Rafting the Truckee River

Difficulty: Class III (one IV)
Length: 6 miles
Flows: 800 cfs – 2500 cfs
Gradient: 25 ft/mi
Put-in: Boca
Take-out: Floriston
Season: April – August

The Truckee is great beginner run if your in North Lake Tahoe, Truckee, or Reno and looking for something fun to do on a hot summer day. The rapids are fun and the river is cold. The river follows Interstate 80 for much of its course which detracts from the quality of this run although it is hardly noticeable until the end.

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The Truckee begins as the Upper Truckee up near Carson Pass and flows into Lake Tahoe. Water is released from the far end of the lake at a dam which controls the lake level and provides reliable summer releases. There are many options available for renting rafts for the scenic Class I float from the dam to River Ranch. Below here are many miles of river that a kayaker or small rafter may enjoy, but the best rafting section of river begins near the confluence of the Truckee with the Little Truckee below Boca Reservoir.

The whitewater below put-in is mostly Class II and III boulder dodging. The one rapid of note is the Class IV rapid Bronco which occurs just before take-out and is visible from Interstate 80. It can be scouted while leaving a car at take-out. Class III paddlers will typically portage along the nearby railroad tracks.

Below Floriston the river is runnable all the way through Reno. The three diversion dams have been known to be run, but are very dangerous. Consult Creekin.net’s Truckee River Page for more information, stories, and logistics about the Truckee River below Floriston.

The Truckee River runs through Reno, which is the site of the new whitewater park. The new $1.5 million park is a mecca for kayakers, but also has some surf holes that could be fun for a raft. The increasing popularity of the park will bring more Reno-ites into the rafting world and on the Truckee River.


To Boca (put-in): Drive seven miles east of Truckee and then north to the river. You can put in on the Little Truckee or the main Truckee depending on how you feel. If you’re coming from Reno drop a car at the Floriston exit on your way up Interstate 80 and take the Boca exit for put-in.

To Floriston (take-out): Get yourself on Interstate 80 and head towards Reno. You’ll see the Truckee River. Take the Floriston exit and park by the bridge. If you end up in Reno you’ve gone way too far.


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