When you think about water activities in and around Lake Tahoe, you probably think of everything you do one the lake – boating, swimming, fishing, water skiing. But one of my favorite summer water activities actually has nothing to do with the lake – it’s floating the rivers around it!
Just imagine a day floating in your inner-tube, under the warm sun, on a gently moving river. In my version, there’s usually a cooler of beverages strapped to the tube. 🙂 Families – this is a great activity for your kids too. Just be sure to equip them with some water guns to soak the people you pass (this is totally acceptable on the rivers around here!).
There are two areas where you can access river floats. Both offer something different:
South Upper Truckee River Float
This float is closest to Heavenly and offers a relaxing float through some beautiful scenery. Put in off Hwy 50 and Elks Club Roadand park where the Flea Market is held on the weekends. You can choose to do the long or short versions of this float. The short version is about three hours long. You’ll want to exit the river once you float under highway 50 next to the Dragon Buffet and Motel 6. To do the longer version (full day) float until you end up at the output to Lake Tahoe.
Truckee River Float (Tahoe City)
The more popular of the river floats around the lake, this one takes off in Tahoe City. Find The Dam Cafe and you’ll see rafting companies offering tubes and shuttles between the put in and out. Put in at the same spot these rafting companies do and you’re off for a 2 hour float that ends at the River Ranch Restaurant (great place to grab a drink and some grub post-float!). Don’t be surprised if you come across some people armed with water-guns along the banks who will take no mercy in hosing you down as you float by. 🙂
Before you embark on your floating adventure, here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Plan transportation ahead of time. You may want to have two cars ready – one to drop you at the beginning and one waiting for you at the end. There are also some companies that will shuttle you as part of your tube rental.
2. Have the right equipment. Make sure your tube is fully inflated and doesn’t have any leaks. I also like to bring water shoes to help protect my feet if I have to walk in the river. A dry bag is great for storing car keys, phones etc. Finally, a paddle can prove useful when you get into some slow areas and need a little help.
3. Wear sunscreen! Duh.
4. Bring some snacks/drinks. Yes, you’re just sitting in a raft, but being out in the sun can leave you famished and dehydrated.
5. Pack out whatever you bring in. Help keep the beauty of the rivers intact and make sure you take with you whatever you brought. That means NO beer cans floating in the river, okay?!
That should cover the basics of what you need to know to have an amazing day floating the rivers around Lake Tahoe. If you have questions, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them!