Visitor's Guide to Winter Weekend Traffic in Truckee-Tahoe
We love weekends as much as anyone else, but weekend traffic can sure put a damper on a winter trip to Truckee-Tahoe. If you're visiting during the holidays or winter peak periods (typically Dec-Feb), this guide will help you plan ahead, avoid crowds, and have a great time while you're here.
- 6 Tips for a Successful Ski Day
- Truckee-Tahoe Free Transportation
- Truckee-Tahoe Live Traffic Cams and Maps
- Social Media Accounts for Highway Traffic Updates
- Ski Area Apps and Social Media Accounts for Mountain Updates
- Get Ready for World Cup Weekend, February 24–26, 2023
- More Resources
6 Tips for a Successful Ski Day
Visit Midweek for an Uncrowded Experience (and a FREE $100 Gift Card!)
If you have flexibility in your travel schedule, visit midweek (Sunday night - Thursday night) to avoid weekend traffic entirely. You’ll get to experience Truckee-Tahoe like a local while enjoying uncrowded slopes and empty parking lots. And to sweeten to deal, if you book midweek Truckee lodging between March 1st and April 30th, we’ll give you a $100 Sustainable Truckee Gift Card to shop local at over 50 Truckee businesses!
The Early Bird Gets Breakfast on the Hill and a Parking Spot
It’s no secret that getting an early start can give you a leg up on weekend traffic and help ensure you find a parking spot. Change up your AM routine so that you can get out and on the road before the crowds. Wouldn’t you rather spend that extra time siting in a cafe with a hot latte instead of sitting in traffic?!
Here are some breakfast spots to try when you’re ready to hack your AM ski commute:
- Copper Lane Cafe and Provisions at Northstar California
- Wildflour Baking Company at Palisades Tahoe (Olympic Valley)
- MOGROG Cafe at Palisades Tahoe (Alpine Meadows)
- Mt Judah Lodge at Sugar Bowl Resort
Have a Lazy Morning and Enjoy Afternoon Laps
Not a morning person? We get it. Good news is that most folks don’t shred bell to bell, so heading to the ski resort in the afternoon can be a good strategy to score parking as skiers and riders are heading home after their morning turns. Plus, catching last chair can sometimes surprise you with empty slopes and gorgeous waning light. Be sure to check maps and ski area apps for real-time highway traffic and parking availability.
Carpool! It’s Fun, Better for the Environment & You’ll Score Preferred Parking
Grab your buddies, throw on a playlist, and turn your ride to the mountain into a good time. Carpooling helps reduce the number of cars on the road, and lower vehicle trips means lower emissions, heck ya. And, if you’re skiing/riding at Palisades Tahoe, you can park in the POW Carpool Parking area, which offers free, premium parking to guests who carpool to the resort with 3 or more occupants per vehicle. Available on a first-come, first-served basis.
When all Else Fails, Have a Plan B
Sometimes, no matter how early you get on the road, or how meticulously you plan, your Plan A just might not work out. On those days, know when to turn around and resort to your Plan B. There are so many fun winter activities in Truckee! Go cross country skiing or snowshoeing, explore Downtown Truckee, check out Donner Memorial State Park, stroll along the scenic Truckee River Legacy Trail, or if you want really uncrowded slopes, consider hire a local guide and spend your day backcountry skiing in Truckee-Tahoe.
Come for the Skiing/Riding, Stay for the Après
Once the lifts close you head to your car and drive home… right? Nope! On busy weekends, it’s a good idea to avoid the 4pm rush, and our favorite way to wait out the crowds is après. Après ski is a french term that literally translates to “after ski”, but what it really means is tapping into the food and drink scene after the lifts stop spinning. Instead of beelining it to your car, pop into an on-mountain dining spot to order some apps and listen to live music. By the time your glass is empty, the roads will be too.
Truckee-Tahoe Free Transportation
Getting Around Truckee: Free Shuttle (TART Connect)
Like a “Mountain Uber” but FREE! Truckee’s TART Connect offers on-demand, curb-to-curb service within Truckee service zones. Use the app to order a ride and leave your car behind. Shuttle operates December 15, 2022 - April 2, 2023 from 8am to 10pm daily.
Getting to Ski Areas: Park and Rides and TART Daily Transit Service
Get from Truckee to your favorite ski areas using free TART daily transit or Park and Ride shuttles. Free busses and shuttles provide convenient transportation to Palisades Tahoe and Northstar California.
Getting Around Palisades Tahoe: Mountaineer Shuttle
The Mountaineer is an on-demand shuttle service in Olympic Valley and Alpine Meadows, with evening service between valleys. Download the app, request a ride, and get free, door-to-door transportation with 7-minute average wait times.
Getting Around Northstar California: Northstar Village Transit
Once you’re at Northstar California, use the Northstar Village Transit app to request a ride and get on-demand service throughout The Village.
Truckee-Tahoe Live Traffic Cams and Maps
Our Weather, Roads & Cams page is a hub of information to help you plan your drive to the ski resort or around the Truckee-Tahoe region. Bookmark the page so that you can easily access links to Caltrans maps, highway conditions, live highway cams, ski area cams, weather forecasts, and more.
Social Media Accounts for Highway Traffic Updates
- Caltrans Twitter
- Caltrans Facebook
- Caltrans Instagram
- CHP Truckee Twitter
- CHP Truckee Facebook
- CHP Truckee Instagram
Ski Area Apps and Social Media Accounts for Mountain Updates
- Northstar Operations Team Twitter for real-time updates on mountain operations, traffic, and special events.
- Download the Epic Mix App and check the alerts to get the latest real-time updates on the mountain.
- Download the Palisades Tahoe App for real-time mountain information, live parking lot status, and more.
- Palisades Tahoe Mtn Ops Twitter for lift, trail, and snow updates from operations teams at Palisades Tahoe.
- Sugar Bowl Resort Twitter for daily operation updates, including lift status, parking updates & more.
For more information on Truckee-Tahoe ski areas, see our skiing/riding page.
Get Ready for World Cup Weekend, February 24–26, 2023
The World Cup is coming to Palisades Tahoe from Friday, Feb. 24th through Sunday, Feb. 26th! Plan ahead and get ready for World Cup weekend using the information in this guide and by visiting Palisades Tahoe’s Spectator Info page. Consider watching the event at home, or if you’re visiting Truckee, take the TART Connect shuttle to downtown and join in the spectating at your favorite Truckee bar or restaurant. The Stifel Palisades Tahoe Cup can be streamed on Outside+ or watched on NBC platforms.
- A Guide to Busy Weekends at Palisades Tahoe: Parking, Traffic, Safety, and More, Palisades Tahoe
- Parking and Shuttles, Northstar California Resort
- Five Ways to Avoid Crowds in Tahoe, Sugar Bowl Resort