If you’re heading to Truckee for a day trip or simply stopping on your way to Reno, Truckee has something fun for everyone. Just north of Lake Tahoe in the High Sierras, Truckee, CA is a small mountain town with big energy that is loaded with plenty of things to do, including hidden gems and outdoor activities.
The Truckee area was originally inhabited by the Washoe, Maidu and Paiute tribes, and then later by miners and settlers in the later 1860s. Truckee grew into a bustling mining town with plenty of wealth, excitement and debauchery to go around during the gold and silver rushes.
Today, Truckee is full of great outdoor activities, food, shopping, art and numerous other things to do.
A snow-capped wonderland, the possibilities of things to do in Truckee CA in winter are almost endless. With so many winter activities, your biggest problem will be figuring out how to fit them all into your stay.
There are several world-class ski resorts just a short drive from Truckee, including Northstar California Resort, Sugar Bowl Resort, Soda Springs Mountain Resort, Donner Ski Ranch and Boreal that will have skiers and snowboarders alike wishing they could buy season passes to all of them.
For beginners, check out Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort, which offers beginner-friendly runs and skiing lessons.
Cross country skiing enthusiasts will love Tahoe Donner, Royal Gorge and Boreal ski areas.
Skiing and snowboarding aren’t the only winter sports in Truckee worth trying. Northstar California Resort offers snowshoeing and fat-tire snow biking, along with shopping and food. Tubing lovers will love Donner Ski Ranch and Tahoe Donner Snowplay, which offer tubes and other snow toys for their snow tubing hills.
Ice skating enthusiasts will love the Northstar Village Ice Skating Rink and Truckee Ice Rink.
The sight of towering pine trees and the majestic peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains surrounding Truckee, along with the tranquil waters of nearby Donner Lake, can make an outdoor enthusiast out of anyone.
With many outdoor activities, from hiking to kayaking to sightseeing and more, there seems to be an endless array of things to do in Truckee in the summer. After your outdoor adventure, be sure to grab a beer or a bite at Truckee’s best restaurants and breweries.
Learn more about the history of the area at Donner Memorial State Park. This area used to be covered in glaciers which have left behind impressive valleys and huge boulder deposits. The area is perfect for hiking or simply stretching your legs on the drive to Reno.
While you’re there, stop into the Visitor Center, home to exhibits detailing the area’s history, including the Donner Party, railroad construction and the Emigrant Gap.
Sawmill Lake is located about 30 minutes south of Truckee and about eight miles from Northstar California Ski Resort.
Less crowded than Lake Tahoe, Sawmill Lake is a great spot to cast a line and try your luck catching rainbow trout or brown trout. Fishing is limited at the lake so reservations for catch and release fishing should be made in advance.
Donner Summit Bridge, also called Rainbow Bridge, is located about 15 minutes west of Historic Downtown Truckee on Donner Summit and offers sweeping mountain views. Explore the area and you might just find the petroglyphs located between the bridge and the China Wall. This petroglyph site is home to more than 200 carvings.
Craving an adrenaline rush? Embark on a whitewater rafting or kayaking adventure down the Truckee River with one of the several tour companies in the area. Tahoe Whitewater Tours and Sierra Adventures offer rafting and kayaking tours along several stretches of the river so you can choose your level of adventure based on comfort and experience.
Some favorite sections include Boca Run, popular with rafters, or Truckee River Granite Chief Run, a section perfect for inflatable river kayaks.
Fuel up and quench your thirst after a day in the outdoors at one of Truckee’s many delicious restaurants.
From breweries to trendy eats, Truckee restaurants and breweries have what it takes to satisfy your adventurous appetite.
Truckee Tavern and Grill serves up American eats and craft cocktails in a rustic but trendy setting. Reservations are strongly encouraged.
FiftyFifty Brewing Co. is a microbrewery offering a large selection of beers from pilsners to stouts, so everyone is sure to find something they love here. Enjoy fresh local beer, pub eats and craft cocktails all in one place.
Located in Historic Downtown Truckee, Truckee Brewing Company brews craft beer that is sure to quench your thirst after a long day of outdoor fun. From ales to IPAs and more, Truckee Brewing Company can satisfy the tastes of any beer enthusiast.
Truckee offers great shopping for clothing, gifts, locally-made art and more. With so much shopping, you’re sure to find something for yourself and for those back home.
Looking for your next favorite hoodie or beanie? Find great clothing with nods to Truckee and Tahoe at California 89, located on Donner Pass Road.
Take your recipes to the next level with goods from Tahoe Oil and Spice. Offering specialty olive oils, balsamic vinegars, spice blends and more, Tahoe Oil and Spice is a great place to find gifts or a treat for yourself.
Whatever you’re into, Truckee has what you’re looking for. We hope you try out some of our favorite things to do in Truckee CA.
Can’t get enough of Reno Tahoe? Luckily Reno, Truckee and Lake Tahoe are all within a short drive of each other, so you can plan a stellar day trip to all of them to maximize your adventure. Don’t forget to post it and tag #RenoTahoe so we can see it!
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