3 Places to Hike in Truckee in November without Snowshoes

As I write this post, it’s currently the first week of November. This year, we’ve already had a few snowstorms that delivered decent amounts of snow to the higher elevations. However, the upcoming weather forecast is calling for warmer temps and some sunny days, so you might be asking where you can get out and hike. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not quite ready to throw on my snowshoes, so earlier this week I went searching for trails in Truckee that were fully or mostly melted out from the early storms.

Before I get to my recommended trails, I want to mention that there are a few considerations when hiking this time of year:

  1. Look for trails at lower elevations or ones that point south or west. These trails will melt out first after an early season snowfall and have a better chance of having normal hiking conditions.
  2. Even if the trail is melted out, there’s a good chance it will be muddy. This isn’t a big deal, but don’t plan to wear anything you wouldn’t be comfortable getting a bit dirty.
  3. It’s a good idea to throw a pair of crampons in your backpack just in case. The trails I’ve listed below should all be in decent hiking condition, but you never know when you’ll run across a stuborn icey section on the trail. I carry YakTrax in my backpack this time of year, and find them to give plenty of traction if I need them.

Now that we’ve gotten those details covered, it’s time for the fun part… below I’ve listed my favorite November hiking trails in Truckee.

Martis Valley Loop

Located across 267 from Martis Dam, this 4.3 mile loop is a perfect combination of low elevation and sun exposure. Snow melts out quickly here, making it an ideal location for a late fall or early winter hike. The trail features several bridges, boardwalks, beautiful scenery, and wildlife. We’ve seen bears and coyotes here more than once, so be aware of your surroundings and respectful to the animals at all times.

Length: 4.3 Miles

Elevation Gain: 203 ft.

Difficulty:  Easy

Trail Type: Loop

Features: Views of Northstra & wildlife

Water on Trail: Yes – Martis Creek

Dogs Allowed? Yes

Sagehen Creek Trail

Sagehen Creek Trail is a 6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Truckee. This trail is great for families and features a beautiful creek and reservoir at the end. This trail is relatively flat and typically melts out quickly after late fall snow storms because of it’s lower elevation. If you go early in November, you might get lucky and see a few of the golden aspens that were late to turn, though most of the color is seen in early October.

Length: 6 Miles

Elevation Gain: 246 ft.

Difficulty:  Easy

Trail Type: Out and Back

Features: Lake views & wildlife

Water on Trail: Yes – creek and reservoir at the end.

Dogs Allowed? Yes

Johnson Canyon Overlook

Located in Tahoe Donner, Johnson Canyon Overlook offers a gentle hike leading to excellent views of Donner Lake and Johnson Canyon. This is a casual hike that most people with a moderate level of fitness can do. One thing I love about this area is that many additional trails connect to the main out and back, so you can add onto your hike if you’re feeling adventurous. Even though this hike is up on Tahoe Donner, it is pretty sun exposed, which causes the snow to melt quicker here than other trails at similar elevation.

Area: Tahoe Donner

Length: 3.9 Miles

Elevation Gain: 410 ft.

Difficulty:  Easy

Trail Type: Out and Back

Features: Views of Donner Lake

Water on Trail: No

Dogs Allowed? Yes

Happy late fall hiking 🙂

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