Ugggghhh, I am not happy about this return to winter! I am ready for long, sunny days at the lake, hikes, mountain biking, and drinking beer on patios. We’re in for quite a stretch of rainy days, but luckily there’s plenty of things to do in Truckee and Tahoe when the weather isn’t great.
Bars, Breweries and Restaurants
Eating and drinking is always a fun indoor activity, and this area has a number of great ones. Here are some of my favorites:
- Alibi Ale Works Brewery (Truckee & Incline Village): This brewery has awesome beer and something going on most nights of the week – from outdoor movies to trivia to knitting to open mikes to charity bingo to live music, there’s something for almost everyone. Check out my brewery review here!
- Cottonwood Restaurant & Bar and Moody’s Bistro (Truckee): For a fancier night out in Truckee, these two restaurants are my favorites. Cottonwood has an amazing view of downtown Truckee and Moody’s is perfectly located for bar hopping after dinner. Both restaurants have great food and fun cocktails.
- West Shore Pizza (Tahoma): This place has my favorite pizza in the area, great beer, and a casual, laid back atmosphere that makes it a great place to hang out while it’s raining.
- Artemis Lakefront Cafe (South Lake Tahoe): If you want to eat with a lake view while staying dry, I love Artemis Lakefront Cafe in South Lake’s Ski Run Marina. Their whole menu is amazing, but especially their brunch food (Baklava French toast? Come on!). They also have a full bar, so you can get a real Bloody Mary. Artemis has two locations with great food, but only the Lakefront Cafe has brunch and view.
- South Lake Brewing Company (South Lake Tahoe): Located in the more industrial part of town, South Lake Brewing Company is worth the trek. Their beer is great (be sure to try the Trail Builder Pale if it’s on draft – proceeds from this beer benefit TAMBA). The big warehouse setting means there’s plenty of room for games, well behaved dogs, and large groups.
While Tahoe and Truckee are known for their outdoor activities, there are a ton of fun things to do indoors (even ones that don’t involve the casinos!) if you know where to look. Here are some of my favorites.
- Go see a movie at Tahoe Art Haus (Tahoe City). This awesome theater serves beer, wine, and gourmet popcorn and is locally owned. They have a great mix of blockbusters (the staff all dresses up for Star Wars movies!), indie movies, outdoor films, and local events.
- High Altitude Fitness (Incline Village) and Blue Granite (Meyers): If it’s too wet to climb outside, there are a couple of great climbing gyms in the area. I’ve spent a lot of time climbing at High Altitude Fitness, which has top roping, auto belay and bouldering, as well as a high end gym feel, including a sauna and smoothie bar. I haven’t actually climbed at Blue Granite yet, but have heard rave reviews from friends who have.
- If yoga is more your speed, I recommend Tahoe Yoga & Wellness (Truckee), Tahoe Yoga Shala (South Lake Tahoe). I’ve also taken some really fun aerial yoga/aerial arts classes at Inversion Tahoe.
- There’s frequently great live music in the Truckee-Tahoe area. Some of the best venues to check out are The Divided Sky (Meyers), Crystal Bay Club (Crystal Bay), and the casinos in South Lake Tahoe.
Get Outside Anyway
With the right gear and some planning, there are plenty of outdoor activities to do in the rain. Hiking is probably the easiest activity to do in the rain – all you need is a raincoat and some waterproof shoes!
- I love my Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket with a light layer underneath, since I’m going to be working up a sweat. I usually wear either my SmartWool Hoody or a midweight Patagonia Capilene for my base layer. For shoes, wet hikes are about the only time I switch trail runners for my KEEN Targhee Mid Waterproof light hikers. If it’s really wet or I’m going to be out for a long time, I’d replace the yoga pants I normally wear hiking with lightweight waterproof pants, like Columbia Saturday Trail Pants.
- Since it’s still early season, a lot of the higher hiking trails haven’t melted out yet. The best bet for rainy day, spring hiking in Truckee and Tahoe are the lower elevation trails. My recommendations are Powerline Trail (South Lake Tahoe), Fallen Leaf Lake Trail (South Lake Tahoe), Emigrant Trail (Truckee), and Sagehen Creek Loop Trail (Truckee).
Biking is a little more challenging in the rain, but doable, especially if you stick to roads, gravel and paved trail. Most of the mountain bike trails in Truckee and Tahoe aren’t designed to be ridden in the wet, and will get damaged or destroyed if ridden while muddy. As much as I hate doing it, I stay off the trails until they’ve dried out enough to be safely ridden.
- My rainy biking gear is pretty similar to hiking, with a rain coat and light baselayer. My raincoat is bright orange, which is great for visibility, but if you have a darker or more neutral color, maybe add a lightweight safety vest for visibility. I skip the rain pants and wear thick, knicker length pants – the Pearl Izumi Sugar Thermal Tights. I also wear full finger gloves when it’s rainy and cold. The Giro LA DND work great for this. There is all sorts of other gear for long road rides in the rain, like shoe covers, under helmet hats, etc., but honestly, my rides in the rain don’t last long enough to need it.
- My recommended rainy day road rides are the Donner Lake Loop (Truckee), the Olympic Valley to Tahoe City Bike Path (Tahoe City) and exploring the miles of bike paths in South Lake Tahoe.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I receive a small percentage of the sale as compensation – at no additional cost to you. I promise to only recommend products that I use and enjoy!