Truckee is located within a short drive of many destination ski resorts, world class mountain biking, and one of the most popular stretches of river in the Western United States – the South Fork of the American River. With more than 16,000 residents, Truckee Ca. is a self-sufficient town, but the influx of tourists add to its reputation as a ski town. The historic downtown district is home to boutiques and art galleries, intimate restaurants, and lively nightspots. Truckee maintains a healthy balance of activities well-suited for families, couples, or young people. From ice skating and s’mores at Northstar Resort to wine tasting or live music downtown, boredom remains at bay.
Why Truckee California is Different
Although it’s grown over the years, Truckee, California retains the historic, wild-west charm of its colorful past. A few miles from the west’s largest silver lode and a once booming logging industry, Truckee was one of the first areas homesteaded by settlers crossing the Sierras and a major stop on the Trans-Continental railroad. Perhaps most well-known as being near the site where the infamous Donner Party spent one of the harshest winters on record, Truckee was recently named to the National Registry.
Nearest Ski Mountain
Northstar at Tahoe
For those seeking the world-class resort experience complete with luxurious dining, spa treatments, and ski-in ski-out lodging, Northstar California is a short drive or shuttle ride from downtown. Those seeking no-frills, steep runs, and deep snow can head to Sugar Bowl Resort just west of town perched on Donner Summit boasting one of the highest base elevations in the Tahoe area. Find some of Tahoe’s best beginner terrain at Sugar Bowl’s neighboring resort, Donner Ski Ranch. For park laps, head to Boreal Mountain Resort or Woodward at Tahoe.BEST ADVICERESTAURANTS NIGHTLIFE AND EVENTS
The Truckee Hotel is a historic Tahoe landmark best remembered as a stagecoach stop for travelers in the early 1900s. Guest rooms render European or American style charm while embracing modern comforts. The hotel is located in the heart of the historic downtown and features live music every weekend.
The award winning (U.S. News, Outside Magazine, and Travel + Leisure) Cedar House Sport Hotel is lavish building inspired by the surrounding mountain settings with clean, modern decor. An in-house tour company provides access to many of the areas outdoor recreation opportunities.
Use the “Explore Truckee’s Best Lodging Deals” box above and right to find the Tahoe lodging choices that best fit you.
Because Truckee is about a 35 minute drive from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, it’s advised to take a shuttle from the airport and rent a car once in town. Having your own car will give you the ability to explore Truckee and any of the nearby ski resorts according to your schedule. In-town car rental locations include Enterprise and Hertz. If you’d rather someone else take the wheel, the town has several taxi and shuttle services.
The restaurant at Cottonwood is full of Truckee ski history. The building was formerly one of the nation’s first ski lodges and the home of the first mechanized ski lift in the area. Today, diners relax in a mountain lodge setting complete with a roaring fire and rich meals curated by executive chef David Smith. Cottonwood features live acoustic music Thursday and Friday evenings. During the summer, outdoor seating overlooks the Truckee River and the heart of downtown.
For a quick breakfast or lunch stop, the Full Belly Deli offers towering sandwiches with freshly baked breads and locally-sourced meats and cheeses. Rotating daily specials keep hungry locals returning.
For those who packed their dancing shoes, head to Moody’s Bistro, Bar & Beats. Thursday through Sunday evenings, live bands transform this eclectic restaurant into a bustling dance floor.
Known among ski bums as one of the rowdiest ski town bars, The Tourist Club is the dive bar of choice for locals who prefer sub-par karaoke paired with a harsh shot and cheap beer special.
Use the “Explore Truckee’s Best Lodging Deals” box above and right to find Truckee’s best Lodging choices and deals. Lodging choices are pre-ordered by price, but you can enter your own search parameters.
In early March, skiers and boarders race head to head over natural terrain at the Rahlves Banzai Tour at Sugar Bowl Resort for a chance at the final round against Olympians Daron Rahlves and Nate Holland.
Snowfest is arguably the largest and most anticipated event in North Tahoe. From February 27th through March 8th, locals and visitors dress in their wildest garb and hop between ski resorts and small towns for costume contests, ski races, dance-offs, snow building contests for kids and more. Other popular events include First Fridays where shops and galleries open their doors every Friday evening to show off local art, live music and free food and beverages. First Fridays is a great event for couples to get a taste of life in Truckee and converse with locals.
Whether watching or racing, The Great Ski Race is Tahoe’s largest fundraising event for the Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue Team and claims to be one of the largest Nordic ski races in the west. The 30 kilometer track extends from Lake Tahoe, over Starratt Pass and ends in downtown Truckee where spectators and finishers celebrate with local bands, drinks and awards ceremony.
Off Mountain Activities
While Truckee is best known for its recreational offerings, the town has plenty of opportunities for those seeking a day off the mountain. Stroll through the historic district for handmade crafts and fine art galleries. Explore the Old Highway 40 Museum – a self-guided interpretive driving tour that stretches from Donner Summit to Cisco Grove, Calif, with stops that include the Donner Party campsite, petroglyphs and Sierra Nevada ski history. Many snowmobile tour companies are located within a few minutes drive from Truckee. Follow a guide over passes and through snowfields for breathtaking views of the Sierras and Lake Tahoe.
If you have your car or a rental, tour the shores of Lake Tahoe. Stop in lakeside towns such as Tahoe City and Tahoma on the west shores and Incline Village on the east side. A long cruise around the lake will give your legs a rest as you build energy for your next day on the hill.
By Jenn Sheridan