101 fun fall things to do in Truckee


Truckee has received a host of accolades recently as one of the best mountain/ski towns in the West. That’s not news to the locals that have long known that Truckee is a great place to call home. If you haven’t taken the time to explore Truckee lately, here are our picks for some of the best things to explore in town and the surrounding area.


Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce

Flourish in the great outdoors

  1. Delight in the evening air under the full moon: Oct. 18, Nov. 17 and Dec. 17.
  2. Hike the celebrated Mount Judah Loop: 1,700-foot elevation gain and two peaks in 5½ miles.
  3. Catch up with a friend over a relaxing walk in the Martis Creek Wildlife Area.
  4. Hike the Donner Lake Rim Trail.
  5. Mountain biker? Challenge yourself at Hole in the Ground.
  6. Go fishing. Catch a Rainbow, Brown or Kokanee (fishing licenses and advice are available at Mountain Hardware & Sports).
  7. Climb a rock face.
  8. Learn to rock climb with National Ski Training & Climbing Center.
  9. Go backpacking. Take in spectacular sunsets and fall asleep under the stars at Paradise Lake. Too chilly? Take in the incredible views on a Castle Peak day hike.

10. Shred on concrete. Visit Truckee’s skate park. Hike or bike Sawtooth Trail Ridge.

11. Slow down. Pick up the Historic Downtown Truckee Walking Map at the California Welcome Center in The Depot and stroll through little ‘ole Truckee.

12. Join Walktober, the free wellness program hosted by the Tahoe Center for Health and Sports Performance. Walktober encourages 10,000 steps a day and includes informative weekly e-mails and raffles. Stop by TCHSP to register.

13. Soar over spectacular scenery. Take a glider ride.

14. Hike to Martis Peak from the trailhead just south of Brockway Summit off of Highway 267.

15. Tee it up. Golf with your buddies or the ladies.

16. Play disk golf at Truckee Regional Park or Sierra College.

17. Bag a peak.

18. Learn to fly fish.

19. Join Tahoe Trips & Trails for an endurance hike (Oct. 19).

20. Create your own adventure. Find ideas on the Sierra Geotourism map at sierranevadageotourism.org.

Feed your creativity

21. Astounding lake and mountain views beckon. Write or sketch in your journal or get lost in a great book.

22. Host a fall harvest-themed dinner party.

23. Find inspiration in a gratitude painting class or open studio at Arts in Wellness.

24. Explore your potential with Tangled Roots Writing.

25. Visit the Carmel Gallery.

26. Draft a Haiku based on something you see in Truckee.

27. Take a glass fusing class at T Potts Pottery.

28. Check out the artwork on display at the Truckee Airport.

29. Host a pumpkin carving and seasoned pumpkin seed gathering with friends.

30. Jam.

31. Enroll in one of Sierra College, Tahoe-Truckee’s semester drawing, design, painting or ceramics classes. Enrollment begins on Nov. 20 and spring semester begins on Jan. 27.

32. Bike or drive up Old Highway 40 for great views of Donner Lake.

33. Take photos.

Immerse yourself in local culture

34. Give back. Truckee River Day on Oct. 20 features outdoor restoration projects from 9 and 11 a.m. After volunteering, enjoy live music, entertainment, Lahontan cutthroat trout release and delicious bites at the River Fair at Granite Flat Campground from 1 to 4 p.m.

35. Read Nona McGlashan’s “Give me a Mountain Meadow,” a captivating account of Charles Fayette McGlashan, Truckee’s dynamic lawyer and editor who publicized the story of the Donner Party and played a huge role in the town’s history. The book is available from the Truckee Donner Historical Society.

36. Immerse yourself in Donner Summit history: Markers along old Highway 40 identify sites such as where Native Americans and the first wagon trains crossed, as well as the route of the first transcontinental railroad and the Lincoln Highway. The 20-mile museum includes 29 interpretive signs from Eagle Lakes (Interstate 80 exit 164) to Rainbow Bridge. Each sign includes historical photographs and tells a great story.

37. Be wowed by the talented, internationally recognized Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company performing live at Truckee High School on Oct. 18. Already booked? Save the date for Story Pirates on Nov. 8 or Cedric Watson and Dirk Powell on Dec. 13. All brought to the community by Arts For the Schools.

38. Visit Truckee Library.

39. Bundle up for a late afternoon of bocce and refreshments at the Truckee River Winery.

40. Sip and give during The Pour House’s $5 Third Thursday wine tastings.

41. Join in the fun at the 28th annual Far West Nordic Auction/Raffle on Oct. 26 at the Truckee Community Recreation Center at 6 p.m. with live and silent auction items, raffle prizes, and food and drinks.

42. Tune into Tahoe’s local station at 101.5.

43. Ditch the home theater. Catch a movie at the cozy Northstar Village Cinema.

44. Gain insights on green building practices during Truckee’s annual Green Building Tour on Oct. 26.

45. Connect with community happenings in The Weekly.

46. Catch a Truckee High School football game.

47. Vacation without even travelling. Enjoy a staycation at a local resort.


Kimberly Rose-Smith and Nena Pye at New Moon Natural Foods

Delight in culinary treats

48. Have lunch at the Red Truck Café at the Truckee Airport. Don’t miss the delicious, chewy daily cookie selection.

49. Completely unwind at Stella. Enjoy a delicious dinner in the most intimate and relaxing venue in town. One October menu highlight includes the Louisiana Surf and Turf comprised of frog leg lollipops, sautéed crawfish and popcorn grits.

