The Truckee River Bike Path is a very popular area in the summer. But in the fall and even parts of the winter and spring, this paved trail from Tahoe City to Squaw Valley on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe becomes a little quieter and perfect for a day by the river. Along the way, you can stop at various cafés and restaurants, or just bring your own picnic.
Biking in Tahoe is great in the fall and sometimes even the winter — Photo courtesy of Jeff Moser
About the Trail
The paved Truckee River Bike Path follows the Truckee River; it makes for a perfect destination for joggers, families and, of course, bicyclists.
Didn't bring your ride? Bikes for a Truckee River Bike Path trek can be rented at various locations, including Gear & Grind and the Olympic Bike Shop, both in Tahoe City.
The trail begins off State Route 89 and Fairway Drive in Tahoe City. There are several parking lots where you can unload your bike. You can also park at the Tahoe City Transit Center on Cabin Creek Road off of Highway 89 (south of Fanny Bridge).
The trail has some slight grades and hills, which make for some fun speed. It meanders among the trees between the highway and the Truckee River, and there are various spots along the way to stop and play in the water.
The trail ends at Squaw Valley Road, and you can even continue biking up into Squaw Valley on the 2.3-mile bike path that takes you to the base of the mountain resort.
During the summer and fall, you'll pass boaters and rafters heading down the Truckee River, as well as fishermen trying their luck in the deeper parts of the river. Some of the deeper water holes are great for swimming and taking your dog.
The River Ranch Lodge near the trail serves both lunch and dinner — Photo courtesy of River Ranch Lodge
Food Spots along the Path
Before heading onto the trail, stop at the Dam Café near Fanny Bridge to grab a coffee or tea and a pastry. Or go to The Bridgetender for their garlic fries and fish tacos. Each of these restaurants has places where you can park your bike.
When your trip takes you to Alpine Meadows Road – which heads up to the Alpine Meadows ski resort – check out Crest Café and Catering for a drink. Crest offers several microbrews on tap (These change weekly.), as well as Calypso flavored lemonade, coffees and the house specialty Ginger Brew. Get there in time for happy hour, which starts at 3 p.m. every day.
Seasonal lunches and year-long dinners are also served at River Ranch Lodge near Alpine Meadows. Meals here include items like Thai ahi poke, Alaskan halibut and Cervena elk. If you get chilly, there's a fireplace inside. Or you can sit outside on the deck, right over the top of the Truckee River.
At the end of your bike trip, grab dinner. You can either head up Squaw Valley Road to Graham's of Squaw Valley for their European cuisine out on the deck, or head back to Tahoe City and check out the Pfeifer House.
One of the oldest restaurants in Lake Tahoe, Pfeifer House is located right on the river across from the bike path. Here they offer menu items like escargots bourguignon, chicken cordon bleu and German specialities like jagerschnitzel.
Don't worry: Tahoe is laid-back and accepts casual gear in its restaurants.