Outside with Charlie: Rafting denied

By From page A9 | August 01, 2014


If your summertime fun includes heading up to Tahoe City to rent a raft for the float down the Truckee River to the River Ranch restaurant, you won’t like this.

Sad but true, the river rafting outfits in Tahoe City have had to close. The flow of water from Lake Tahoe into the Truckee River just isn’t enough.

The outlet from Lake Tahoe at Tahoe City feeds the Truckee River. The water runs under the world famous Fanny Bridge, and heads on down past Truckee

There is a federal water master who is in charge of the gates at the only outlet from Lake Tahoe. When the gates are closed, commercial rafting gets beached.

In good water years, companies start booking raft trips in June and run through September.

At times, the river is simply awash with rafts filled with people’s big smiles floating down to River Ranch.

Along the way the scenery is gorgeous with lava outcroppings and a few places to beach the rafts and enjoy the passing floating circus. There’s pools to splash in, and in general, a wonderful stretch of river shoreline, all the way to River Ranch.

River Ranch is the take-out point. Some people manage to miss it and have to scramble to get to shore. The next stop on the river is Truckee.

The restaurant serves a great meal. It’s also a good place to dry off.

The shuttle buses of the rafting companies pick and return everyone back to Tahoe City.

In Tahoe City, there are plenty of places to eat, a really nice art co-op that features local artists, stores of all kinds, and of course, Lake Tahoe.

All in all, it is a great way to spend the day.

But in low water years, having to stop the raft trips is a major blow to the local economy and huge disappointment to tourists.

The river has to have enough water to cover the assorted river obstacles rafts go over. Having to carry your raft over the shallow bits isn’t part of the deal.

When the flow from Tahoe is curtailed, there’s is still a long list of things to do around Tahoe City though rafting will have to wait till next year.

No matter, go up to your favorite lake anyway.

Just get outside!

Charlie Ferris

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