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Adventure of the week: Float the Truckee River, leisurely or rapidly

Cool trips on the Truckee River are just the outing for a hot summer day in the Lake Tahoe area. Vacationers have two options for excursions on the river. One is the easy, do-it-yourself rippling float offered by two companies. The other is a roaring ride with a professional guide, also run by two companies.

For beginners and people who want a relaxing, family-friendly outing, the trip from Fanny Bridge in Tahoe City to River Ranch Pond is a perfect choice. Rental rafts for the trip are available from Truckee River Raft Co. and Mountain Air Sports/Truckee River Rafting. Both are perched next to the river near the bridge.

The five-mile paddle takes two to four hours. For the most part, it's Class I with a few small rapids near the end. Your rented raft comes with lifejackets and paddles. Footwear is mandatory. There are a few deep sections of the river on this run, but much of it is shallow enough for an adult to stand.

If you time it right, you can plan on some refreshment at the takeout point. The River Ranch bar and restaurant is there, where the free shuttle takes you back to your car; the last bus leaves at 6 p.m.

Vacationers looking for whitewater thrills can take the guided Boca Run, a Class III-plus adventure that begins just east of Truckee and runs toward Reno, with takeout at Floriston.

For the first six miles of this seven-mile trip, the rapids are Class II and III. The Class III-plus section is the final "Bronco" set of rapids. Timid rafters of all ages can opt out of this stretch in boats run by Tahoe Whitewater Tours; on Tributary Whitewater Tours boats, children under 8 must hike around.

The trip begins with a safety talk. The river ride takes about 3 1/2 hours, which includes the shuttle back to the starting point. No previous experience is necessary; the guides explain paddling skills, and passengers practice maneuvering the boats in calm water near the put-in on the Little Truckee River, just below Boca Reservoir.

"We've been really busy up there this summer," says Lorraine Hall, office manager for Tributary Whitewater Tours. "We're encouraging people to book in advance (for the Boca Run). ... We are running seven boats every morning and seven every afternoon, and still turning people away." She said, however, that weekends are quieter.


From Fanny Bridge to River Ranch Pond

* Truckee River Raft Co.

Where: In Tahoe City, near where Highway 89 meets Fanny Bridge

When: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Cost: $32 general, $27 ages 6-12, free 5 and under

Discounts: $7 off per ticket from 8:30 to 10 a.m., 2 to 3:30 p.m. and for advance reservations

What to bring: Sunscreen, dry clothes (in the car), hat, footwear mandatory (flip-flops OK)

Contact: (877) 583-0123, www.truckeeriverraft.com

* Mountain Air Sports/Truckee River Rafting

Where: In Tahoe City, near where Highway 89 meets Fanny Bridge (with green and yellow banner)

When: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Cost: $32 general, $27 ages 6-12, free 5 and under

Discounts: $10 off per ticket before 9:30 a.m.; $7 off per ticket for advance reservations

What to bring: See above

Contact: (530) 583-7238, www.truckeeriverrafting.com

Boca Run, Class III-plus run from east of Truckee to Floriston

* Tributary Whitewater Tours LLC

Where: Off Highway 267, just south of Truckee

Minimum age: 6 (children under 8 must walk around the final rapids)

When: 9:15 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. in summer

Cost: $68 weekdays, $73 Sundays, $78 Saturdays; youngsters under 17 get a 10 percent discount. Group discounts available.

What to wear/bring: Swimsuit with fast-drying shorts and shirts (synthetic fabrics best); old sneakers or secure sandals (no flip-flops); straps to attach hats and eyeglasses

Contact: (530) 346-6812, (800) 672-3846 or www.whitewatertours.com

* Tahoe Whitewater Tours

Where: Boathouse at 303 Alpine Meadows Road, off Highway 89

Minimum age: 6

Cost: $65 adults, $55 for ages 7-12

What to wear/bring: See above

Times: Two departures daily, 8:45 a.m. and 1:15 p.m.

Contact: (530) 581-2441, (800) 442-7238, www.gowhitewater.com

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