Looking for the best & fun things to do in Truckee, CA?
Truckee is an incorporated city in Nevada County, California, United States. Truckee got its name after a Paiute chief, who assumed Paiute name was Tru-ki-zo.
The Washoe, Maidu, and Paiute tribes first lived in the Truckee area and later by the settlers and miners in the 1860s. Truckee grew into a bustling mining city with plenty of wealth and excitement.
Today the city is full of arts, outdoor activities, recreational centers, food, shopping, and many other fun things to do.
Here are the best things to do in Truckee, California.
Things to Do in Truckee
1. Visit Donner Memorial State Park
Donner Memorial State Park can be found in the Sierra Nevada mountains and offers a variety of outdoor activities for summer vacationers.
This park includes Schallenberger Ridge. Visitors can enjoy camping, picnicking, boating, fishing, hiking, and lots more while in the pack.
This ridge is known for its old sedimentary rocks, large boulders, and geological debris, which are remnants of a time when glaciers dominated the area.
To learn more about the pioneer settlers who trekked from the east to California during the middle 1800s, a visit to the Emigrant Trail Museum should be added to your list of things to do in Truckee.
Address: 12593 Donner Pass Rd., United States
2. Donner Pass
Donner Pass features a 7,056-foot-high (2,151 m) mountain pass in northern Nevada, above Donner Lake & Donner Memorial State Park about 9 miles (14 km) west of Truckee, California.
The California Trail, Overland Route, Lincoln Highway, and Victory Highway (both U.S. Route 40 and later Donner Pass Road), and the First Transcontinental Railroad, used the Pass and indirectly by Interstate 80.
The Pass got its name “Donner Pass” from the Donner Party who overwintered there in 1846.
Today the area consists of a thriving recreational community with several alpine lakes and ski resorts. Summer and Winter season offers wide varieties of recreation and lifestyle sports such as rock and ice climbing, backpacking, alpine, and cross-country skiing. The original tunnel established by the Central Pacific Railroad is home to a vast amount of tagging culture.
Explore Donner Pass for a great view of mountains, rock formations, lake, rail tunnels, the incredible Sierra view, and other fabulous things you will discover.
3. Historic Downtown Truckee
Downtown Truckee is home to many independently owned and operated businesses.
These include shops, restaurants, museums, and even eateries. Live entertainment is common, as well as multiple walking tours that offer historic views.
Local artists often display their products, and there are items for sale for tourists and locals.
Truckee Downtown Merchants Association is a nonprofit organization that manages the historic downtown.
It was established in 1972 and hosts many events throughout the year. The historic downtown of Truckee is a friendly place for families.
A walk through the district will allow visitors to experience Truckee’s past while also supporting its future.
Address: P.O. P.O. Box 1356 Truckee, CA 996160, United States
4. Donner Lake
Donner is home to freshwater in Northeast California on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada & about 20 miles (32 km) northwest, which is the much larger Lake Tahoe.
A moraine serves as a natural dam for the lake. The lake is in Truckee, between Interstate 80 to the north and Schallenberger Ridge to the south.
The lake’s depth is 238 feet (73 km) deep at its deepest point. The high water level is 5,935.8 feet (1,809.2 m) above the Mean Sea Level. Donner Lake features some of the largest lake trout in the state; you will also find a good number of brown trout and rainbow as well as Kokanee salmon.
Fishers use downriggers and troll with plugs to catch the Kokanee salmon and rainbow trout because they are trophy-sized lake trout. The only chance one gets to hook a lake in shallow water is during the spring and the fall, when the lake trout comes to the top to feed.
Some summer activities are camping, picnicking, boating, fishing, water-skiing, wind-surfing, hiking, and mountain biking. Winter activities also include cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Visit Donner Lake with your friends and family to enjoy memorable experiences and a gorgeous view of the lake.
Address: Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 9616
5. Boreal Mountain ResortBoreal Mountain Resort, located near Lake Tahoe, is a popular ski resort in winter and a great hiking destination in summer.
