Bike Ride With Me: Along the Truckee River from Tahoe City to Squaw Valley

Posted on July 8, 2013 by

Nearly every winter weekend I’m in the Tahoe snow. November through May my ski racing kids, my ski coaching husband, and my ski mama driving self spend lots of family time near Tahoe City – but it certainly never looks like this.

Truckee River

Tahoe in the summer is an entirely different place, with a huge variety of activities. As much as I love Tahoe in the snow, it’s a nice change of pace to abandon the boots and grab a pair of running shoes and hit the beach and trails.

This weekend we decided to get up early to beat the 4th of July tourist crowds and hit the bike trail between Tahoe City and Squaw Valley. We headed off from the west shore, about 2 miles from Tahoe City.

The Truckee River in Tahoe City, just below the lake outlet. We’re the only ones around. For now.

Truckee River

No matter what sport we do, I’m always bringing up the rear.

along the Truckee River

along the Truckee River

The first of a series of bridges across the Truckee River – some in much better shape than others.

wooden bridge

The bike path is an easy ride…fairly flat, and very close to the water. I found myself getting lost in the scenery usually covered in snow.

River rock view Truckee River rocks

I love how easy it is to stop along the river and get up close and personal. I couldn’t help myself. It’s a lot colder than it looks – remember, it’s Sierra snow we’re looking at!

Truckee River Truckee River rocks

I love thinking about who has gazed at these rocks, this river. My ancestors journaled about them in the 1800s- they must have looked identical to today. In fact, these rocks were actually formed by glaciers millions of years ago. Just think about the generations who have witnessed their majesty.

formed by glaciers

My husband’s family has been coming to Tahoe for generations. We stopped here, at blue bridge, where he remembers fishing with his grandfather. Thirty-five years later, the bridge has deteriorated and is now closed off as a ‘hazardous area’.

the blue bridge and fishing rock

the blue bridge and fishing rock

The river flows out into a meadow-like space, smooth and gentle.

Truckee River meadow

Turns out my husband is incredibly patient with my bike riding strategy. I’m s.l.o.w…not only am I looking side to side instead of straight ahead, I’m like a two year old, constantly stopping to take a closer look.

waiting along the Truckee River

So he sat and waited.

I tried to get him to take me out for breakfast, but he insisted we keep pedaling.

River Ranch

River Ranch

River Ranch, located at the entrance to Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, is also the landing place for river rafters. We beat them…but not for long!

fallen tree along the Truckee

I had to get pretty close for this shot…from here on out, the Truckee River is much rougher.

rough Truckee River

A couple miles away from Alpine, the bike trail cleverly crosses under Highway 89 just before Squaw Valley.

bike trail across Truckee

The Olympic flame burns 24/7. The path ends here, 7.1 miles from our house. Time to turn around and head back.

Squaw Valley

Half-way done! Still smiling!

mamawolfe along the Truckee River

Wish you could see the baby wood ducks swimming with their mama…just out of camera range. Sigh.

Truckee River

Unfortunately, we just missed wildflower season..but there were still a few brightening the trail.

mule flower

mule flower

Despite the busy weekend, we were able to escape most of the traffic, but the rafters always come…

first rafters on the river

I stopped a few more times on the way back…not that I was tired, mind you.

it's not a weed

doesn’t look like a weed to me

Looking up river on the last bridge…

Truckee River rafters

And down river…

Truckee River rafters

I think we finished just in time.

What a beautiful morning on the Truckee River bike trail. 14.2 miles…and I didn’t miss the snow one bit!


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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Comments: 10

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    July 4, 2014

    […] the kids rode their horses and let off LOTS of fireworks. We’ve spent the 4th at the lake, riding bikes from home to Squaw Valley and back, then battling the crowds for blanket space and then sat in traffic after the last sparkler burned […]

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    August 21, 2013

    […] This summer I even loved it on an early morning bike ride from Tahoe City to Squaw Valley and back! Not as easy to take photos without falling off my bike, though. […]

  • Kathy Radigan

    July 9, 2013

    Jennifer what gorgeous pictures!! How wonderful to be around such beauty!! I’m glad you took a little time to enjoy the path, I didn’t think you were tired at all!! Lol! Enjoy my friend!! xo
    Kathy Radigan recently posted…Being My Teens Mom Not His FriendMy Profile

    • Jennifer Wolfe

      July 9, 2013

      Thank you, Kathy. It really was a lovely morning…and luckily I didn’t fall off my bike gazing into the distance! Thanks for stopping by, xoxox

    • Jennifer Wolfe

      July 9, 2013

      Kim, I like your perspective-savoring life, for sure! It was just so nice to ride along and have so much beauty and peacefulness around me. Come out to CA and we’ll hit the trails together! xo-Jennifer

  • Dawn Wink

    July 9, 2013

    Oh, this is beautiful! I feel I’ve ridden along with you. And I loved this, “My ancestors journaled about them in the 1800s- they must have looked identical to today. In fact, these rocks were actually formed by glaciers millions of years ago. Just think about the generations who have witnessed their majesty.” Beautiful.

    • Jennifer Wolfe

      July 9, 2013

      Oh, thank you, Dawn. It was weird – I picked up a journal my great great grandfather wrote as he traveled from the midwest to Laramie, WY…and the page I turned to talked about his first glimpse of Tahoe. I had no idea he made it that far in the 1800s…guess it’s in my blood after all!

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