river rafting truckee river, ca

river rafting truckee river, caRiver rafting the Truckee River.  photo: cari noel

Last year (2010), the Truckee River between Tahoe City and River Ranch (Alpine Meadows) didn’t open up to commercial river rafting until July 12th. This was way too late for for local rafting companies to cash in on the 4th of July rafting madness.  This year will be about the same.  4th of July weekend is when the majority of the Tahoe City summer rafting revenue is generated.

If you have your own raft, you can raft independently. But, the water is super low and it’ll likely be kinda rough.

mellow rafting the truckee river, caFloating the Truckee River won’t be an option this 4th of July weekend.  photo:  igougo.com

The Truckee River will be CLOSED to commercial rafting again this 4th of July weekend.


– The Truckee is flowing at only 300 cubic feet per second (cfs) which isn’t enough water to keep your ass from scraping the whole way down the river.

Ok, so why’s it flowing so low if we had such a huge winter?

– Federal law states that the Truckee River at Floriston, CA (18 miles downstream of Truckee, CA) must be flowing at 500 cfs or less before they can open the Lake Tahoe dam in Tahoe City, CA.

– Right now the Floriston Rate is 1,500 cfs which is 1,000 cfs over the 500 cfs limit.

– Thus, the Truckee River Watermaster cannot open the dam to Lake Tahoe and let more water into the Truckee River until the Floriston Rate falls to 500 cfs.

– This is done to prevent flooding downstream towards Reno, NV.

– In 2010, the Floriston Rate didn’t reach 500 cfs until July 12.  This year will be even later.

rafting the truckee river, ca summerParty rafting the Truckee River.  photo:  igougo.com

Truckee River Raft Company, in Tahoe City, makes a big chunk of their annual income over the 4th of July weekend.  Truckee River Raft Co. employs 80 people during the summer and those employees won’t work a day until the Truckee opens to rafting.

Rafting, or really floating the Truckee river has been going thru some growing pains as of late.  It’s easily the most popular and fun thing to do over the 4th of July weekend.  In 2008, the state of California banned alcohol from the river on 4th of July weekend. This was a huge blow to rafters as that IS what you do as you lazily float down the river for hours.  It’s damn fun, too.  Fortunately, you can still drink as you float down on any other weekend besides the weekend of the 4th.

drinking and rafting the truckee river, caBoozing at “party island” on the Truckee on 4th of July weekend, banned since 2008.  photo:  sierrasun.com

Local businesses are hit hard by the lack of business during the 4th of July weekend as well. Tahoe City in general won’t be as busy this year, just like last, due to the river being closed to rafting.  Restaurant, shops, gas stations, and grocery stores will be affected by the closure this weekend.

Further down river (as show in cover photo) the river is great for rafting.  Tahoe Whitewater Tours is rafting everyday in epic conditions from Hirschdale, CA to Floriston, CA. In reality, this is a great chance to give Tahoe Whitewater Tours a buzz (1.800.442.7238), step up your game this year, and raft the real part of the Truckee while it’s at one of it’s highest summer flows.

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