Boreal Mountain Resort offers winter adventurers a variety of ski runs with varying difficulty levels, a tubing hill, and a wide range of restaurants that will satisfy any taste.
It is recommended to visit their website or contact them by telephone before you plan a trip. Snow amounts can vary from one year to the next.
Summertime visitors can expect pleasant, warm weather with clear views and lots of sunshine.
Address: 19749 Boreal Rd, Soda Springs (CA 95728), United States
6. Northstar California
Northstar California, a mountain resort most well-known for its winter activities, is also open in summer.
Winter guests have access to the many snow and snowboard trails, family-friendly restaurants, outdoor seating, fire pits, and other winter activities.
After the snow melts, the resort is open for mountain biking and scenic ski lift rides on the wooded slopes and picnic areas, as well as breathtaking hikes that lead to stunning views.
Northstar California is a family-friendly destination, no matter the season.
Address: 5001 Northstar Dr, Truckee, CA 96161, United States
7. Tompkins Memorial Trail
The Tompkins Memorial Trail is situated in the lower portion of the mountain and offers residential developments links to the Martis Valley and Porcupine Hill areas.
The Tompkins Memorial Trails, the Martis Valley, and Porcupine Hill areas are open to hiking, running, and biking.
Discover the trail sections with beautiful views to the Northstar downhill skiing slopes or into Martis Valley. Tompkins Memorial Trail is a part of a trail network that connects to Martis Creek Trail.
From Route 267 in California between Truckee and Kings Beach, follow the Northstar exit and take Northstar Drive to Northstar Village. You will find a parking area is to your left before passing or getting into the village.
The trailhead is close by at the corner of Northstar Drive and Big Springs Drive. Discover benches and trail map postings at Tompkins Memorial Trail sites.
Go hiking with your friends or family as it is a great way to have fun and good times with your loved ones. You will also enjoy great views and scenery of nature’s beauty.
8. Tahoe Donner Equestrian Centre
Tahoe Donner Equestrian Center is the perfect place for horse lovers looking for an unforgettable vacation filled with equestrian activities.
The center is a place for short-term and long-term horse boarding. There are also guided trails for children and adults and pony rides for kids who are too young to ride a horse by themselves.
Lessons, camps, and frequent equestrian events are all available. The Tahoe Donner Equestrian Center is a great addition to any California vacation.
Tahoe Donner Equestrian Centre is another interesting attraction you can visit with kids, and it is worth adding to your list of things to do in Truckee if you are traveling with them.
Address: Northwoods Clubhouse at 11509 Northwoods Boulevard, Truckee (CA 96161) USA
9. KidZone Museum
If you are looking for things to do in Truckee with kids, add a visit to KidZone Museum to your checklist.
The Sierra Nevada Children’s Museum, also known as KidZone Museum, was founded in 1992 by a group of parents, educators, and agencies in Truckee.
Over 30,000 people visit the museum annually. It is best suited for children younger than 7.
There are many camps, school programs, and exhibits throughout the year. Volunteer opportunities also exist for both the community and visitors.
KidZone Museum is a bilingual facility and welcomes families who speak English or Spanish.
10. Tahoe Donner Cross Country
The expansive Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Center consists of 65 ski trails and 14 snowshoe trails, spread across more than 3,000 acres of terrain.
Tahoe Donner Cross Country welcomes all kinds of levels like the beginners, intermediate, advanced abs experts, alongside eight trails for dogs. Tahoe Donner Ski Center provides an exceptional school and lessons for beginners and other family-friendly events all season long.
There are various programs available for seniors and youths. Visitors enjoy a spacious rental area with good equipment, and accessible computer sign-in system, and an efficient new boot dryer.
The center also offers another year/round activities and recreation like a tennis center, a golf course, a Beach Club Marina with a private beach, and many more.
Have fun in a dog-friendly Tahoe Donner Cross Country center as you enjoy cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and many more.
