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Getting Around Truckee Without a Car - Guide to Sustainable Transportation

Alex Silgalis
March 25, 2024
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Planning a trip to Truckee-Tahoe? Be sure to explore our transportation homepage where we give you all the information on how to get here and move about our region. And if you’re considering a car free vacation, we’ve put together this guide on getting around Truckee, including to and from the airport without one. Whether you’re staying in our historic district or up in the Tahoe Donner area, here's how to enjoy Truckee-Tahoe without a car.

Getting Here

Depending on where your journey begins, you have two options to get to Truckee and not have to rent a car - by train or via a shuttle.

Take the Train to Truckee

Take in the scenery on a scenic Amtrak ride up to Truckee. Regardless if you fly into Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) or live in the Bay Area or Sacramento, Truckee-Tahoe is one of the few mountain towns where you have an opportunity to get here via train. The California Zephyr line of Amtrak runs daily and connects Truckee to the Bay Area, Reno, and as far as Chicago. The Truckee Amtrak Station is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Truckee. For a full schedule visit Amtrak’s website.

For a full schedule visit Amtrak’s website.

Take the Reno Airport Shuttle to Truckee

Another option to get to and from Truckee from Reno is the North Lake Tahoe Express. They provide year-round, scheduled service between Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) and Truckee. At the airport, North Lake Tahoe Express is located past the baggage claim area outside of door D.

Pro Tip: Reservations are required 24 hours in advance for the North Lake Tahoe Express.

Once Here

Once you’ve settled into your lodging, you’ll find that Truckee-Tahoe is arguably one of the easiest mountain towns to get around without a car if you do a bit of planning. The Truckee and North Lake Tahoe region is served by Truckee-Tahoe Area Regional Transit (TART) which consists of buses and on-demand shuttles providing FREE service within the area. Truckee’s free public transit will whisk you off to popular events such as Truckee Thursdays, so you can spend more time enjoying the festivities and less time looking for a parking spot.

Woman getting off of Truckee's free shuttle - TART Connect. In downtown Truckee in front of Coffeebar.
TART Connect, free "around town" shuttle in Truckee

Free On-Demand Shuttle in Truckee - TART Connect

In addition to the bus network, Truckee has a free shuttle that provides on-demand curb-to-curb service. The shuttle (TART Connect)  services ALL Truckee neighborhoods from 6:30am to 10pm daily.

  • Winter Hours: 6:30am to midnight daily from Dec 14, 2023 to April 7, 2024.
  • Spring Hours: 6:30am to 10pm daily from April 8, 2023 to June 27, 2024.

How to Use:

  1. Download the TART Connect APP 
  2. Order a ride through the app
  3. Get picked up in as little as 15 minutes

Free Bus Transit

TART runs bus transit routes throughout Truckee and North Lake Tahoe. With regular connections to our legendary ski resorts as well as the beaches of Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake, they provide easy access for residents and visitors alike. Downtown Truckee is a perfect hub for catching the bus and exploring all the region has to offer! Check schedule and routes.

26+ Miles of Scenic Paved Bike Trails

Just within Truckee, there are more than 26.6 miles of scenic paved trails that you can access via a bike (open to e-bikes!). Over twenty miles of these trails are even plowed or remain snow-free during the winter months. And many of the lodges in Truckee provide courtesy bikes or provide a rental fleet for their guests to use. Or rent one from a Truckee bike shop.

The Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition has developed the most comprehensive map of bike routes, lanes, and multi-use trails in the Truckee-Tahoe region. View interactive map

Truckee Walking Experiences and Summer Outdoor Recreation

For city dwellers, many think of the bus as a way to get from point A to point B but that you still need to drive to a trailhead. Not so in Truckee-Tahoe. Our bus and shuttle network provides you easy access to hikes, mountain biking singletrack trails, and even the beach. Here’s just a small sampling of experiences that can be accessed via Truckee-Tahoe’s free buses and shuttles.

Donner Lake looking west towards Donner Summit

Donner Memorial State Park & Donner Lake

Accessed via: 

  • TART Connect - free, on-demand shuttle.
  • Truckee Local - Donner Pass Rd at Donner Memorial State Park (Bus)

This California state park offers over 8 miles (12.9 km) of hiking within its boundaries including the alignment of the primary Emigrant Trail, which connects to the U.S. Forest Service trails and the Pacific Crest Trail. You’ll also find summer camping, picnicking, boating, fishing, and water-skiing, and even tons of history within the Visitor Center. With plenty of shoreline trails and scenic beaches, the park is a great spot to soak up the natural beauty of Donner Lake.

Recharge In Truckee’s Parks

Accessed via: 

  • TART Connect - free, on-demand shuttle.
  • Walking distance from Downtown Truckee

Having a lazy day and don’t feel like heading to a trailhead? No problem! From downtown it’s merely a ten minute stroll to the Truckee Regional Park. Within it you’ll find dog-friendly paths along the river, a disc golf course, and skatepark. There’s even a playground with slides for kids to expend some energy. 

