While Lake Tahoe may be famed for world-class skiing and summertime boating, autumn is one of Tahoe's best kept secrets, with vibrant foliage, perfect temperatures for hiking and biking, quieter restaurants and a general calm for ideal relaxation. Discover why we love the fall season so much, and plan your visit.
Our Guide to Truckee
Truckee is a charming town located 12 miles north of Lake Tahoe in the High Sierra. Just a short drive to the lake, this small mountain town is famed for its charming historic downtown of shops and restaurants, a packed calendar of seasonal events, and its immediate access to a multitude of outdoor activities that attract a vibrant community of adventurous locals.
Any outdoor enthusiast will tell you that fall is the best time of year to hit the trails. With the summer heat having cooled off, the temperatures are perfect for mid-day hikes and bike rides. The colors of the season shine bright in autumn lighting and the mountain air is refreshing. With no need to beat the heat, enjoy leisurely mornings sipping coffee at the local's favorite, Coffeebar, in downtown Truckee or on your home's deck, under the towering trees. Explore the Euer Valley and Carpenter Valley, both adjacent to Tahoe Donner with extensive trail networks to explore. The Emigrant Trail is a moderate 8-mile hike to Stampede Reservoir. Or hike to the historic train tunnels on Donner Pass, and be rewarded with sweeping views of Donner Lake and a unique experience to exploring the makeshift graffitti art gallery that is the train tunnels themselves. Royal Gorge, typically know as a winter destination with a 200-kilometer trails system of groomed country-skiing trails, is a fabulous place to explore 7,500 acres of property that abuts to a 4,417-foot-deep Royal Gorge on the North Fork of the American River with aspen groves and fall foliage surrounding you. Or just minutes from town, explore the Martis Valley. Find the colors and wildlife around Martis Creek with views of Northstar California. Enjoy the walking trails, and discover the hidden caves perched above Martis Creek!
After a day of outdoor excitement, head into historic downtown Truckee, for afternoon refreshments. Stroll past brick buildings from the 1800s, watch daily trains roll through town, and shop the boutiques showcasing local artisans. Before heading home, stop for drinks (or dinner!) at Cottonwood Restaurant & Bar, an authentic ski lodge that was hand built in 1928. Set on the hilltop and offering unmatched views of downtown Truckee, Cottonwood is steeped in history and tradition. Recap your day's adventures over hand-crafted cocktails and a diverse menu, before heading home to cozy up around the fire.