California wildlife

After so long spent within the confines of cities, surrounded by concrete and strangers, one can begin to desperately cry out for the natural world once more—a place where birds once more twitter amongst the trees, deer gallop across a field and out of sight, and where all manner of rabbits and squirrels chatter and explore their woodsy home. If this speaks true for you, and you find yourself yearning for the peace and tranquility of the natural world, make sure you read about our top five Truckee spots for watching wildlife in California, below!

Sawtooth Trailhead

We’ll start our journey through the natural world of Truckee with the Sawtooth Trailhead. This trail features a 10.2-mile loop that will take you past an array of breathtaking sights. You’ll pass by rivers that turn and gurgle at you, their rhythm keeping time with your steps, as well as beautiful forests with towering trees standing guard above you and stretching out into the distance. For this reason, it’s no wonder Sawtooth is a popular choice for nature lovers everywhere. In fact, over time the trail has become quite popular with mountain bikers due to its semi rocky terrain. When the snow begins to fall, the trail still sees activity by the many snowshoers making their way through the scenic route. For this reason, you might not see much large game such as deer but take your time and keep a sharp eye and you are sure to see plenty of squirrels, rabbits, birds, and other animals who call Truckee, California home. So, why not spend a couple of hours exploring the woods and reveling in the protecting grasp of trees by taking a stride along the Sawtooth Trailhead!

West End Beach

While the woods are a special place and hold many sights and sounds that can’t be found in the city or a park, the beach is also the perfect place to rest, relax, and enjoy the sights of the birds and the soothing sounds of the lake’s subtle waves. Stretching out across 12 acres, this day-use beach is the perfect place if you are looking for some water fun on your vacation. You can either lie upon the beach and enjoy the sun’s warm rays as they fall upon you, or you can take a cool swim in the water or perhaps relax at the picnic area and spend some time birdwatching. If you are looking for something a bit different, make sure you check out their Water Recreation Equipment Rentals, ranging from paddle boats to kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, ensuring that you can traverse the lake however might take your fancy. To top it all off, rest easy as your little ones splash and play, as there is always a certified lifeguard on duty. So, why not relax upon the beach and enjoy a classic lake day at West End Beach.

Truckee River Regional Park

Let us now move on to what many of us will be familiar with, a good old fashion park (though with a few surprises as we’ll see). Take a walk over the Chief Truckee Lawn, which is a perfect sprawling span of grassy lawn perfect for a cozy and quaint picnic and you and your significant other lay back and stare at the sky as the clouds and birds lazily glide across it. As well, you’ll find a community garden that is perfect not just to spy the occasional squirrel or rabbit attempting to swipe a quick lunch from the many plots. What’s more is you’ll find that this is not just a place that’s perfect to relax and just enjoy the fresh air, but a good place to chat with some locals, explore their beloved gardens and make some new friends. Finally, to truly get out there with the California wildlife, take a trip along the Legacy Trail, which runs from the park to Glenshire. This paved path is perfect for all skill levels and will have you deep in the forest as you follow the Truckee River. Far away from the clamor and noise of humans, you are likely to see the occasional critter scurrying about its daily routine. So, why not spend an afternoon lying in the sun, making friends, and explore the Truckee River at Truckee River Regional Park!

Donner Summit Canyon

While all these places and trails are beautiful and interesting in their own unique ways, the Donner Summit Canyon has a significant historical context that few share. When you traverse this 3.6-mile hike, you will be walking along the same path as the Donner Party all those years ago. Further, few know this, but you’ll also be traversing roughly the same route as the original Lincoln Highway. Traverse this trail and you’ll be greeted with pristine and breathtaking views of Donner Lake, Donner Peak, and Schellenberger Ridge. Further, keep your eyes peeled for the very first automobile underpass built in 1913. Once you traverse the trail, make sure to sit back and have a light lunch at one of the picnic tables as you stare out across Donner Lake. Come during the right time of year and you’ll find the path painted with all the colors of the rainbow thanks to the natural growing wildflowers, with butterflies gliding over the tops of their brightly colored petals. Take a walk over the Chinese Wall and put your body to the test as you attempt to rock climb its face. As you leave, make sure to stop by the pond and dip your feet in amongst the tadpoles swimming about their day.

Donner Memorial State Park

Finally, we come to our number one spot, which goes to Donner Memorial State Park. This park offers over 8 miles of hiking trails for you to traverse and explore the woods around you. Not only will you find several hiking trails to escape into the natural world, but also a range of water sports and play upon Donner Lake. Try your hand at waterskiing and fly across the clear waters below you, or perhaps enjoy slowly paddling yourself across its surface as you gaze up at the birds flying above you. Why not cast a line and see if you can entice one of the several different kinds of fish to have a nibble? If you find yourself coming in winter, never fear, for there is a wide range of snow play in which to take part, ranging from cross-country skiing to snowshoeing to building snowmen and snow forts. Finally, make sure you stop by the visitor center and learn about the woods that surround you, as well as the lives of those who once traversed the area long ago. So, if you are looking for a place to not only see some glimpses of California wildlife but also be able to relax with a variety of different activities, make sure you check out Donner Memorial State Park!