With summer in full swing in Lake Tahoe I was thrilled to hear last night that one of my FAVORITE summer activities had reopened for the summer, and early this season too! I am so excited – I had to share information with you about my previous experiences here! Whether you are traveling by a large commercial blue raft, personal inner tube or maneuvering on a kayak, “floating” the Truckee River is a quintessential summer activity to enjoy with family, friends or your significant other. It’s also an annual tradition in Lake Tahoe that locals and visitors have been enjoying for decades.
The Truckee River is the only outlet of Lake Tahoe, the second largest Alpine Lake in North America, which begins at the fork in Tahoe City at Fanny Bridge. Start your day by heading to Tahoe City where the East and North Shores of Lake Tahoe meet. Be sure to grab supplies along the way including drinks, picnic lunch, sunscreen, coolers, floating devices (if you aren’t interested in renting) and maybe even some super soakers if you are planning to make some new friends along the float. There are two most popular methods of floating – personal oversized inner tubes which can be purchased for about $25 at various convenience and grocery stores or you can rent large, commerical rafts from the Truckee River Raft Company right at the start of the River in Tahoe City.
Truckee River Raft Company is the original and most popular rafting supplier in the area whose individual and group tours provide options for any and all interested floaters. Rentals include free parking, shuttle bus, paddles, and life jackets for rafters 2 years and older. They also have the best equipment with all rafts being large, sturdy, commercial white water grade and comfortable to fit 2-20 people. I definitely recommend them for families, large groups and first-time floaters!
Along the 5-mile, 2-3 hr float you will be entertained with many sights, thanks to both the scenic beauty surrounding you as well as the diversity of fellow floaters alongside you. The river weaves through tall pine trees, varies between shallow sandy portions and deep, rocky emerald waters, tall grasses, ducks under wooden bridges, introduces sandy beaches great for picnic lunches and glides along the bike path as well as Highway 89 to your right. During a day on the river you are likely to meet visitors and locals of all ages and purpose. You will meet multi-generational families on family summer vacations, romantic couples and rowdy entourages setting up “party” camp along beaches and shallow portions of the river. I have seen it all… from floating small Weber BBQs to queen-size bed air mattresses as floating devices, you will be sure to be entertained by the sites around you.
Celebrate the end of your journey, dry-off and reward yourself with food and drinks at River Ranch Lodge and Restaurant at the entrance to Alpine Meadows, where floaters must stop their journey along this section of the Truckee River. Enjoy your return to dry ground and watch the other adventurers rush down the last and largest section of rapids into the large pool of emerald waters in front of the restaurant’s large viewing and sunning deck (shown to the right). Then, when you are ready, pile your equipment and damp belongings into busses provided by Truckee River Raft Company to shuttle you back to your vehicle at the beginning of the river.
Have you floated the Truckee River before or plan to do so this summer? Share your experiences and preferred flotation vessel to use along your journey in the comments below. Look forward to seeing you on the river this summer!
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