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Avoid the Lake Tahoe crowds (but indulge in the same quality alpine air and outdoor adventures) by trekking to the High Sierra town of Truckee. This Wild West destination was given a new lease on tourism when the 1960 Squaw Valley Winter Olympics arrived. This was likely a relief to locals whose false front buildings huddled in the shadow of majestic mountains were previously known as the site of the Donner Party (the 19th century travelers who followed an incorrect map of a shortcut to riches, became trapped in a harsh Sierra winter, then resorted to cannibalism in order to survive). Today you'll find a historic western downtown perched a ...

Avoid the Lake Tahoe crowds (but indulge in the same quality alpine air and outdoor adventures) by trekking to the High Sierra town of Truckee. This Wild West destination was given a new lease on tourism when the 1960 Squaw Valley Winter Olympics arrived. This was likely a relief to locals whose false front buildings huddled in the shadow of majestic mountains were previously known as the site of the Donner Party (the 19th century travelers who followed an incorrect map of a shortcut to riches, became trapped in a harsh Sierra winter, then resorted to cannibalism in order to survive). Today you'll find a historic western downtown perched a mile into the sky, complete with boutique hotels, lively eateries and shops. Looming another couple thousand feet above town, world class hiking trails lure trekkers from around the globe. Raft the intense Truckee River, or hike and camp in the surrounding mountains, then return to town for some excellent dining. With cool summer nights and warm days, Truckee and her natural abundance offer an ideal alpine adventure.

Michele Bigley
About the Expert

Michele Bigley is the author of Northern California: An Explorer's Guide and Great Destinations Kauai from Countryman Press.

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Michele Bigley for Triporati

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