Address: 15275 Alder Creek Rd, Truckee, CA 96161
11. Tahoe Donner Downhill ski Area
The Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Area is a resort that has been called “the best place for beginner skiers” and offers a safe environment where novices can learn how to ski downhill.
Tahoe Donner offers everything, from lessons to short runs to tickets for parents who have non-skiing children, to the chance to meet the dogs of the ski patrol, as well as classes and other activities.
There are plenty of open bowls for the novice skier and snowboarder, as well as freshly groomed trails that can be used to speed up.
Address: Northwoods Clubhouse at 11509 Northwoods Boulevard, Truckee (CA 96161) USA
For a fun time in California, take to exploring some cities here, don’t miss our list of things to do in San Bernardino, things to do in Santa Barbara, and things to do in Solvang for a fun vacation time.
12. Truckee Bike Park
Truckee Bike Park, a local attraction, often raises funds for charity and provides an outlet for bike enthusiasts in the area.
There are 12 sections to the park: slopestyle, dirt jumping, XC loop, and dual slalom; pump track; strider track; flor track; flow lines; drop zone; BMX track; XC trail; and rhythm dirt jumps.
Different sections can be visited depending on riders’ skill levels and interests. The pump/strider tracks have 30,000 feet of rolling hills, which all can enjoy, and the dirt jumps allow you to fly.
Address: 12200 Joerger Dr, Truckee, CA 96161, United States
13. Donner Lake Watersports & Marina
Donner Lake is located in a valley between the Sierra Nevada mountains. Its waters are supplied by snowmelt off and natural springs.
The shores of Donner Lake are often sandy and inviting to swimmers and sunbathers.
You can go fishing, boating, paddleboarding, kayaking, and canoeing on Donner Lake. Visitors can bring their boat to the marina.
For families who prefer to travel light, there are motorboat and paddlesport rental options.
The weather in the mountains can change rapidly, so it is a good idea to check with your local marina/watersports shop to get the most current forecasts.
This attraction should be added to your list of things to do in Truckee for fun water-related recreational activities.
Address: 12593 Donner Pass Road Truckee CA 966161, United States
14. Black Tie Ski Rentals in North Lake Tahoe
The ski Rental company is different from the rest because they offer in-room fitting, industry knowledge and are on-demand to skiers.
It can be frustrating to wait in long lines before renting ski equipment at a resort. With Black Tie Ski Rentals, customers can have their winter gear delivered straight to their rooms.
All skis and snowboards will be custom fitted by the technician. If conditions change during the trip, technicians are only a phone call away.
Black Tie Ski Rentals offers both the best ski shop selection and the convenience of free delivery.
Skiers should consider adding Thia to their list of things to do in Truckee.
Address: North Tahoe (C.A.), United States
15. Tahoe Donner
Although downhill skiing is the most popular, cross-country skiing is the best. The Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Center is for those who have been to it.
Cross country skiers will find 60 miles of groomed trails, which run through the mountains, along babbling creeks, and ascend to the Sierra Crest.
A smaller portion of the trails is designated dog-friendly so that guests can bring their pets along to vacation this year.
If you are not interested in cross-country skiing but have some experience, there are private, child, and adaptive lessons.
If you are interested in skiing, don’t fail to add this attraction to your list of things to do in Truckee.
Address: Northwoods Clubhouse at 11509 Northwoods Boulevard, Truckee (CA 96161) USA
16. Old Truckee Jail MuseumThe Old Truckee Jail Museum can be found in downtown Truckee, just one block from Commercial Row.
The museum is located near the corner of Jibboom Street and Spring Streets, and it tells the story of a Truckee jailhouse built in 1913 and is one of few original buildings left in Truckee.
The original proposal for the building was made in August 1873. It was completed on September 22nd, 1875.
This museum is perfect for history enthusiasts, and it is definitely worth adding to your list of things to do in Truckee if you are in this category.
