The Ultimate Guide to River Rafting in Truckee!

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This Bliss Life 9/18/2022 This Bliss Life

There are two companies to choose from when you want to try river rafting in Truckee. The two main companies are Truckee River Raft Company and Truckee River Rafting. For the purposes of this article, I’ll be focusing on Truckee River Raft Company although both have similar processes! Read on for the ultimate guide to river rafting in Truckee!

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Reserving a Spot for River Rafting in Truckee

Truckee River Raft Company offers online reservations. We printed the waivers ahead of time and Truckee River Rafting Company provided very clear and easy-to-use instructions for how the experience would go. Make sure to complete the waiver form online so check-in won’t take long.

Tickers are priced as follows:

$60 Adults Ages 13+

$40 Children Ages 6-12

Free Toddlers Ages 2-5

Rafting the Truckee River Raft- Our Experience

We arrived at the launch site in Tahoe City around 8:30 after parking and catching the bus near River Ranch. Each party visiting the Truckee River Raft Company gets loaded into a large raft with paddles. The rafts are fairly large and while we had 4 people, we saw rafts of up to 8 people. One great aspect of this experience is there was no sharing with other parties.

Truckee River Raft Company is also VERY dog friendly, as in, you can bring your dogs because they might love rafting with you. The staff accommodates well-behaved dogs as if they’re one of your kids.

The river itself was calm the day we floated it and we each took turns paddling. During our float, we saw ducks, geese, and chipmunks. The water level in Truckee River ranges from knee-deep to areas of more than three feet. We stopped and had lunch on a random rock island and watched other parties float by.

© Provided by This Bliss Life There are two companies to choose from when you want to try river rafting in Truckee. The two main companies are Truckee River Raft Company and Truckee River Rafting. For the purposes of this article, I’ll be focusing on Truckee River Raft Company although both have similar processes! Read on for the ultimate guide to . Read More about The Ultimate Guide to River Rafting in Truckee!

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Chances are you WILL get stuck along the river on rocks or on the banks. The easiest thing to do is have rafters carefully bounce to break loose. Toward the end of the river run where the strongest rapids are, we got caught in a strong current that pushed our raft into a large rock and we were stuck! Trying to paddle against the rapids and move to break free was exhausting especially since we were at the end of the trip.

When you are done with your float, your car is already there across from the River Ranch, and you don’t have to get in a shuttle bus all wet and drive back a ways to get your car!

How Long does River Rafting in Truckee take?

For groups that paddle the entire way, the journey will take about 2.5 hours. You can easily extend it to 3-4 hours if you take your time including stopping along the spots to relax or eat lunch.

What to Bring for River Rafting in Truckee

Truckee River Raft Company has a little store that sells items like sunscreen, hats, and tee shirts. I would recommend bringing your own hats and sunscreen in advance to save some money and protect yourself from the sun.


Sunscreen is super important as the river doesn’t offer much shade. Our favorite environmentally friendly sunscreen is La Roche Posay or Sun Bum.

Water Proof Bag

We anticipated our kids getting out of the raft and splashing so we invested in waterproof bags. Turns out they were a lifesaver because water got in the raft even though we thought we were being careful. We were able to pack our belongings in the bags and they were small enough that they didn’t take much room in the raft.

Save yourself the headache and get waterproof bags to keep everything dry. If you don’t have belonging except for a cell phone this waterproof cell phone case is a good option.

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Water Shoes

Bring water shoes if you have them so you can get out and walk around in the creek, in some of the beautiful shallow spots along the way. Flip flops also will work but I’m glad we got some inexpensive water shoes since some stops along the river are incredibly muddy.

Small Cooler

A small cooler for snacks and drinks is necessary on the river especially if you intend to stop along the way!

Can you pull off at any point and sit and enjoy some lunch?

Yes! There are so many spots on the banks or islands to stop and enjoy lunch or a snack.


Half-day Class II-III Rafting Trips on the Truckee River

These fun 1/2 day Truckee River rafting trips are the closest white water rafting to most locations in Lake Tahoe and Reno. The Boca to Floriston trip is an exciting guided Class 2-3 adventure usually available all summer. The trip is suitable for kids ages 10+ and non swimmers!

Truckee River – 1/2 Day Rafting Trip

Rafting the Truckee River

Several reservoirs and lakes (Boca, Donner and Stampede) supply the summer water on these sections of river, not just Lake Tahoe. The Boca rafting trip is often available when the raft rentals are closed (due to high or low water). Be sure to call us if in doubt, as unfortunately some seasonal hotel workers are not always so well informed.

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This section of the Truckee River heads east from Truckee towards Reno. The river travels from the higher elevation pine forests and flows into the High Sierra desert, with cottonwoods lining the banks.

RESERVATIONS ARE ALWAYS REQUIRED on this popular trip, so please book well in advance. During peak season and particularly around July 4th, the afternoon trips can fill up weeks in advance. Space is limited.

Reserve well in advance for and Holidays and Saturday afternoon trips – don’t miss out !

This is NOT the raft rentals out of Tahoe City, which is often not open when we ARE running.

There are also some sections of Truckee River suitable for self guided floats at certain times in the summer.

The Truckee River is 7 miles long between the Boca reservoir raft put in and the Floriston take out. There are mainly Class II rapids with a mile of several Class III rapids in the last mile including Bronco and Jaws rapid.

The best way to float on the Truckee River is with a guided white water rafting professional outfitter. The section from Boca reservoir to Floriston features many technical rock gardens and large Class III rapids towards the end of the run.

There are also some sections of Truckee River suitable for self guided floats at certain times in the summer.

Truckee River RV Park
10068 Hirschdale Rd
Truckee, CA 96161

There are always roadworks in the Reno and Tahoe area throughout the summer, so PLEASE allow extra time. We suggest coming into the Truckee area for breakfast or lunch so you are in the area ahead of time. The meeting location has an onsite deli open for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

About Tributary Whitewater

Tributary Whitewater Tours has been running white water rafting trips in Northern California & beyond since 1978. The company was originally founded by Dan Buckley, an integral player in the development of white water rafting in California. Dan Buckley’s love to share the excitement, wonder, and natural beauty that rivers have to offer with others lives on with the current owner, Jeremiah Copper.

Tributary continues to be an industry leader in the west coast rafting industry. We offer more rivers than any other outfitter, giving us the ability to accommodate younger kids down to ages 4 (thru our own experience as parents). Our team is one a kind, and everyone in our staff, from guides, to drivers, to the folks answering the phones – we all have a passion for what we do.

The rivers call to us for different reasons, be that extreme white water, fishing, enjoying nature or just experiencing new things & places. There is magic in every river trip. For some, you may first see a bald eagle in flight for the first time, or maybe conquer your first Class 5 rapid. We are here to help you choose your perfect adventure, for any excitement level.

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Truckee River Recreation Map – Learn about everything there is to see along the river!


The Truckee River Recreation Map is a guide to river activities along the Truckee River. Learn about everything there is to do along the river and get informed about the obstacles you need to avoid! Take this map with you whenever you’re rafting, boating, ‘tubing, fishing, swimming, or just relaxing!

The map illustrates all dams, river access, hot fishing spots, parks, drinking water, and telephones from Truckee to Tracy. Points of interest are indicated by mile notations. Rapid locations and level of difficulty are also clearly marked.

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