Our Favorite Snowshoe Adventures in Truckee
We love snowshoeing because, just like hiking, it’s a great way to get out into nature and appreciate the beauty of winter without being hassled for parking spots or long lift lines. It’s also a GREAT workout. Some of our favorite places to snowshoe are also some of our favorite hiking trails in the summer, so these might sounds familiar to you.
Before you hit the trails, keep in mind some of these helpful tips. You should always check the weather and what’s going on in the area. We love getting out on the trail on sunny days for the best views. Even on sunny days, though, wind or unpredictable weather may be an issue. Stay safe and check the NOAA forecast. Wear waterproof pants and boots, and plenty of layers that are easy to take off as your work up a sweat. If you don’t already have a pair of shoes and poles, grab rentals at Tahoe Mountain Sports. If you’ve never hit the trails on snowshoes, try out a flat trail to get the hang of them. And, as always, don’t forget the sunscreen!
China Cove is one of our favorite trails to snowshoe around Truckee because the mellow, 3.2-mile trail loops around the eastern shore of Donner Lake and the meadows beyond the lake. This gorgeous trail is perfect for your first snowshoe outing and, also, a great trail to bring along young kids. Though minimal effort, the views are incredible. Get to the trail by parking at the Donner Memorial State Park. Parking is at the Donner Memorial State Park and costs $5.
There is nothing but views along the Chickadee Ridge hike. The trail starts at Tahoe Meadows – the giant meadow close to Mt. Rose Summit. Park on the south side of the street and head down trails on the southwest side of the meadow (if signs aren’t buried, they’ll point you towards the Tahoe Rim Trail). After a quick hike up the hill, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of Tahoe. This trail is one of our favorites and popular within the snowshoeing community for the birds. The chickadees are known to eat seeds right from your hand! It’s an incredible experience and an even prettier trail that should be on your list for this winter’s adventures.
Paige Meadows is a great trail system for anyone looking to get out and explore without trekking too high up any summits. The trail system offers miles of gorgeous trails winding through creeks, forest, and ridges with views of Tahoe. This is a great place to relax and explore, and a great excuse to head to West Shore Tahoe. We love picking up sandwiches from West Shore Market before heading to the trails for a makeshift picnic. To get to Paige Meadows, turn onto Pine Avenue from 89 South – about two miles south from Tahoe City. Turn right on Tahoe Park Heights Road, take the middle fork at the crest of the hill (Big Pine Road) then turn left on Silver Tip. Park at the end of the road and begin!
A newer addition to the Truckee Donner Land Trust, Elizabethtown Meadows is the gorgeous stretch of Martis Valley that starts perpendicular to Northstar Drive on highway 267. This trail can lead you to Martis Creek Lake or to the illusive Ella Lake, and winds through land that was, in the 1870s, a booming silver rush town. There is no parking on 267; to get to the trailhead, park in Northstar’s Castle Peak parking area Red Lot #1. At the back of the lot find the trailhead that will take you down the hill to the Northstar realtor parking lot. The trail continues around the realtor office to the traffic light on Highway 267. Cross Highway 267 at the traffic light, follow the trail down a short drop off to start your hike.
We’re all for getting out on the trails solo, but it’s so much more fun as a group! There are lots of fun snowshoeing events happening every winter in Truckee. Our favorite include the Full Moon Snowshoe Tour from Sierra State Parks, the sunset snowshoe tours from Tahoe Adventure Company, and the guided tour to Clair Tappaan Lodge. These fun excursions are available to all abilities and ages, and some even have hot cocoa and snacks!