Easy nature escape on the outskirts of Lake Tahoe.
Hiking in Truckee, CA
Credit: © Utah2010

The historic railway town of Truckee is an easygoing alternative to the increasingly exclusive Lake Tahoe, which lies less than 15 miles north. Today, the onetime Western outpost measures about 34 square miles, but packs a punch with a kind of rough-hewn charm and lots of recreation options, such as hiking, canoeing, and golfing in the summer and vibrant foliage in the fall.

Cedar House Sport Hotel

The sleekly minimalist eco-lodge really is made of cedar, all of it sourced in an environmentally friendly way. The 42 rooms are built mostly out of recycled and sustainably harvested wood in an appealing minimalist style, with leather-upholstered platform beds and birch plywood furniture.

Moody's Bistro & Lounge

On the ground floor of 100-year-old Truckee Hotel, Moody’s Bistro & Lounge emphasizes local and organic produce with such dainty dishes as the “big ass pork platter.”

Shirley Canyon Trail

Hike the four-mile trail at nearby Squaw Valley ski resort, which takes you through pine forests, chaparral, and alpine meadows backed by granite cliffs. Beginning at Squaw Base Camp, the route ends at High Camp (elevation 8,200 feet); return via the resort’s cable car ($10).