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Truckee River: Floriston to Verdi

Challenging segment of the Truckee River.
Trail Uses
Paddling
Location
Nevada County (CA), Sierra County (CA), Washoe County
Length
10.00 miles (One Way)
Difficulty
Easy, Moderate, Difficult
Towns
Reno, Verdi
Surface
River/Stream
Pets
Permitted
Fees
No

Description

In this river segment, there are several diversion dams and power plants.  During the times when water is diverted, these runs are unusable between the dam and the power plant return. In standard summer, fall and winter flows, there is not enough water to paddle these sections.  Examples include the segment between the Fleish Diversion Dam and the Fleish Powerhouse return. This is also true for the sections downstream from the Verdi Diversion and Washoe-Highland Dams. 

Always check the USGS website (Link below) for current flow information. Truckee's flow is highly regulated, with most river flow fully allocated through a system of water rights, set by the Truckee River Operating Agreement. Water levels on the Truckee River widely vary by season and the river is navigable depending on the flow rates and your experience level.

The best flows to enjoy this segment are over 700 cfs.  Make sure to check water levels before your trip. View the daily streamflow conditions on the USGS Waterdata website, or use the links below for specific gauge sites along the river.

  1. Truckee River - Boca
  2. Truckee River – Farad
  3. Truckee River – Mogul

Farad Diversion Dam:

From Farad, paddlers can run at summer flows down to the Fleish Dam Portage Site, but it is  a long walk up to the 80 Freeway to avoid the lower flows below the dam. 

Fleish Diversion Dam:

There are many Class 3-4 drops in the rapids below Fleish Dam. Some are marked on the map and named, others are just long, hard rapids with many rocks. During high flows, the walking bridge span over the river at the Fleish Dam is very close to rafters’ heads. This undercrossing has been called “Headhunter” by local paddlers, so be aware.

State Line/Steamboat Ditch Diversion:

Portage Right.

Verdi Diversion Dam:

This dam has a dangerous set of drops, so use caution when approaching. One must avoid running W/H on river left as it drops into boulders, so center or right (but not too close to the intake structure) are best.  It often collects trees as a hazard but they can be seen from above usually.  As there are private properties on the left, TMWA suggests portage on the right, but that is very arduous.

NOTE: Always use caution and portage as directed at all diversion dams:  TMWA Dams are “Portage Left” and the State Line/Steamboat Ditch is “Portage Right.”

Other Information

For an additional map of the Truckee River, see the TMWA website.

City of Reno events website:  Things To Do | City of Reno

Visit the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority website to get information on places to stay, eat and recreate.

See the TravelNevada website for articles and things to do in Verdi.

Trail Manager

There are several agencies that manage the water in the Truckee River. The primary landowner for the river bed within Nevada is the Nevada Division of State Lands, but the water flow itself is managed by the Federal Water Master and Truckee Meadows Water Authority through the Truckee River Operating Agreement. 

Nevada Division of State Lands

Nevada Division of State Lands
901 S. Stewart Street, Ste. 5003
Carson City, NV 89701
Phone: (775) 684-2720
View website

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Trailhead Information

This segment begins at the I-80 bridge and offramp in Floriston. Parking is on the south side of the river, right off of the freeway.  The take-out is in Crystal Peak Park, right before the 3rd Street bridge in Verdi.  There are parking, picnic and bathroom facilities at the park.

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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Trail Alerts

Safety
Be a Safe and Respectful Paddler
Paddling conditions will vary according to the weather and season, so always exercise caution and always wear a lifejacket. With good judgment and proper equipment, the risk associated with paddling can be minimized. Respect the natural world and the rights of landowners, and be considerate of other outdoor enthusiasts. Paddlers should seek to avoid causing erosion, trampling vegetation, disturbing wildlife, and harming water quality.
Safety
High Flow Area

In the Spring runoff months, water may be very fast and high. Paddlers should use caution and plan accordingly.

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