Prior to our visit to the Cedar House Sport Hotel in January, I had only ever driven through Truckee before—and in summer, at that. In winter, it is a much bleaker picture entirely, though still beautiful nonetheless.
While there, SVV had one of his weekly crippling migraines, which meant he was resigned to a day under the covers, in total darkness, and Ella and I were banished to the outdoor world. So we bundled up, strapped on my camera and set out on foot to explore the town.
Just 85 miles from Coloma—where gold was first discovered (and really close to where SVV and I got engaged!)—Truckee was a key player in the Gold Rush back in the 1800s, and traces of this historical era are etched into its buildings and character.
The town was first settled in the 1860s when a new railroad went up over the Sierra Nevadas, though its most famous inhabitants were the Donner Party, who tried to cross the Donner Pass but wound up spending one very brutal winter in Truckee instead. In 1960, it would become more widely known as the host of the winter Olympics, many events of which took place at nearby Squaw Valley.
The downtown area is divided by an Amtrak train line. As I don’t know any Truckee locals, I can’t say with authority which side is “the good side of the tracks.”
Seeing as the town hadn’t been hit by snow in nearly a month, my companion was caked with black sludge by the end of our adventure.
You can cover the whole town by foot in 20 minutes or so; we spent a bit longer and looped Truckee three or four times, stopping in many of its trinket shops, to kill a couple hours. But once you get out of the downtown and head south toward the lake, you’ll be surrounded by a barren, ice-capped wilderness until you reach King Beach in the east, Tahoe City in the west. According to the Truckee Donner Historical Society, for the past three ice ages, the Truckee Basin was covered by glaciers.
Just do yourself a favor and take a moment to pull over and admire the view.
*All photos taken with a Canon T1i and Canon 17-85mm lens, housed in a LowePro SlingShot.
**For more Photo Friday fun, visit Delicious Baby.
I love Truckee. I love the whole Tahoe area.
Love that long view with the low fog.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out how enjoyable and pretty Truckee was when we visited. There was something about the name – Truckee — maybe because it has the word ‘truck’ in it, that made me think of a town completely different than what it turned out to be :p
I agree! Given the name, I always just assumed it was some rundown truck stop town, too!
I love Truckee. An old California town! What did you think of the Cedar House Lodge?
It was nice…definitely more Euro-style than anything else we’re used to in California. Very low, modern furnishings–sort of looked like a fancy IKEA. The food at the restaurant, Stella, was the best meal I’ve had anywhere in Tahoe. Have you been?
No, but it’s always been on my list. Good to know the restaurant is amazing! Jealous you are having an epic ski season in Switzerland. We’ve had a horrible winter for snow (wonderful for sun) in Switzerland.
Truckee is so quaint, I love spending time there. I just wish there was more of it!
Love these glimpses from Truckee. I’d never heard of the place until I took the California Zephyr last year…I met a guy who was getting off the train there, but misunderstood – I thought he was telling me he was a ‘truckie’ (truck driver)…then he got off at Truckee and I had an AH HA! moment 😀
HA! I don’t blame you. When I moved out to California, I’m pretty sure I thought the same. It definitely does not sound as quaint and cute as it is… Love that you did the Zephyr! I’ve written about it but yet to have the chance to actually ride the full route. But train travel is my favorite!
What a quaint town! I love how you tote your dog with you as well. So cute 🙂
I’m training her to be a digital nomad =)
That 2nd to last photo is spectacular!!! WOW!
I am looking at Truckee in a WHOLE new light!
It’s prettier than you’d think given the name, right?
I love the fuzzy photo of the girl with the camera. HOW did you do that??? Details, please!
Haha, it’s actually not fuzzy, but rather dirty glass instead! The dirty glass from the snow made Ella and I reflect three times when we stood in front of it. I love reflection shots, so I was that idiot taking pictures of herself and her dog in an abandoned office window while people walked by and stared =)
Nice pictures! Truckee has its great mark in history. I love the view.
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