Truckee Bike Park

Accessed via: 

  • TART Connect - free, on-demand shuttle.
  • Hwy 267 - Brockway Road at the Rock(Bus)

Sometimes you need to play in the dirt… as in a bike park! Truckee’s bike park contains perfectly sculpted flow lines as well as a smoother strider/pump track for all skill levels to progress. If getting as high as Matt Hoffman is your thing or you’d like to be, they have beginner to advanced jump lines. You don’t even need to bring your own bike! Just stop by the bike shop at the park to pick from a rental fleet of dirt jumpers.

Truckee River Legacy Trail

Accessed via: 

  • TART Connect - free, on-demand shuttle.
  • Walking distance from Downtown Truckee

Starting right in the center of Truckee Regional Park, the paved trail winds its way along the Truckee River connecting the historic downtown to the Glenshire neighborhood. A 10 mile round trip that’s both dog and stroller friendly. Easy walk from Downtown Truckee - 1.0 mi from East River trailhead and 0.7 mi from Regional Park trailhead.

Carpenter Valley

Accessed via: TART Connect - free, on-demand shuttle.

A hub of biodiversity, Carpenter Valley is home to an expansive lush meadow, wetland, and other habitats that support a variety of wildlife species including black bear, mountain lion, bobcat, coyote, and various birds. The preserve has a wild, off the beaten path feel, despite being so close to Truckee. From start of the dirt road on Alder Creek Road, follow Carpenter Valley Road 2.25 miles to the gate with Truckee Donner Land Trust signage. Directly across from Carpenter Valley Road is the Emigrant Trail (Alder Creek Trailhead) for even more hiking and biking.

Views of Northstar California from Martis Valley

Martis Valley

Accessed via: Truckee Northstar - Sawmill (Bus)

Near Northstar Village, the Martis Valley region offers relatively flat trails for Tahoe and yet jaw dropping mountain views. The network provides both a new paved path (Martis Valley Loop) as well as more natural ones giving you a close look at the lush meadows fed by the snowmelt.

Winter Outdoor Recreation - Ski Area Shuttles

Another reason to keep your vehicle at home is that on winter weekends and holidays, parking may be limited at backcountry trailheads as well as ski resorts. Skip the hassle and take Truckee’s free transportation which includes winter routes along Highway 267 between Truckee and Crystal Bay (on the lake) and nearby ski resorts.

FREE Backcountry Shuttle from the Tahoe Backcountry Alliance (TBA)

Microtransit for backcountry skiers and riders! This FREE backcountry shuttle will pick you up at your Truckee lodging and drop you off for your own tour at backcountry trailheads in Truckee and North Lake Tahoe from Mt. Rose to Jake's to Castle Peak.

Dates: Saturday, January 13th through Saturday, March 30th, 2024

North Shore High Sierra Shuttle: 530-550-5300

FREE On-Demand Shuttle Serving All Truckee Neighborhoods: TART Connect

Get around Truckee using TART Connect, a FREE on-demand shuttle that runs seven days a week. The shuttle works like other ridesharing programs such as Uber and Lyft. Download the TART Connect APP on Android or Apple, order a ride, and get picked up in as little as 15 minutes. Pet-friendly and all shuttles are equipped with ski racks.

TART Connect serves Tahoe Donner downhill and cross country ski areas. TART Connect does not go to/from Palisades Tahoe, Northstar California, or Sugar Bowl Resort but can be used as a connection to a TART fixed route bus stop.

  • Winter Hours: 6:30am to midnight daily from Dec 14, 2023 to April 7, 2024.
  • Spring Hours: 6:30am to 10pm daily from April 8, 2023 to June 27, 2024.

Getting to Palisades Tahoe & Northstar California: FREE Weekend Park & Ride Program

TART's Winter Park and Ride is operating on weekends to Palisades Tahoe and Northstar California this winter. On weekends, you can take advantage of this FREE service and get dropped at the front door of your favorite resort! Park and ride at any of the locations below.

Palisades Tahoe Lot Locations: Truckee & Tahoe City

From Truckee: Located between the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District office and the KidZone Museum, at 11603 Donner Pass Rd.

From Tahoe City: Located at the Tahoe City Transit Center with additional overflow parking in the adjacent 64-Acres lot, at 165 West Lake Blvd. Tahoe City, CA 96145.

View and Download the Palisades Tahoe Schedule

Northstar California Lot location: Truckee

From Truckee:  Located at the Lift Workspace parking lot next to Enterprise Rent a Car, located at 10266 Truckee Airport Rd.

View and Download the Northstar California Schedule

View Ski Area Shuttles

Alex Silgalis

Born and raised as a flat lander in Chicagoland, Alex spent his summers working to save up for a season pass to the local hill along with any trips out West or beyond he could squeeze in. It was during his travels, both as a kid & an adult, Alex discovered his inspiration for Local Freshies® . His idea was to create the No. 1 Web site providing the local scoop on where to eat, drink & play in mountain towns throughout North America. When he’s not writing and executing marketing strategies for small businesses & agencies, he’s in search of the deepest snow in the winter and tackiest dirt in the summer alongside the love of his life and business partner, Jaime Pirozzi.

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