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The Truckee River is flowing again.

High snowpack has revived the Tahoe-area stream

LIKE A STARVING animal, the Truckee River became a thin shadow of its once robust self during the last few years of drought. Water sports here wasted away, too.

But thanks to last winter's high snowpack (158 percent of normal in the river basin), the Truckee is expected to reach near-normal strength this summer. Its return should delight those who love to fish or inner tube its waters or bicycle or picnic along its banks--especially the popular and easily accessible 14-mile stretch from Tahoe City to the town of Truckee.


At our press time, water agency prognosticators expected runoff from creeks to keep enough water in the Truckee to float inner-tubers well into summer. Those who can stand the icy water can float the gentle 5-mile stretch from Tahoe City to Alpine Meadows Road.

Rafters float the same stretch, though prospects for rafting were less certain. Normally, water from Lake Tahoe flows into the Truckee River over a small dam at Tahoe City, ensuring enough water for rafting. During the drought, the lake was too low to spill over the dam, and rafting pretty much dried up. Water managers couldn't guarantee the Truckee would get inflow from the lake; if it does, operators will probably be renting rafts at Tahoe City for self-guided trips. To check, call Truckee River Raft Rentals at (916) 583-0123, or Mountaineer Sports at 583-5606.


This spring, the Truckee's rising waters allowed the state department of fish and game to plant rainbow trout in the river for the first time in several years. Along State Highway 89 between Tahoe City and Truckee are several good spots to pull off and cast a line. Anglers will have the best luck early in the morning. A state fishing license is required; the five-fish limit applies, but there are no restrictions on gear.

The best way to see the river without actually floating it is via a paved riverside path that leads about 4 miles northwest from Tahoe City. Parking is limited in Tahoe City, so we suggest starting at the path's northwest end. Park off State 89 in front of River Ranch Restaurant & Lodge (at Alpine Meadows Road), then head southeast along the path as it winds alongside the Truckee. It's an easy, mostly level bike ride to town and back. Several shops in the Tahoe City area rent bikes and provide free bike guides for the area.

For good riverside picnicking, try the Deer Park Picnic Site (near the turnoff to Alpine Meadows) or three riverside campgrounds northward along State 89. For area lodging and dining information, call the Tahoe North Visitors & Convention Bureau at (800) 824-6348, or the North Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce at (916) 581-6900.
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Title Annotation:Tahoe City, California
Author:Finnegan, Lora J.
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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