Address: 10142 Jibboom St. Truckee (CA 96161, USA)
17. Truckee Railroad MuseumTruckee Railroad Museum is located in downtown Truckee next to the old railroad station that served the town as the main means of travel and shipping for the Southern Pacific Railroad.
The museum contains stories, pictures, recreations, as well as other railroad-related artifacts.
The museum is open Saturday through Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Volunteer docents may be available on occasion.
Individuals interested in the railroad should add this wonderful attraction to their list of things to do in Truckee.
Address: 10075 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 96161, USA
18. Truckee River Winery
California is home to many wineries and winery tours that will satisfy wine lovers. Truckee River Winery is an addition to this rich history.
The wine is kept in barrels at high elevations and low temperatures to slow the fermentation process and create different flavor profiles.
Russ Jones and Joan Jones founded Truckee River Winery in their garage in 1989.
They have steadily grown to be a staple in the area, with events, a tasting space, an award-winning Pinot Noir.
The winery also has staff that is always willing to answer any wine-related questions that customers may have.
Address: 11467 Brockway Road Truckee CA 96161, United States
19. Coyote Moon golf course
Coyote Moon Golf Course is often referred to as one of the best mountain golf experiences in California and the United States.
The course spans 250 acres of green hills. You will be able to enjoy a natural paradise of tall pine trees, exposed granite pieces, wildflowers, and Trout Creek, which runs through the course.
If you are looking for fresh mountain air and beautiful scenery, the Coyote Moon Golf Course should be added to your list of things to do in Truckee.
Address: 10685 Northwoods Boulevard, Truckee, CA 96161, U.S.
20. Rainbow Bridge-Donner Summit Bridge
Donner Memorial Bridge is a beautiful way to see Truckee from afar. It was constructed in the 1920s, near Donner Summit.
This bridge is located on the historic U.S. Route 40. It was built because the original road was too steep to travel up and down the valley sides.
Donner Lake is also visible from the bridge. This lake was used as a source of materials for the construction.
This is one of the top attractions that should be added to your list of things to do in Truckee.
Address: 950 Maidu Ave, Nevada City, CA 95959 US, United States
21. Tahoe Whitewater Tours
Since 1994, this whitewater tour company has operated in Lake Tahoe. It has provided adventure for countless families and individuals over the years.
There are a variety of rivers that the company can operate on, ranging in difficulty and length.
Truckee River and East Fork Carson River are examples of some of the rivers. The South Fork American River, Middle Fork American River, and North Fork American River are also available.
There are several options for trips, including half-day, full-day, and multiple-day options.
These trips can also be customized to suit the customer’s skill level and their desire for adventure.
Address: 10015 Palisades Dr, Truckee, CA 96161, United States
22. Art obsession
Art Obsessions officially opened its door to the public in June 2011 in Truckee’s Historic Downtown District.
The gallery speedily gained recognition as a premier source for the works of notable regional and international artists and established itself as a significant source for limited edition prints.
Art Obsessions Gallery consists of great artists featuring originals, sculptures, jewelry, and rare fine art editions from the most sought-after artists. The gallery also features a superior collection of modern and traditional sculptures. If you’re in Truckee, California, Art Obsessions is a must-stop to discover the finest art editions and originals.
Art Obsessions Gallery is also known as the purveyor of fine wine. You would love to enhance your art experience by tasting some of the best regional wines that the area offers.
The wine bar is open from Friday through Sunday during gallery hours and by appointment.
Address: 10072 Donner Pass Road, Truckee, CA 96161
23. West End Beach
The West End Beach is a popular summer destination for those who want to cool down in the summer heat.
It offers a variety of amenities, including a beach area, basketball court, and boat parking.
Boat rentals include kayaks, paddle boats, stand-up paddleboards, stand-up paddleboards, and boat storage.
There are covered pavilions that can also be reserved. There is also a snack shack, which sells basic food and drinks depending on the day.
Visitors can pay a daily fee or buy a season pass to gain access to the beach.
