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Living in Truckee California: Pros & Cons

Updated: Mar 20

Wondering what it's like to live in Truckee, California? You're in the right place.


Living in Truckee Pros and Cons

Truckee is a small, charming mountain town located in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Northern California, about a 20-minute drive from North Lake Tahoe. It's known for its outdoor recreation, artsy boutiques and cafes, and historic roots.


Since moving to the Lake Tahoe area, I have lived in South Lake Tahoe, Carson City, Reno, and now Truckee. This post will cover what I consider to be the pros and cons of living in Truckee, California.

 

PROS:

Living in Truckee comes with its advantages! Here are a few...


1. BEAUTIFUL SCENERY

Sunrise at Donner Lake Overlook in Truckee, CA
Sunrise at Donner Lake Overlook in Truckee, CA

Sunrise at Donner Lake
Sunrise at Donner Lake

Living in Truckee is like living in a postcard- the scenery is absolutely gorgeous. You're surrounded by the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains, which you can see from almost anywhere in Truckee. With Donner Lake, the Truckee River, a handful of state parks, and nearby Lake Tahoe, there's no shortage of natural beauty to enjoy.

 

2. OUTDOOR RECREATION

Paddle Boarding on Donner Lake
Paddle Boarding on Donner Lake

Snowshoeing at Donner Memorial State Park
Donner Memorial State Park

If you love the outdoors, Truckee is the place to be. You'll find picturesque hiking trails, both easy and challenging, along with plenty of opportunities for kayaking, paddleboarding, biking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and, of course, skiing and snowboarding.


Looking for the best things to do in Truckee? Check out my outdoor guide:


 

3. CLOSE TO SKI RESORTS

Palisades Tahoe in Olympic Valley
Views of Palisades Tahoe from the gondola


If you love to ski or snowboard, it doesn't get any better than living in Truckee. Truckee offers convenient access to some of Lake Tahoe's premier ski resorts. You're just minutes from Northstar Resort, Palisades Tahoe, Sugar Bowl Resort, Boreal Mountain, and Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort.

 

4. CHARMING HISTORIC DOWNTOWN

Downtown Truckee


Historic Downtown Truckee

In the heart of Truckee is the charming Historic Downtown section. The main strip along Donner Pass Road has a rustic, old-western vibe and features colorful and historic buildings comprised of artsy shops, cozy local eateries, cafes, and bars.

 

6. PROXIMITY TO RENO

Sunset in Downtown Reno, NV
Downtown Reno

Another great thing about living in Truckee is its proximity to Reno. About a 40-minute drive from Truckee, Reno offers quite a bit more to do as far as shopping, dining, and entertainment. Plus it's an easy drive to the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, making traveling convenient.

 

7. PROXIMITY TO LAKE TAHOE

Lake Tahoe Nevada

Living in Truckee also means you're super close to Lake Tahoe. Tahoe City and the North Shore are just a 20-minute drive from Truckee, and Incline Village and the east shore (one of the most picturesque sections of Lake Tahoe) are about a 45-minute drive.

 

CONS: 

Now that you've heard the good, here are a few drawbacks that come with living in Truckee.


1. HIGH COST OF LIVING

Downtown Truckee California

Truckee's charm and close proximity to Lake Tahoe and the slopes comes at a cost. Rent, gas, groceries, even a cup of coffee—everything is more expensive here.

 

2. LACK OF HOUSING

Downtown Truckee

Finding affordable housing in Truckee is tough. Actually finding housing in general (affordable or not) is tough. With high demand and limited supply, housing options are extremely limited.

 

3. HARSH WINTERS

Big Snowstorm in Lake Tahoe

If you're not a fan of the snow (and driving in it), then living in Truckee might not be for you. To say that Truckee gets a lot of snow is an understatement. Snowstorms can make getting around and getting to work an issue.


Certain roads like Donner Pass can be especially dangerous, often leading to closures due to poor visibility and icy conditions (you'll never catch me driving over Donner when it's snowing!). You'll need to have that snow shovel handy when living in Truckee.

 

4. TOURISTS


Truckee's popularity as a tourist destination means that you'll likely encounter crowds and increased traffic, which can be a tad annoying. The day after a big snowstorm when people are trying to get to the ski resorts or during holiday weekends tend to be especially busy.

 

5. LACK OF JOBS


Truckee, being a small mountain town, naturally has a limited job market. The majority of available opportunities revolve around the tourism, hospitality, service, and real estate sectors. However, even within these industries, finding employment can be a challenge.

 

6. LITTLE NIGHTLIFE


If you're craving big-city vibes, Truckee might not cut it. Many of the bars and restaurants around Truckee (and there are only a handful) close pretty early, around 9 or 10 pm. Depending on your personality, living in a small mountain town might begin to feel monotonous.

 

I hope you enjoyed my guide on Living in Truckee, California!


For more on what to do in Truckee, check out my post: 12 Fantastic Things To Do In Truckee, California: The Ultimate Outdoor Guide!


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Hi, I'm Gabriella, an outdoor photographer living in Lake Tahoe, California. 
 
I'm originally from New York and moved to Los Angeles in 2013 to try out living somewhere new and different.  I found myself loving the adventurous lifestyle and dramatic scenery on the west side of the country.  Eventually, I moved to Lake Tahoe in 2019 after falling in love with its natural beauty and outdoor lifestyle. 
 
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