truckee river

The Truckee River winds a 120-mile route from Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake, offering plenty of opportunities for whitewater rafting, kayaking, and trout fishing along the way.

The western section runs from Lake Tahoe to Reno, Nevada. Close proximity to the Sierra Nevada makes it fast and cold until it reaches the city. From there, the eastern portion of the river spreads out among cottonwoods and sagebrush, depositing into Pyramid Lake—a popular fishing destination for those in search of trout (including the unique Lahontan cutthroat).

Enjoy the River Anywhere from Truckee to Reno

The journey along the Truckee River (from historic downtown Truckee, California, to Reno, Nevada) offers tons of ways to enjoy and appreciate the scenic waterway. Weaving its way through the Sierra Nevada from its starting point in River Ranch near Tahoe City, California, the Truckee River cuts through ski resorts, dramatic and rugged cliffs, and arid desertscapes before terminating 120 miles later at Pyramid Lake.

For outdoor enthusiasts, kayaking or rafting trips down the river offer up-close and personal views of the surrounding scenery—usually the sections between Tahoe and Reno. Paddling through calm stretches and mild rapids, you’ll see diverse plants and wildlife along the riverbanks. For a more relaxing experience, try floating down the Truckee River on a tube, especially around downtown Reno. The gentle currents make it easy to take in sunshine and stunning landscapes. 

For kayaking and rafting, your trip length will vary by launch site: typically anywhere from eight to 15 miles with options for all skill levels (Class I, II, and III). The Truckee River runs parallel to I-80 and offers many different launch spots. Some of the more popular put-ins are 18 miles west of Reno at the Farad exit, 10 miles west of Reno in Verdi, and various locations to the east.

If you’re into serious fishing, the Truckee River is a world-class destination. Known for its trout population, the river is ideal for reeling in legendary catches. Hikers and mountain bikers shouldn’t miss the picturesque Truckee River Legacy Trail, winding alongside the water and offering scenic views and ambiance. 

Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a combination of both, the Truckee River offers endless ways to enjoy its beauty as you travel from Truckee to Reno.

Truckee River Float

Floating the Truckee River is a popular pastime for locals and visitors alike. The scenic (and usually gentle) river offers a refreshing and relaxing way to enjoy the great outdoors. Grab a sturdy inflatable tube, sit back, and let the current carry you through beautiful surroundings. The Truckee River wanders through lush forests, charming meadows, and stunning mountain landscapes, providing a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Whether you choose a short float or embark on a longer journey, a float along the Truckee River promises a peaceful and rejuvenating experience that will leave you with lasting memories of this natural gem.

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

While the Truckee River is generally calm, it can escalate to “semi-raging” status in the spring and early summer after a particularly heavy year of snowfall in the nearby Sierra. Check the river’s flow in Reno on the National Weather Service’s website and be sure to obey all signs that ask you to exit the river where posted.

Where The Float Ends and The Night Begins

After a relaxing and refreshing Truckee River float, ending your journey at the Riverwalk in downtown Reno is a perfect way to cap off the day. The Riverwalk offers a vibrant and inviting atmosphere with picturesque views of the river and surrounding cityscape. As you disembark, you’ll find a virtual row of bars and restaurants to choose from. You can’t miss the Wild River Grille, known for its delicious food and riverside patio dining. For beer enthusiasts, the Brewery District is a must-visit, offering a selection of craft breweries with unique and flavorful brews. And don’t forget to experience The Eddy, an urban beach park with three bars and oversized yard games. Ride down to The ROW, another nearby entertainment district featuring casinos, live shows, and a variety of dining options. For family-friendly excitement, head to the Circus Circus Midway, where you can enjoy classic carnival games and thrilling rides. Downtown Reno has it all, making it the perfect place to unwind and enjoy diverse entertainment after your river adventure.

This Location:

Northwestern, Nevada