Over the 4th of July, I was lucky enough to spend some time in Tahoe. Lake Tahoe, specifically the north shore, is very dear to my heart. One thing I have loved doing over the years is rafting down the Truckee.
You can rent a raft through one of the rental companies. I recommend Truckee River Rafting. You can bring your own raft, but then you don’t get to take advantage of the free ride back. Plus, their rafts are so much sturdier and easier to maneuver, it’s a must when you have young kiddos. If you use Truckee River Rafting you can book online to get a discount and if you book an early time, you get another discount. Plus, kids 2-5 are free. I took Lyla last year and she loved it so I thought Brady would enjoy it this year. It’s a 2-3 hour tour ride that spans about 5 miles from the “Y” in Tahoe City to River Ranch by Alpine Meadows. It’s slow and there are some rapids, but they’re not crazy. Plan to pull over several times to get out and cool off. Pack a lunch and a water gun or two. I did not bring my camera, but I brought my phone in a hard case that was waterproof.
They give you life jackets, but approve of the kiddos wearing the puddle jumpers. Truth be told, Lyla is a strong swimmer so I let her take her jacket off after a little while. It was pretty uncomfortable. But B kept his puddle jumper on the whole time.
This is a disgusting pipe that bridges the river known as “Gum Bridge”. It’s been like this as long as I can remember. Yuck. The kids thinks it’s funny. You’ll go under about 4-5 bridges. The kids always think it’s exciting!
The kids got out of the raft a lot to goof around, climb on rocks, and wade in the water. There were plenty of awesome photo ops! It makes the trip a little longer, but also way more fun!! There is a current, but it’s not that strong. Of course, I was still yelling, “Brady, don’t get too far away from me! The river will take you!”. Yeah, I think people thought I was a whackado. Oh well. I put the kids in water shoes, but Lou kept taking hers off. Also, I had to pull over to put B in time out. He was being a real crabby patty for the first half of the trip.
We packed a picnic lunch and enjoyed it on the side of the river.
There are a few port-o-potties along the way for your convenience.
There was also this guy selling son cones. FYI – he only takes cash.
There were several logs to climb on along the way. The kids wanted to stop at each one. This one was in about waist-deep water. I was holding their hands and walking them along it. I didn’t bring my water shoes, so I was barefoot and this was a really rocky part of the river.
The rocks weren’t that painful until I lost a toenail. Ouch!
We made it to River Ranch! You could walk to River Ranch Lodge and have a drink or a meal and watch all the people come down the river. It’s actually very entertaining. The area behind us is like a whirlpool with the water moving in a circular motion. It’s dumped from the toughest rapids on the ride (not really tough). When people ride the rapids and get dumped into the whirlpool at River Ranch, they have to work hard to get their raft to a specific spot to turn it in at the rental company check-ins. It’s not always easy and the rafters on this river aren’t typically pros. So it’s pretty fun to watch!
I think B could have skipped the raft ride altogether and just rode a bus instead. This was his most favorite part of the day!
They have a photographer at the beginning that take your group pic for you. You can buy them at the end for $10. It’s a good moment and probable the only group shot you’ll get on your raft the whole trip.
Make some memories and Raft the Truckee! It’s a fun time!