Hiking is one of the best attractions that Truckee has to offer. Truckee is normally full of snow, but as the snow quickly disappears, trails start reappearing. Most avid hikers are excited for the melting of the snow, especially since Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada Mountains are among the top places to hike in the world. As such, we have put together the top hikes in the Truckee area to help guide you on your next Truckee hiking adventure.
Pacific Crest Trail
That’s Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), as in the 2,650-mile trail that lines the West Coast from Canada to Mexico, and the setting for Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon. While we are not saying you should hike the entire trail, we recommend that you hike the Truckee section, which meanders along Donner Summit, and is what we consider one of the most beautiful portions of the trail. The trail is pretty well marked, just above Rainbow Bridge at the Donner Summit on Donner Pass Road. You can take the PCT north, toward I-80 and Castle Peak, or south toward Mt. Judah. Either way, you’re going to be greeted with amazing views. You can typically find parking near the summit just off Donner Pass Road.Hiking Truckee can be for everyone!
Donner Pass Abandoned Railway Tunnels
Mere yards from the Pacific Crest Trailhead are the abandoned railway tunnels dotting the hills around Donner Summit. While this is less of a hike and more of a walk, it’s one of the most interesting, scenic walks you’ll ever take, passing through historic abandoned tunnels filled with graffiti that open up to beautiful views of Donner Lake. Similar to the Pacific Crest Trail hike, you should be able to find parking to the side of the road near the summit. It’s then a short walk to the tunnels. However, be careful, especially if you have kids with you, as the tunnels can be dark and slippery during certain times of the day.
If you’ve spent any time in and around Truckee, then you’ve probably noticed Castle Peak, even if you didn’t know what it was. One of Truckee’s most famous peaks, Castle Peak stands perched on the horizon above Truckee, with an ancient castle peak look to its summit (Castle Peak is a volcanic rock after all). The hike itself is a nice, moderate half-day hike, 6 miles round-trip from the trailhead with approximately 1,000 feet in elevation gain. The trailhead is just off I-80, north of the Boreal/Castle Peak on and off-ramps.
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