When people think of white-water rafting in California, the focus is usually on the major rivers flowing west out of the Sierra: The American, the Tuolumne, the Merced and others. Their first thought isn't usually Tahoe.
But we have fun, safe, and easily-accessible rafting on the Truckee River. You won't find anything beyond Class 2 rapids, which is perfect for a leisurely ride with just enough excitement to elicit some whoops and hollers. Note: There is more significant rafting on the Truckee River below and east of the town of Truckee. This post is about the gentle ride beginning in Tahoe City. This is a simple 5-mile float trip. You need no experience, and you won't have to do much more than sit and enjoy the scenery.
Just below Lake Tahoe's dam in Tahoe City are Truckee River Rafting and Truckee Raft Co. They provide parking in a couple of different places, and they will shuttle you to and from the put-in and take-out spots.
You ride from Tahoe City down to the River Ranch at the entrance to Alpine Meadows ski resort. The water is cool and shallow, the scenery pretty, and the ambiance ranges from calm to let's-have-a-beer-or-three-and-party. Expect a few loud groups of young people during busy times.
Here, the fast water spreads out into a wide, calm, shallow area.
Some places, multiple rafts are on the river.
People watch from the shore. Note the black and white Great Dane in the foreground.
Here, the river splits into two channels. These people took the narrow one to the right.
Some exciting water near the end...
After your trip, you can relax and have a cool one on the sundeck of the River Ranch