Ride to Truckee…and beyond!

By Tim Hauserman

An early summer midweek morning is a great time to ride your bike from Tahoe City to Truckee, and then, along the Truckee Legacy Trail to Glenshire. The roaring Truckee River is your companion the entire route, the temperatures are not too hot, but warm enough to ride in just a bike jersey and shorts, and the traffic has not yet reached it’s mid July craziness.

If you start at the 64 Acres Parking lot in Tahoe City the trip to the viewpoint at the edge of Glenshire is 38.2 miles round trip. Following the Truckee River it’s mostly downhill on the way to Glenshire, with a drop of about 300 feet. The trip back, however, usually combines both a slight incline with a headwind. On June 2nd it took me one hour and five minutes to ride to the Glenshire viewpoint, and one hour and twenty five minutes to ride back to my car.

Heading out from the 64 Acres Parking lot, I prefer to ride along the bike trail. You are right next to the river, and quite a big and beautiful river it is these days. Before heading out on your ride, however, be sure and check the latest figures on water being released at the dam above Fanny Bridge, as it can fluctuate significantly with no warning. The past week or so it has been hovering around 1000 cubic feet per second (cfs). That is fast, but low enough to not flood the bike trail. Even up to 1300 cfs, the trail will remain mostly dry except for a few short spots. But in the past month the river has gone up to 2000 cfs briefly, and hovered in the 1600 range for a longer period, both of which flood the heck out of the bike trail. If the river is impassable, or if it is a weekend and the bike trail traffic gets a bit heavy with folks who are not paying attention, you can always ride on the road, which has a good sized shoulder for riding.

To get the latest Truckee River release information go here:
waterdata.usgs.gov/ca/nwis/uv?site_no=10337500

Once you reach Squaw Valley, a wide bike lane is available along Highway 89. Eight miles later, take a right turn onto West River Street in Truckee, where you face the sketchiest mile of the route. Cars do go fairly slow, but the road is narrower then I would prefer. In Downtown Truckee, somehow get across the busy intersection of Brockway and West River Street to a mile of easy riding on the lightly used East River Street.

Near the end of East River, take the bike bridge across the Truckee River to meet the Truckee Legacy Trail, where you turn left. The Legacy Trail is wide, follows the Truckee River, and is a joy to ride…with one caveat. You will not be alone, and many of your fellow trail goers are dog walkers whose dogs are often not on leash. Be careful out there. The crowds do disperse, however, as you pull further away from downtown Truckee. Just after crossing a small creek, you race up a set of switchbacks to climb through a huge pile of talus to the end of the trail, and a beautiful viewpoint of both the Truckee River and town of Truckee.