Naturally, summertime in Tahoe draws attention toward the water. While Lake Tahoe itself is the star attraction, those in search of a fun, social water activity can take a float down the Truckee River. Floating the Truckee offers a relaxing way to cool off when the Sierra summer sun is at its peak. Floaters can bring their own equipment or hire a raft (self-guided) from one of two outfitters.
Flowing out of the northwest corner of the lake at Tahoe City, the Truckee runs north through a forested river canyon. The first 5 miles of the river, the float stretch, are calm with the occasional light rapid to break up the flat water. The float takes between 2-3 hours, passing through meadows and opening to occasional mountain views. The river parallels Highway 89, which sees a fair amount of summer traffic, but with attention focused on enjoying the river and cooling off, you'll hardly even notice. A shallow river bottom and plenty of accessible banks afford the opportunity to stop and soak up the setting along the way. The take-out is located at River Ranch Inn, near the entrance to Alpine Meadows.
Two rafting outfitters, Truckee River Raft Co and Truckee River Rafting, both located west of the Highway 89 bridge in Tahoe City, provide a free shuttle service with the raft rental. Floaters can either opt to leave cars at take-out and ride the shuttle at the beginning, which is recommended due to limited parking at put-in, or park at put-in and ride the shuttle following the float.