Location: Tahoe City to Squaw Valley, California
Bike ride: Truckee River Bike Trail, popular multi-use path
Length: easy 5 mile bike path from Tahoe City to Squaw Valley (10 mile round trip)
Parking (if you are starting at Tahoe City): Free parking lot off of Hwy 89 on Cabin Creek Rd, next to the transit center (look for a sign that says “trail and river access”)
Parking (if you are starting at Squaw Valley): Parking lot on Squaw Valley Road (next to Hwy 89), the trail starts across the street
Lunch spot: River Ranch patio, (3.5 miles from Tahoe City, 1.5 miles from Squaw Valley)
Lake Tahoe is a popular vacation destination in winter and it is famous for its many ski resorts in the surrounding areas. We’ve been coming to ski by the lake for over 10 years now, but have only in the past couple of years discovered its potential for so many fun and amazing activities during the summer. We’ve been missing out!
It’s all about enjoying the cobalt blue lake (22 miles long and 12 miles wide) and surrounding alpine mountain areas in Lake Tahoe. One activity that was very memorable and that we thoroughly enjoyed was bike riding the Truckee River Bike Trail. I think you get the picture by now that we like scenic and easy bike trails. I like a good workout, but if I’m being wowed by my surroundings, I don’t want to be flying by at top speeds and focusing on what gear I need to be in to make it up the hill. I want to kick back and cruise while I take it all in, savor the experience. The Truckee River Bike Trail is the epitome of that easy paved scenic trail. This multi-use trail parallels the Truckee River for most of the way. It is 5 miles from Truckee to Squaw Valley where the path ends, making it a 10 mile round trip bike ride. We got going on the trail mid afternoon on a warm Saturday afternoon starting from the Tahoe City side. Once the path found its way next to the river, we were awestruck by the picturesque views. However, the afternoon kept getting hotter and my daughter kept stopping to “check something out” which translated into jumping into the water to get her feet wet and cooling down. Getting the hint, we decided to finish up the ride the next morning and spend the rest of the afternoon swimming and kayaking in Lake Tahoe instead. We turned around at River Ranch Lodge and Restaurant (3.5 miles) and headed back.
The next morning, we started our bike ride from the Squaw Valley side and loved how we had the trail to ourselves (and the cooler temp). The 1.5 miles of trail until we reached River Ranch was absolutely gorgeous. We kept stopping to take pictures at every turn because the views were incredible. We definitely savored every inch of that trail!
We made our way to River Ranch patio located at River Ranch Lodge and Restaurant, had an early lunch, continued on for a few more miles then headed back. The River Ranch patio is a great place to stop for a casual lunch from the grill (and a nice cold beer), but it gets extremely crowded during summer weekends. Your best bet to secure a riverside table (or any table) is to get there on the early side when they open for lunch (11:30 am). This is where the river rafters get out of the river, so it’s fun to watch them come down the river and make their way to the unloading area. This also means there is a constant stream of rafters coming to the patio. No problem if you get there before them though.
Bike riding the Truckee River Bike Trail and grabbing a bite to eat at the River Ranch patio is a great way to spend a summer morning in the Tahoe area. These are only pictures from the trail. Like with any experience you have to come give the bike ride a try to see the 360º views, breathe the crisp mountain air, hear the river moving by, and feel that morning breeze ruffle your hair. It’s a bike ride for all of your senses.