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7 Days of Outdoor Family Adventures in Truckee-Tahoe

May 5, 2021
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Weekend trips are never long enough, so why not stay for a week? Truckee-Tahoe is the perfect mountain getaway for a longer visit and 7 days of outdoor family adventures. Grab the kids, pack up the car, and enjoy this seven day itinerary full of fun family activities.

Day 1 - Explore Historic Downtown 

Kick off your trip with a stroll through historic downtown Truckee. The quaint stretch of Donner Pass Road known as Old Town by locals is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and as you can imagine, loaded with rich culture and history. You’ll love the western vibe of the storefronts, some dating back to the late 1800s. To learn the history behind the vibrant downtown, check out this Walking Tour Map which is full of interesting highlights. You might be surprised to learn how Truckee has changed over time. For example, did you know that we were once home to the second-largest Chinese community on the West Coast?

Day 2 - Go Climbing

It’s time to get out of your comfort zone and try something new! Truckee is known for world class climbing and there are ways for everyone and every ability to experience it. This makes it a great family activity, and one that will challenge and excite! Explore the vertical world of Squaw Valley on the Tahoe Via Ferrata or hire a rock climbing guide through NASTC or Tahoe Mountain School to teach you the basics and belay you up the iconic slabs on Donner Summit.

Rock climbing on Donner Summit, photo by Paul Hamill Photography

Day 3 - Visit the 20 Mile Museum

Spend a day learning about the Truckee-Tahoe region on an auto tour of the outdoor 20 Mile Museum! This isn’t your typical museum experience, it’s one part scavenger hunt, one part exploration! The 20 Mile Museum is an outdoor museum made up of a collection of interpretive signs along Donner Pass Road, each one filled with historical tidbits and tips on things to do nearby. See how many “exhibits” you can see in a day and squeeze in a couple of fun activities, like a hike up the Donner Summit Canyon, to break up your drive.

*Note that construction is underway on Donner Pass Road. Donner Pass Road from Rainbow Bridge to Truckee town limits will be closed from starting Monday May 10th at 7:00 am through Friday at 5:00 pm and until further notice.  Additional closures can be expected the week of May 17th through June 1st extending the road closure up to the Sugar Bowl Academy in order to begin drainage work. View the project status and updates here.

Visit Truckee's 20 Mile Outdoor Museum
Making a stop along Truckee's 20 Mile Museum 

Day 4 - Day Trip to Webber Lake and Lacey Meadows

It takes less than an hour to get to Webber Lake but in that short time, you’ll be transported to a place that feels wild and remote. What makes it so special? It’s the headwaters of the Little Truckee River and home to many endangered and threatened species. Not only that, but its rich history matches its environmental significance. The lake was privately owned since the 1800s and is home to a hotel built in 1860, the last standing stagecoach hotel (out of about 30) on the historic Henness Pass Road! There are many different ways to spend a day at Webber Lake. Go fly fishing, paddleboard or kayak around the lake, bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the shore, or hike on the Lacey Meadows Trail. However you choose to adventure, remember to #RecreateResponsibly and respect this pristine site.

Explore Lacey Meadow on foot or bike
Lacey Meadows, photo by Paul Hamill Photography

Day 5 - Ride Bikes on the Legacy Trail

It’s not a trip to Truckee without spending time on the Truckee River Legacy Trail! A family bike ride is a great way to experience this scenic paved path. Start from the Truckee River Regional Park for a 9 mile round trip cycle. Interpretive signs on the trail help you learn the history and ecology of the area. Our favorite way to experience this trail is in the evening when there are less crowds and the gentle light makes the mountains pop.

Day 6 - Play Disc Golf

Disc golf is the best outdoor activity for families that you probably never heard of! The rules of the game are similar to golf but instead of golf balls you’re using frisbee discs. Just like golf, each hole has a par and the basic objective is to get your disc into the basket in the fewest amount of throws. Different types of discs have different throwing patterns so half the fun is working on your toss! The easy terrain of disc golf courses makes it the perfect activity for everyone, from little kids to grandparents. To get started, you only need a few discs. Stop by one of Truckee’s outdoor gear shops for a starter set and have fun learning how to play! Mountain Hardware and Sports even offers a disc golf punch card where if you buy 9 discs, you get the 10th free!  

Day 7 - Hike the Donner Lake Rim Trail

We saved the best for last. As a grand finale on the last day of your trip, head to Truckee’s newest singletrack, the Donner Lake Rim Trail. You can pick up the trail at the Trout Creek Trailhead or Glacier Way Trailhead for incredible views of downtown Truckee and Donner Lake, like the one pictured above! This segment is part of a larger project by the Truckee Donner Land Trust to build a multi-use trail system encircling Donner Lake. When finished, the DLRT will be 23 miles long and connect many nearby trails! This hike is a highlight for visitors and residents alike with thoughtfully designed switchbacks that mountain bikers will love and endless viewpoints for just one more photo op.

Hike Truckee's Scenic Donner Rim Trail
Scenic views of Donner Lake and downtown Truckee from the Tahoe Rim Trail

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