn’t have time to check out the stores – we noticed there were several antique stores and would love to check them out next time.

Lodging Options

When looking at lodging options in the area, Airbnb (referral) was the clear winner. Because it was just my boyfriend and I, we opted for the private room option where you stay in a room in someone’s home. It was a lovely experience – though we didn’t get to meet our hosts, they were very friendly and great with communication. They even provided us with cookies and coffee cake as a welcome! We didn’t have access to the main kitchen, but we didn’t miss it at all with the sweetest coffee stand setup, a microwave and mini-fridge inside the room.


Sign leading us to the private entrance for the room.


Coffee stand in our room with sugar, cream, and the hosts’ secret hot chocolate mix.


Amazing morning view from the front porch.

Overall, we really enjoyed our stay – we’ll be keeping Colfax in mind when planning future Tahoe trips as well. In peak season, lodging in Tahoe can get booked up very quickly, leaving behind only pricier options. Especially for smaller groups or couples, weekend stays in Tahoe-based Airbnbs or VRBOs can run $75 – $100 per night, per person. For those last-minute weekends when we’d rather save than splurge, Colfax makes a great home base. Its proximity to the slopes gives it a leg up over other cities such as Sacramento or Roseville.

Conveniently Located Airbnbs (referral) in Colfax

Private Room & Bath Nestled in the Forest
Sleeps 2, starts at $49/nt. This is the airbnb we stayed in, pictured above. Because there’s no full kitchen access, we likely wouldn’t stay here for more than 2 or 3 days consecutively. Otherwise, it has all the essentials for a cozy overnight or weekend stay!

Hidden Gem Minutes to Lake & Slopes
Sleeps 2, starts at $52/nt. Another budget option for Colfax, this cozy RV has great reviews.

Cozy Cabin
Sleeps 6, starts at $139/nt. A larger option, this cozy cabin looks great for a group getaway.

Mongolian Yurt in Gold Country
Sleeps 8, starts at $145/nt. And for those looking for something unique, this Airbnb definitely fits the bill. In addition to the main yurt, there’s a mobile home that offers more beds and a place to cook – though the outdoor kitchen looks amazing!


The view going through Yuba Pass approaching Tahoe – never gets old!

And if you do decide to stay in Colfax, I’d highly recommend stopping by Ikeda’s in Auburn for pie – more on that here!

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