What to do and see in Truckee, United States: The Best Places and Tips

November 19, 2017 Agatha Simes

On the California-Nevada border, Truckee-Lake Tahoe's scenic mountain beauty is perfect for romantic getaways and outdoor excitement. Lake Tahoe is America's largest alpine lake, with beautiful blue water surrounded by 70 miles of gorgeous shoreline. Donner Lake offers a public beach, and Donner Memorial State Park has campsites and trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and rock climbing. Boca Dam and Reservoir features magnificent fishing, with rainbow, brook, and brown trout, plus Kokanee salmon.
Restaurants in Truckee

1. Donner Memorial State Park and Emigrant Trail Museum

12593 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 96161-3858 +1 530-582-7892
Excellent
52%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 430 reviews

Donner Memorial State Park and Emigrant Trail Museum

This museum documents the fascinating and tragic history of the Donner Party's journey to the west coast.

Reviewed By RISA L - Briarcliff Manor, New York

Fabulous! The trails are beautiful and the Emigrant Trail Museum is not to be missed. It is a wonderful place for children to see the wagon trains and the hardships that people had to go through.

2. Northstar California

100 Northstar Dr, Truckee, CA 96161-4203 +1 800-466-6784
Excellent
55%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
3%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 551 reviews

Northstar California

For the modern family that prefers substance with a unique, laid-back style, Northstar California Resort combines California cool with high-end luxury, on-mountain exhilaration with a sophisticated alpine village atmosphere. Halfway between one of North America's coolest mountain towns and one of the world's most beautiful alpine lakes, Northstar is a destination on the rise, having poured nearly a billion dollars into creating Lake Tahoe's premier luxury snowsports experience. Upscale shops, refined dining and Lake Tahoe's only five-star slopeside lodging is married to impeccable grooming, incredible tree skiing and enough variety to challenge every level of skier (and world-class terrain parks to keep the kids busy). Those who come to Northstar know what they're looking for. Sometimes it's adventure, sometimes it's to learn, sometimes it's to relax in a welcoming place with family and friends. No matter what that experience is, they'll find it to be exactly the way it should be.

Reviewed By ChristinaMcC - Orlando, Florida

We stayed at the Ritz Carlton just a short gondola ride from Northstar. We enjoyed going down and visiting the resort.

There are fantastic dining options, shopping, and even an ice skating rink! It was beautiful and we would definitely recommend to anyone visiting Lake Tahoe!

3. Historic Downtown Truckee

Donner Pass Road, Truckee, CA 96161
Excellent
48%
Good
38%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
3%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 109 reviews

Historic Downtown Truckee

Reviewed By Helen W

Historic Downtown Truckee is a great place to visit and browse. You can easily spend several hours here, with a couple of museums, art galleries, breweries and restaurants, and boutique shopping. Be prepared to spend some time looking for parking, though, and most of the parking is pay and display. Focused mainly on a single street, it’s easily navigable on foot — once you’ve found someplace to leave the car. It runs parallel to the train line, so children might get to see a passing train. Amtrak also stops here about once a day. It’s well worth a visit.

4. Boreal Mountain Resort

Interstate 80 at Castle Peak Exit, Truckee, CA 96160 +1 530-426-3666
Excellent
43%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
24%
Poor
7%
Terrible
6%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 128 reviews

Boreal Mountain Resort

Snowboarding ski resort, offering snow play activities for everyone, including special programs for toddlers.

Reviewed By Ally G - Auburn, California

We have been skiing here for years as a family. We used to hold passes when our daughter was younger as it was the "perfect amount of mountain" for a beginning skier. Boreal has a variety of terrain and we are able to keep track of our child.
What we don't like and found it was worse this last visit was it was too crowded to enjoy the lifts, the runs and the lodge. The second part was we could smell marijuana and cigarettes while on the lifts and the language from much of the clientele was certainly profane and offensive. We do not consider these behaviors conducive to a family atmosphere or experience.

5. Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Area

11603 Snowpeak Way, Truckee, CA 96161-7094 +1 530-587-9444
Excellent
60%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
3%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 29 reviews

Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Area

Reviewed By Alfonso d

Great for beginners, not crowded, tubbing was fun too. Pizza on the hill was great for vegetarians. Also a great little market called Z's market and deli.

6. Tahoe Donner Cross Country

15275 Alder Creek Rd, Truckee, CA 96161 +1 530-587-9484
Excellent
78%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 18 reviews

Tahoe Donner Cross Country

Reviewed By ExpatPro93 - Switzerland

From beginning to end we had an exceptional cross-country skiing experience here... From initial check-in, efficient equipment rental, outstanding instruction, and most importantly, wonderful trails.

There was amble space for the 'skating' skiers and _well-defined_ groves/tracks for those of us who 'slide' ski. They say they have 20 km of trails. We covered about 8-10 km.

Highly recommended if you are going to do cross-country skiing in the Tahoe area.

(Also, the restaurant was excellent!)

7. Old Truckee Jail Museum

Truckee, CA 96160 +1 530-582-0893
Excellent
42%
Good
40%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
9%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 22 reviews

Old Truckee Jail Museum

Reviewed By NekoCat - Franklin, Massachusetts

Interesting little jail with lots of history. We were expecting to just poke around a bit, but there was a guide and local historian at the ready when we walked in. He was very lively and provided some great vignettes. There is also an upstairs to tour, but overall the place is very small. Less than an hour is needed. This attraction is free, but there are suggested donations per person.

8. Truckee Railroad Museum

10075 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 96161-0317
Excellent
43%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
21%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 19 reviews

Truckee Railroad Museum

Reviewed By etweeden - London, United Kingdom

This is so small, you could easily miss it! Right next to the Amtrak depot in central Truckee. No charge for admission. If you want to know about the railroad conquering the Sierra Nevada (a greater challenge than conquering the Rocky Mountains) you will find out here during your brief stay. Like everything else in Truckee, this museum really fits in with the character of this mountain-western-railroad town. Enjoy!

9. KidZone Museum

11711 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 96161-4954 530.587.KIDS (5437)
Excellent
64%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
0%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 32 reviews

KidZone Museum

Reviewed By Kevin M - San Ramon, California

Went on a rainy Mother's Day weekend, lots of great art, science, lego, magna tiles, train table, airplane, kitchen, things indoor for the kids to really immerse themselves into.

We weren't able to explore the outdoor garden, etc due to weather.

Great price, great learning opportunities, a lot jammed into a relatively small "building".

10. Martis Peak Fire Lookout

Hwy 267, Martis Peak Road, Truckee, CA
Excellent
75%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
0%
Terrible
6%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 15 reviews

Martis Peak Fire Lookout

Reviewed By Andrew L - Menlo Park, California

I'm writing this review mostly to help folks find the turnout.
- From I-80, take 267 towards Lake Tahoe/King's Beach.
- The turnout is almost exactly 8.0 miles from I-80 (or 2.5 miles past the main entrance to Northstar). You'll know you are getting close when 267 turns from one lane to two as you head up the hill - you will turn LEFT just before 267 reverts back to one lane. (If you reach Brockway Summit, the highest point on 267 before you start heading down to the lake, you've gone about a half mile too far).
- Once, you'v emade teh turn, follow the paved road 3.8 miles to the Fire Lookout (there are many branches off this road, but the road to the Fire Lookout is the only paved one).
- You can literally drive all the way there (there was a gate 0.4 miles from the Fire Lookout, but it was open when we went. Signs said it was open 10-6.)
- If a hike is what you want, there are lots of places you can park along the way - just use the 3.8 miles as your yard stick, decide how far you want to hike, and park accordingly.

Two other things: (1) There is an outhouse, but consider it an "emergencies only" kind of thing. (2) Keep in mind I went in August. Off-season, I assume you would have to park at the turnout and hike the entire 3.8 miles.

ThingsTodoPost © 2018 All rights reserved.