50. Savor the some of the best coffee and coffee art in town at the CoffeeBar on Jibboom Street.

51. Catch up with a friend or make a new one over a craft beer at Mellow Fellow.

52. Dragonfly offers 50 percent off the dinner menu every evening in November so whether you are a resident or passing through, enjoy Locals’ Appreciation Month.

53. Fuel up at the Taco Station.

54. Treat yourself to one of the best sandwiches in town at the Full Belly Deli.

55. Ward off a cold or simply nourish your taste buds from the made-to-order juice bar at New Moon Natural Foods.

56. Enjoy a slice or two of authentic New York-style pizza at Best Pies.

57. Enjoy vegetarian chili with all the fixings and a cornbread muffin at Wild Cherries.

58. Enroll in a Friday evening hands-on cooking class at Manzanita.

59. Take pleasure in a St. Germaine cocktail over live tunes at Moody’s Bistro Bar & Beats.

60. Enjoy the Paesano special (or any dish) at Pianeta.

61. Splurge for a bite at Trokay.

62. Meet some locals over Grand Marnier French Toast at Smokey’s.

63. Head to Squeeze In for mimosas and brunch.

64. Enjoy a Cesar Salad overlooking historic downtown Truckee from Cottonwood.

65. Indulge in Chef Marty Carlton’s new dinner menu at Marty’s Café – coming soon.

66. Enjoy deals from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Bar of America.

67. Host a beer tasting at home with a handful of brews from the massive 400 choices at Tahoe Mountain Brewery Artisanal Bottle Shop.

68. Split two giant cupcakes at Tahoe Cakery.

69. Bring your favorite bottle of wine for No Corkage Tuesdays at The Lodge.

70. Burger, sweet potato fries and a thick milkshake at Burger Me. Yum.

71. Bake an apple pie.

Mind, body & spirit

72. “Find your inner child and play,” shares artist Nancy Lopez, founder of Truckee-Tahoe’s annual Trails & Vistas art hikes.

73. Dance with InnerRhythms.

74. Strengthen. Enroll in a pre-season training regimen.

75. Breathe, stretch, reach new heights. Choose your guru: Namaste Holistic Healing and Yoga Center, Yoga Studio Tahoe, Tahoe Yoga and Wellness Center or Tahoe Mountain Martial Arts and Yoga.

76. Strengthen at The Bar Effect.

77. Embrace a new furry family member. The Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe hosts Adoption Days every Friday and Saturday from noon to 3 p.m.

78. Peruse the lending library and community workshops at For Goodness Sake.

79. Let your body be your guide and teacher. Bend, twirl and shift your weight with a respectful group of dancers every (or any) Friday night with Sierra Conscious Dance.

80. Discover intriguing staff picks at Bookshelf.

81. Participate in Sierra College Insights, a no-cost, alcohol-free evening program located on the Tahoe-Truckee campus. Upcoming programs include hands-on printmaking on Nov. 15 and “Unexpected encounters in Nepal” on Jan. 31.

82. Indulge with an autumn-inspired massage or facial at the Ritz-Carlton Spa, Lake Tahoe.

Extra fun with kids

83. Identify trees along the Nature Trail and check out the Pioneer Monument in Donner Memorial State Park.

84. Enjoy West End Beach before all the days of autumn slip by.

85. Hike the family and dog friendly trails to Negro Canyon Overlook in Tahoe Donner.

86. Plan a special weekend meal including foraged pine nuts.

87. Test your ability to go with the flow at the Pump Track on Joerger Drive.

88. Visit the KidZone Museum (geared for ages 2 to 5).

89. Collect pinecones and, after baking for 30 minutes at 200 degrees, decorate with gold spray paint and creative touches, or collect pine needle, bark, lichen and whatever piques your interest for a nature art project at home.

90. Take a workshop at the Kindred Art and Folk Institute located at the Truckee Community Arts Center.

91. Celebrate Halloween with the downtown Truckee parade and Trick or Treating at the Community Art Center at 6 p.m. on Oct. 25.

92. Not-So-Scary Haunted House in Tahoe Donner offers fun for little ones from 5 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 25.

93. Catch a free Friday night movie at the Northwoods Clubhouse.



Begin (and finish) holiday shopping

94. Discover great gifts ad stocking stuffers for everyone on your list.

95. Spread the word about Truckee with any gift from California 89 or a treat from Sweets Handmade Candies.

96. Find children’s books and adorable outfits at the Tree House.

97. Find deals on climbing and disc golf gear at the Sports Exchange on West River Street.

98. Treat yourself to something original. My picks for not-to-miss shops in historic downtown Truckee include Riverside Studios, Bespoke, Carmel Gallery and Glasforms Glassblowing.

99. Find a great deal for yourself at one of the local consignment or thrift shops: Mountain Kids, Echo Blue and Tahoe Forest Hospital Hospice Thrift Store.

  1. Stroll Historic Downtown Truckee during First Fridays, a time when many shops offer extended hours and refreshments from 5 to 8 p.m.: Nov. 1, Dec. 6 and Jan. 3 (First Friday of every month).
  2. Did I miss one of your favorite fall activities? Comment on facebook.com/TheTahoeWeekly or e-mail nicole@nicolecheslock.com.

For details on upcoming events see the Events calendar in every issue of The Weekly or at TheTahoeWeekly.com.

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Nicole Cheslock

Hailing from the northeast, a love of skiing first attracted Nicole to the area. The scenic hikes along the Tahoe Rim Trail, long days of sunshine, refreshing summer dips and brilliant blue sky encouraged her to call this place home. Nicole holds a master’s degree from Stanford Graduate School of Education, specializes in action-oriented education program evaluation and supports career connections for Sierra College, Tahoe-Truckee. She lives with her husband and son in Truckee.