Address: 15888 S Shore Dr. Truckee, CA 96161, USA
24. Truckee River Legacy Trail
The Truckee River Legacy Trail was completed in 2014 after 20 years of collaboration, planning, and community involvement.
This trail connects to the Truckee River’s bikeways and trails system and is a Class 1 and Multi-Use bikeway.
The Legacy Trail, a 5-mile long riverside trail that can be used as a leisure or recreation trail, is 5 miles long and has several branches that lead to particular sights.
Families looking for a peaceful way to spend the afternoon are highly recommended. The trail is accessible for disabled people, strollers, dogs, and there are a few parking spots along its length.
Address: Legacy Trail, Truckee, CA 96161, United States
25. Moody’s Bistro & Lounge
Moody’s Bistro is modeled after the popular supper clubs from the 1950s and welcomes guests every day of the week.
The fine dining establishment focuses heavily on mountain-inspired cuisine and serves dishes such as ahi poke (braised lamb shanks), wild game, and fresh seafood.
Moody’s is known for its cocktails and is often packed on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights when there’s live music at the bar.
John F. Moody built the Truckee Hotel in 1873. The modern bistro/lounge takes its name from John Moody’s love of jazz music and mountain food.
This is one of the best places to stay while in the city, and it is worth adding to your list of things to do in Truckee.
Address: Truckee Hotel at 10007 Bridge St. Truckee, CA 966611, United States
26. Pianeta Ristorante
For a memorable dining experience, add eating at Pianeta Ristorante to your list of things to do in Truckee, CA.
Pianeta Ristorante is an Italian restaurant in Truckee’s heart. It draws its inspiration from Northern Italy.
It offers a wide variety of dishes and rotating specials every night that will keep customers coming back for more.
Pianeta Ristorante was founded in 1998. It is known for its friendly and knowledgeable staff, authentic Italian cuisine, extensive wine list, and a full bar with handcrafted cocktails.
The happy hour specials change on a regular basis, so make sure to check the website for more information.
Address: 10096 Donner Pass Rd. Truckee (CA 96161, USA)
27. Mt Judah Loop Trail
Truckee is known for its stunning views and beautiful vistas. The Mt Judah Loop Trail is a popular choice for families.
You can start the hike from Highway 40’s trailhead at the intersection of Donner Summit Road and Old Donner Pass Road.
This hike is best enjoyed in the spring and summer when wildflowers surround it.
The afternoon lighting points towards Donner Lake, which is the highlight of the trail. This hike is only for hikers and their dogs.
However, tech-savvy hikers can bring their drones to take photos and film the hike.
28. Soda Springs Mountain Ski Resort
There are many family-friendly activities to enjoy in winter at Soda Springs Mountain ski resort.
Tube Town is the mountain resort’s tubing area. It has up to 20 lanes, a 400-foot long lift, and tubers can return to the top again.
Tube Town is open to all ages, and pedestrians can watch the spectacle before deciding to participate.
Soda Springs has ski runs for all skill levels. There are easy rolling greens and difficult black diamonds.
If it is cold, guests can go inside to Woodward Tahoe indoor facility and play on trampolines, foam pits, or man-made ski jumps.
Address: 10244 Soda Spring Rd. Soda Springs, CA, 95728, United States
29. Foothill Farmers Market
Locals and tourists go to the Foothill Farmers Market, which is often held at the Truckee River Regional Park.
They can find fresh produce, baked goods, handcrafted crafts, and other products. This weekly event is great for families because they can shop outdoors and enjoy live music.
They also have access to free samples and the Truckee River Regional Park’s playgrounds.
From mid-June through late September, the farmers market takes place on Tuesday mornings from 8am to 1pm.
You can find more information about vendors or ask the organizers of Foothill Farmers Market by phone.
Address: 10500 Brockway Road Truckee CA 96161, United States
30. Martis Peak Fire Lookout
Martis Peak Fire Lookout is a fantastic snowshoe or Cross country ski destination following a road to a fire lookout close to the top.
