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Truckee-Tahoe: A Mecca For Adventure Races In California

Alex Silgalis
May 8, 2023
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While other places focus on music festivals or food fairs, Truckee's premiere summer festivals are made of a different cloth. At the soul of Truckee-Tahoe, it’s about adventure. As the sun begins to shine and the snow melts away, Truckee sets itself to become arguably the premier destination for competitive adventure races in California. With every kind from gravel grinds to trail running escapades, here’s some of the biggest races of the year. Even if you don’t register for one of these races, nearly all of them have post-race festivities with a festival ambiance. Enjoy a local beer, listen to music, and come home inspired to train for a race like this someday.

Broken Arrow Skyrace

June 16-18, 2023

A European-inspired hard technical race with multiple categories that provides an unforgettable trail running experience “where the mountains meet the sky.” Even though the inaugural Broken Arrow Skyrace happened in 2016, it has quickly blossomed like a wildflower into arguably one of the best trail races in America. It attracts a deep field of elite runners vying for spots on team USA and a large prize purse with a passionate alpine culture. Think of it as the Tour De France mountain stages meets trail running. Cow bells and spectators lining up the highpoint, screaming for the competitors to the finish. 

Western States Endurance Run

June 23-24, 2023

Since its inception, the Western States Endurance Run has become the gold standard in endurance tests around the world. The oldest 100-mile run in the world starts in Olympic Valley, California, near the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics and ends 100.2 miles later in Auburn, California. Through the daunting course, participants climb more than 18,000 feet and descend nearly 23,000 feet before the race finishes. And the crown jewel from all that hard work? To obtain the coveted sub-24-hour silver belt buckle or a sub-30-hour bronze belt buckle.

Where can I spectate in Truckee? Head to the race start in The Village at Palisades Tahoe and watch the world’s elite trail runners take off on their 100 mile mountain adventure. Fans also hike up to The Escarpment at Palisade Tahoe’s Emigrant Peak to cheer on runners as they crest the first big hill of the race. And, soak up an amazing sunrise with Lake Tahoe views! 

Truckee Tahoe Gravel

July 1, 2023

An ode to the original Tour De France back in the early 20th century. Truckee Tahoe Gravel provides racers a heaping plateful of rough gravel roads, a dash of singletrack, and even a whiff of smooth pavement. Depending on how much of a challenge you want, they offer three different routes through the Tahoe National Forest to sink your rubber tires into. The 19-mile “roll-out” course isn’t timed and a perfect way to introduce you to gravel grinding. The other two levels are timed and substantially harder. The “medium” includes a 55-mile route with 4,200' of elevation gain. And the “hard” is a whopping 76 mile journey with 6,800' of climbing.

Truckee Tahoe Gravel
Truckee Tahoe Gravel
Truckee Tahoe Gravel

Tahoe 200

July 21-25, 2023

The Tahoe 200 was the first 200 mile single loop mountain trail race in the United States. Circumnavigating the sparkling, clear blue waters of Lake Tahoe from the Tahoe Rim Trail, the course climbs nearly 40,000 vertical feet and can take up to 100 hours to complete. Due to the Caldor fire, this year’s race will be run as an out-and-back. If this sounds like too much for your 1st endurance test, they offer a 100 km version as well.

The Tahoe Trail

July 15, 2023

Truckee-Tahoe’s premiere mountain bike race to obtain a coveted spot in the Leadville 100. A challenge to enter in itself, this Tahoe Trail race is one of a handful of qualifying events all across the United States to help racers gain entry to the Colorado race. The 2-loop 50 km Tahoe course provides sweeping views albeit you may never get a chance to actually look at. You’ll find fast, fun, and flowy trail riding as well as plenty of hills to let you know where you stand with your training.

Tahoe Adventure Challenge

Saturday August 19, 2023

The Tahoe Adventure Challenge is a multi-sport adventure like no other. Compete solo or on a 2 or 3-person team. Teams and individuals explore Lake Tahoe's north shore via kayaking or stand up paddling, mountain biking, trail running, and navigation. Using navigation and outdoor adventure skills, teams try to find as many checkpoints as possible during the 8 hour time limit.

California Orienteering Festival

A 10-day orienteering race including the 24 hour World Rogaining championship in Truckee! Join racers from around the world for this one of a kind adventure to find off-trail checkpoints with map and compass.

Plan Ahead To Next Year

Some of the events we list aren’t just a last minute decision. You need to prepare yourself for what the Sierra Nevada is going to throw at you. Many of these will be already sold out like the Western States Endurance Run. So popular that it’s lottery based and extremely competitive to get in. Even if you aren’t competing, these are worth including on your trip to take in as a spectator.

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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