Truckee California is a historic mountain town and ski town that makes a fantastic base to visit the various nearby ski resorts. In its own right, Truckee is a very snowy place with an average of 204 inches (518cm) of snow annually!
Truckee was named after a friendly Paiute chief, who as legend has it, yelled out to the explorers “Tro-kay”, which means “hello” or “everything is all right” or something like that, and the name of the town was born!
Truckee CA has a population of approximately 16,000 and has a delightful small town charm.
Where is Truckee CA?
Truckee is located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range at an elevation of 5,980 feet (1,842 metres), just 12 miles north of Lake Tahoe. Truckee is located on Interstate 80, 32 miles west of Reno
and 200 miles northeast of San Francisco.
Downtown Truckee has an Amtrak station with a daily passenger train, the California Zephyr, with the westbound train from Denver and Chicago, and the very scenic eastbound train to and from Sacramento and Emeryville.
There are buses from parts of Truckee to Northstar, Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, and Squaw Valley, so it’s possible to do without a car. However downtown Truckee is reasonably small and much of the lodging is not centrally located, so it can be handy to have a car.
Ski Resorts Nearby
Truckee lodging is very reasonably priced relative to some of the ski resort accommodations, and consists mostly of hotels, some of which are historic. Other options include motels, bed and breakfasts, and cabins. Much of the Truckee lodging is spread around the periphery of the town.
The Hotel Truckee Tahoe
is a great choice for affordable yet quality accommodations. This Truckee hotel has amenities such as an outdoor pool, hot tub, fitness center, free wifi and complimentary breakfast, and it’s conveniently located on the bus routes to Northstar and Sugar Bowl.
|3-star motor inn with king or 2 x queen bed rooms (for up to 3 guests) located 5 mins drive from downtown Truckee. Rooms have microwave, mini fridge, tea/coffee making, free wifi, desk & TV. Hot tub, gym, laundry & free parking...
||River Street Inn
|4-star bed & breakfast with double, twin and triple rooms with private bathrooms. Free wifi, flat screen TV with cable, free parking and comfy communal lounge. Continental breakfast included. ...
||Truckee Donner Lodge
|3-star motor inn with king and 2 x queen bed rooms. Rooms have microwave, mini fridge, tea/coffee making, free wifi, desk & flat screen TV with cable. Nightly rate includes breakfast & parking...
See more Truckee accommodations here
Truckee Ski Shops
There are lots of great ski shops in Truckee that sell a good range of gear and also rent out ski and snowboard equipment.
Tahoe Sports Hub in River Street (parallel to the main street) has a great range of ski gear and plenty of fat skis, and with more of an emphasis on mountaineering and backcountry type outerwear.
East of town on Donner Pass Rd are a few more Truckee ski shops. Start Haus is a big shop, as is the fantastic Granite Chief shop that has a large range of equipment and apparel for backcountry skiers as well as those who prefer to look “pretty”. Snowboard and ski rentals are very reasonably priced.
There are also ski rental delivery services in the area.
Downtown Truckee California has some very one-of-a-kind shops ranging from luxurious and chic to rustic and simple. There are hippy type stores, little boutiques and jewelry shops. Wandering around the art galleries also adds to the unique shopping experience of the town.
If you’re looking to go grocery shopping, head out east of town on Donner Pass Rd to the big Safeway.
Restaurants and Bars
Unlike the Donner Party, thankfully you don’t have to eat humans in this town! Quality Truckee restaurants are abundant. There are trendy restaurants such as Trokay or simple diners such as the very inexpensive art deco Jax at the Tracks. The outskirts of Truckee also have various restaurants such as those on Brockway Rd.
There are also various bars for some après-ski action, although Truckee is rather low key relative to Reno
and South Lake Tahoe
, and there’s not a casino in sight.