We’re all itching to get outdoors after being cooped up inside on big storm days. Lucky for us, there are several winter trails in Truckee that are plowed and stay clear of snow. Here are three that are perfect for a run on a crisp winter day, a long walk with your furry friend, or enjoying fresh mountain air with the whole family (stroller friendly!) – Trout Creek Trail, Martis Dam Road, and Legacy Trail.
Trout Creek Trail
3 miles roundtrip
Nestled between downtown Truckee and Tahoe Donner, the Trout Creek Trail is a peaceful reprieve from the busy surrounding neighborhoods. There is ample parking if you start in Tahoe Donner, but starting from the other end is advantageous if you want to take advantage of the close proximity to historic downtown. The main trailhead in Tahoe Donner is located just off of Northwoods Blvd., past the Coyote Moon Golf Course. Even though the trail is just a stone’s throw from Truckee’s main thoroughfare, it feels tucked away.
You can also access the Trout Creek Trail from the Pioneer Commerce Center, although you will have to walk on snow for a short distance on the Pioneer Bike Path, which is not plowed, before connecting to the Trout Creek Trail. While you’re there, you can get your breakfast fix from Full Belly Deli, have a cup of locally roasted coffee from Pacific Crest Coffee Company, or detox with organic cold-pressed juice from The Mill.
This winter trail is a great way to get to downtown Truckee, especially during the holidays when parking is an issue. It spits you out on Bridge Street which is a block away from the hub of downtown Truckee on Donner Pass Road. Across the street, you’ll find Alibi Ale Works – Truckee Public House, a locals choice for craft beer and nachos, or take a short walk down Jibboom Street to warm up with a delicious hot drink at Coffeebar (like their lavender latte, my favorite!)
Map and Directions
Martis Dam Road
5 miles roundtrip
The Martis Dam Road feels like a local’s secret at times. It’s off the beaten track, far from downtown and any major neighborhoods. The trail is more open and expansive, especially where the road ends at the dam. It usually gets a lot more sunshine than the other winter trails.
The Martis Dam Road is much wider than the Legacy Trail or Trout Creek Trail which makes it a stress free option if you have bulky strollers or a dog pack in tow. Make sure to take a minute to take in the 360 degree views of the Martis Valley to the north, the crest of the Sierras to the west, and Northstar to the south.
I like to take a short detour down Martis Creek Road (on the left about 1.6 miles from the winter gate) to watch planes fly by as they make their descent into the Truckee airport. Their flight path takes them directly overhead towards a runway on the other side of the ridge. If you have little ones in tow, this short detour can provide endless entertainment!
If you’ve worked up an appetite on your walk or run, check out Red Truck in the Airport. Their cafe serves up delicious local and sustainably sourced eats. You can even get your meal to go in a reusable to-go box!
Map and Directions
9.5 miles roundtrip
The Legacy Trail is a standby for Truckee locals. The 10 mile out and back paved path is a great spot to stretch your legs for a much longer walk or run in winter. There are a few places to pick up the trail – the Truckee Regional Park, the pedestrian bridge at the end of East River Street in downtown Truckee, and Glenshire Drive, just before the entrance to Glenshire.
This winter trail is mostly flat, twisting and turning through the forest as it meanders alongside the Truckee River. It’s a beautiful trail, especially in winter when the banks and river rocks are covered in snow. The scenery is hard to beat and near the end of the trail it opens up with great views of Martis Valley.
If you start at the Regional Park, you can cover the entire 10 mile roundtrip distance to Glenshire and back. This is a great place to start if you want to pack your day full of fun outdoor activities: start with a walk on the Legacy Trail and end with ice skating at the Regional Park’s outdoor ice rink.
The pedestrian bridge at the end of East River Street is another popular place to pick up the Legacy trail. There’s plenty of parking here and it cuts off significant distance if you want to run all the way to Glenshire.
Map and Directions
Winter Trail Etiquette
Enjoy our winter trails responsibly! Here are a few basic “rules of the road:”
- Heel Buster! Manage your dog on the trail and follow any leash laws.
- Pack it Out. Take your trash with you, pick up after your dog, and try to leave the trail better than you found it.
- Share the Trail. These plowed winter trails are popular among runners, dog walkers, bikers, and stroller pushers. Be courteous of others and make space for passerby’s.
View a map of all three snow-free winter trails in Truckee here.
Siobhan traveled the American West as a National Park Ranger before setting down roots in Truckee. Outdoor adventure is her bread and butter and most days you can find her skiing, trail running, or backpacking. Follow along with her adventures on Instagram @siokenney.