Time to Hit the Trails

Time to Hit the Trails

July 9, 2021

When it comes to choosing a hiking trail in Truckee, this seemingly simple task can quickly become overwhelming due to the sheer number of amazing trails in the area. From casual to challenging there’s a trail for everyone to enjoy the majestic lakes, rivers, and mountain peaks that comprise the region. 

One such trail is the Martis Creek Trail. This 4.3-mile loop is considered a casual hike great for families with young children. It’s also terrific for biking and running. The trail is situated in the Martis Valley region of Truckee, between Northstar California Resort and CA-267. The trail is mostly exposed to the elements except for some more wooded sections 

Another family-friendly hike is Sagehen Creek Trail. Just 15 minutes outside of downtown Truckee alongside CA-89 North, this trail is a 6-mile out and back trail that takes hikers all the way out to Stampede Reservoir. In the springtime, hikers are treated to the rushing waters of Sagehen Creek, as it meanders through the forest on its way to Stampede Reservoir. The trail is primarily a single track so be a considerate hiker and allow other hikers and bikers enough room to safely pass around you. 

For those looking for a more challenging hike, try the Castle Peak to Basin Loop Thttps://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/castle-peakrail. Castle Peak is one of the most iconic peaks in Tahoe, namely because of its unique rocky formation that sits on its peak, almost resembling towers in a castle. The trail up to Castle Peak’s summit and back is about 6 miles. The trail gets steeper and more exposed the further you go so bring sunscreen and hiking poles to make the journey as relaxing as possible. When you make it to the top you’re treated to epic 360-degree views, most notably of Lake Tahoe to the south.

Truckee Donner Land Trust

The Truckee Donner Land Trust has acquired thousands of acres of land to preserve and protect scenic, historic and recreational land to be enjoyed by the public.

Guided Hikes: to help introduce you and enjoy trails on all this land, the TDLT hosts docent led hikes. To register for a guided hike, maps and details on many trails, visit tdlandtrust.org.

Check out the new Hike, Bike Trails + Camping Guide or pick up a printed copy in the California Welcome Center, downtown Truckee at 10065 Donner Pass Road in the Train Depot.

Trail Etiquette

Regardless of the trail and your ability level, several hiking etiquettes should be adhered to at all times. This allows others to have the very best experience with the trails and ensures that the trails are well maintained. 

  • Slower traffic to the right applies to hiking and biking as well. Especially on single-track trails, it’s customary to let faster hikers or bikers pass. You might hear a distant “on your right” from those approaching you from behind, which is a friendly way of letting you know to step to the side as they pass. 
  • Smile, wave, and say hello. Being out in nature can be one of the most calming experiences one can have, so as you approach other trail users give a simple smile or wave to ensure sharing the trail is a fun experience for all. 
  • Follow the “leave no trace” principles by always staying on the trail and not taking any part of the trail home with you. Accidentally veering off the trail or gathering its full-time residents like rocks and plants, can damage the native environment and potentially hurt the ecosystems that surround the trail. 
  • Keep an eye out for wildlife. Several different types of wildlife live all along the trails in Truckee. Keeping a safe distance from these animals will ensure that you both remain safe and never feel in danger. 
  • Look at the predicted weather conditions before hitting the trail. If rain is in the forecast, trails may become muddy and slippery. Or if the forecast calls for extreme heat, trails without shade can become too hot for dogs’ paws and cause dehydration very quickly.   Watch the weather and prepare ahead of time. 
  • Take in the sounds of nature. Truckee’s wildlife depends on their keen senses for communication purposes. Ensuring you aren’t adding any unnecessary noise to this equation is crucial to their well-being. Leave the music and any other form of unnatural noise back home. 
  • Take note of your surroundings. Some trails have wide paths and very visible markers, while others cross numerous intersections or twist and turn through the forest. By always being aware of your surroundings, you can ensure you, your group makes it from point A to point B safely. 
  • Pack it in, Pack it out. Wear a backpack, fanny pack, or have plenty of pockets in your clothing because whatever you bring with you on the trail will need to come back with you too. 

By following these rules you become a steward of the trails, protecting wildlife and ensuring an amazing experience for yourself and others.