The stunning views from Martis Peak are among the most fantastic of all the Tahoe Peaks that encompass a broad swath of mountains.
You will discover the Lassen Peak to the Northside, a nearby Castle Peak to the northwest, and Lake Tahoe peaks. Martis Peak also offers superb views of the Truckee area and Doth Lake Tahoe.
Resting below the summit is a fire lookout, initially constructed in 1914. It is viewed five days a week during the fire season for spotting fires. For visitors during overnight skiing and snowshoe adventurers that camped overnight, the fire lookout is also available during the winter.
If you would love to climb Martis Peak, follow the main road from the parking area. The route will occasionally fork. Generally, when there is a significant fork in the street, you will take the left fork. There are minor blue diamond-shaped signs on trees that mark the route. The views are obscured by the dense ponderosa pine/white fir/lodgepole pine/red fir forest until you are close to the top.
Hike the Martis Peak with your friends to enjoy amazing views of Lake Tahoe, a fire lookout, and others.
This answers what to do in Truckee for some exploration time, do add to your bucket list of things to do in Truckee, CA.
31. Eagle Ridge Snowmobile Outfitters
For 18 years, Eagle Ridge Snowmobile Outfitters has served the Tahoe National Forest area.
Snowmobiling is a great option for outdoor enthusiasts who don’t have the time or energy to cross-country ski. It allows them to explore larger areas of national forest land quickly and in a shorter time frame.
Eagle Ridge Snowmobile Outfitters only rents new snowmobiles. All models are at least five years old.
This snowmobile outfitting company is well-equipped with guides who can help visitors navigate deep snow and read snow. They also have the ability to teach them how to climb mountains using their snowmobiles.
Address: P.O. Box 1591, Tahoe, CA 96145 USA
32. Rocking Stone Tower
Rocking Stone Tower is a 17-ton geologic anomaly that is considered sacred by the Washoe people. Though it is no longer rocks, it is one of the many well-known rocking stones globally.
Fifteen thousand years ago, the local Native Americans used the Stone for holding ceremonies and drying food. Only the early tribes carefully chipped away the rock to flatten the top and curved the bottom so animals couldn’t climb and eat their food.
In 1895, C.F. McGlashan erected the original tower, which displayed Donner Party relics and his popular butterfly collection. During the winter of 1960, the building was also an overnight stop at the Olympic Torch Relay.
The Rocking Stone Tower is accessible, and it only takes few minutes to view. Discover a book named “The Nazi and the Psychiatrist” as it provides a perfect history linked with the family that made the rock famous in the late 19th century.
33. Truckee California Welcome Center
Truckee California Welcome Center opens from Monday through Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm.
Truckee, California, is a stunning, down-to-earth mountain city with a rich history. If you are in the town for an adventure, to take part and enjoy different varieties of the city’s special events or relax and enjoy nature’s beauty, Truckee welcomes you.
Truckee is a family-friendly community that attracts adventurous people with a passion for outdoor activities and the environment.
Stop by to visit the Welcome Center as you will get to know free information and other exciting things about the city, like things to do, places to stay, where to eat, and other educative stuff you will discover.
Add to your list of places to visit in Truckee. The staffs are friendly and helpful, and you will get brochures covering activities in the area.
Address: 10065 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 96161-0409
Plan Your Trip to Truckee
Take a trip to Truckee, California, to enjoy world-class ski resorts, scenic views, golf courses, streams for water sports or fishing, hiking and biking trails, lakes, tennis and basketball games, mountain bike park, skiing, snowshoeing, and many more!
You will also love to explore exciting museums, local wines, historical structures, restaurants, delicious food, towers, photo galleries, arts, crafts, antiques, jewelry, and many others, in the picturesque city.
This list of things to do in Truckee is a perfect guide to the exciting places to visit in Truckee, California. Have fun exploring the charming city!