One of the best places for road running in the Truckee area isn’t a road at all –it’s the Legacy Trail. The Legacy Trail is a 4.2-mile paved multipurpose path winding above the south bank of the Truckee River.
Near the town of Truckee, the Truckee River bends 90 degrees from its northern flow out of Lake Tahoe and turns east toward the California/Nevada state line. For four miles downstream of Truckee, the Legacy Trail parallels the river’s ebbs and flows. Rock outcroppings, tall pines, historical landmarks, and the rush of the river itself make this popular trail a memorable spot for a paved run.
What Makes It Great
The Truckee River’s north bank contains the Town of Truckee, the Transcontinental Railroad, neighborhoods, and busy Glenshire Drive. The south bank of the Truckee River contains only three prominent features: A regional park, miles of open space, and the Legacy Trail. The combination of the latter creates the perfect setting for a relaxing run away from busy streets and loud vehicles.
The Legacy Trail begins in the Truckee Regional Park, south-east of downtown Truckee, and ends at the community of Glenshire. The trail rolls up and down, but matches the grade of the river for the most part. Just before the bridge over Martis Creek, near the end of the trail, look to your right for the stone walls of a former ice dam, used to cut blocks of ice which were sold in Nevada mining towns during the Comstock Lode era.
Beyond the crossing of Martis Creek the trail rises through a series of switchbacks and climbs out of the green and gold river corridor and up onto the rocky bluff overlooking the entire watershed. Turn up the short side-trail to a lookout near the top for outstanding views. An out and back from Truckee would thus have two climbs: the steep push at the end, and a slight incline on the return as one runs upstream.
This is a multipurpose trail, so watch for cyclists, strollers, skateboarders, and wet dogs running between the river and their owners on the trail.
Who is Going to Love It
Those looking for an alternative to the small-shouldered Truckee Area road system will love this run. Beginner runners will as well, due to the easy grade and shade along the path. The run can be done as an 8.4-mile out-and-back, or as a 4.1-mile shuttle. For those looking for a little shorter route, park at the end of East River Street just outside of downtown Truckee. Cross the bridge beyond the small parking area and you will link onto the Legacy Trail already over 1 mile downstream of the Regional Park.
Nature lovers of all ability should love this run too. Watch for waterfowl riding the riffles and woodpeckers darting through the pines. As the landscape opens nears the rocky bluffs, birds of prey including ospreys and red-tailed hawks can be seen soaring high above.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From downtown Truckee, take Bridge Street south and cross the Truckee River. Within a ¼ mile, Bridge Street turns into Old Brockway Rd. Continue on Old Brockway Road for less than a ½ mile and then turn left into the Truckee Regional Park. The Legacy Trail begins on the west side of the parking lot. Parking is free in the Regional Park, but space can be limited, especially on summer evenings. Parking is free in the small parking area on East River Street as well.