A colorful array of things to do in Truckee, Lake Tahoe and Martis Camp. Given the current challenges of our time nothing is more precious than time in the great outdoors. The smell of fresh pine, the sound of a babbling creek and the deep blue Tahoe sky remind us of life’s most treasured moments. Our fancies can range wildly, from biking the Flume Trail to staking your claim to a lounge chair at the Beach Shack. Or, ideally, both in the course of one day.
Story By Scott Mortimore | Photography by Paul Hamill Photography
Following is a gallery of adventures, escapes, classes, menus, events and pockets of quietude, all of which add up to a great sampling of things to do and places to go that suit your mood du jour. We’ll start gently and work our way up the intensity scale from there.
Making the decision to be a part of the Martis Camp lifestyle, for most, boils down to one simple desire: to escape. In that regard, all the elements of Martis Camp add up to create that one Tahoe community that most epitomizes the ultimate escape. In other words, once you’re here, you pretty much have all you need to satisfy your mood for departing from the everyday grind.
At first, the quiet of a summer night might be downright deafening. You might even hear a pine needle drop. But soon you’ll discover the health benefits of quietude that include, among other things, opening the window to a nighttime of nature or settling into a deck where you swear you can hear the sun setting over the Pacific Crest. Such calm can be found in the 2,177 forested acres of Martis Camp.
At that point in time when the sun hands the keys to the stars, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to breathe deep and relax. Places ideal for such an escape include Concert Lake, any fairway with a westward view, the Pacific Crest, a table with a view at the Camp Lodge, your back deck, or the trails that drift across Martis Valley.
An Evening Stroll
Here, you’ll find over 20 miles of trails weaving through forests and meadows – 20 miles best experienced in the absence of your cell phone. It’s the ideal escape any time of day, but evenings seem to further enhance that sense of escape.
Maybe the notion of clocking in a marathon or two isn’t on your docket today. Instead, you’re more in the mood to gear down and go more toward the zen than the zoom. Not a problem. Here are a few ways you can run (or amble in this case) with that frame of mind:
There are several places in Truckee and North Tahoe where you can sign up for yoga classes, including Alpenglow Yoga Studio, Truckee Yoga Collective and Tahoe Yoga & Wellness, all in Truckee. But the express route to enjoying yoga is just down the street – at Martis Camp’s Fitness Center in the Camp Lodge where summer classes are being held outdoors.
Martis Camp’s Fitness Center attracts the area’s finest masters in the art of massage. If that sounds like a fine idea right about now, simply call the Martis Camp Spa. Subject to restrictions. Please check in advance for the latest status.
The Slow Boat
Just below Tahoe City at that place where the Truckee River slips out of Lake Tahoe is the Truckee River Raft Company, a place where you and the family can settle into a raft and go Huck Finn for the day as you drift over emerald waters and between walls of pine and rocks, eventually arriving at a pullout at the River Ranch where your return shuttle to Tahoe City awaits.
Sometimes peace arrives in the most unexpected of places. Other times, it’s served up alongside a croissant and in the company of either a good book or a great friend, both of which are best enjoyed at one of Truckee’s fine coffee shops. On Jibboom Street is where Coffeebar was born and continues to thrive. Others include Wild Cherries on Donner Pass Road, Cornerstone Bakery, Dark Horse Coffee Roasters, Zuri Coffee Co., and – brainchild of a pair of U.S. Ski Team members – Pacific Crest Coffee.
Serenity is a close relative to Peace, the only difference in this case being that your mind prefers to weave a little of the great outdoors into the moment. After all, there’s a healing side to the sound of wind in the pines and a riffle in the stream. Here are a few ideas for achieving calm and an opportunity for introspection.
Let’s not complicate this. Sometimes, all it takes in order to slow down is a blanket, a picnic basket and the ideal locale for a pleasant afternoon. Wondering where those places might be? For starters, there’s your backyard. Take it a bit further and you may find Martis Camp’s Big Rock Meadow, Lost Library or any of the trails or greenbelts that wander the community to be ideal. Further yet: Martis Valley, Donner Lake, Pacific Crest Trail, Sierra Valley, the beaches and forests or Lake Tahoe, or that stretch of river between Tahoe City and Truckee.
Okay, this choice might be – as anyone who has attempted to take up fly fishing might agree – questionable as a source of serenity. Eventually, however, once the casts and knots and waters have been mastered, angling can become nothing short of transcendental. Of the many local guides who can help expedite the learning curve or who can enlighten you on the local fishing scene, few are as talented as local guide Matt Heron.
Look no further than your local lake – the one only a few minutes away by the Family Barn – for a moment of serenity. It’s the perfect place for a sunrise or sunset stroll as well as a great place to learn to flyfish or to pull up a chair, toss out a bobber and bait, and introduce your kids to the pleasures of fishing.
While beaches can be a source of adventure, you can also turn to them for their powers of tranquility, especially if you show up right around sunrise or shortly after sunset when the basin quiets down. Bring along your favorite means of meditation and you’re set. Luckily, we’re blessed to live on that side of Tahoe where – between Sand Harbor and Emerald Bay – there’s an abundance of beaches that serve up a healthy dose of serenity.
All you’re in search of here is finding that thing to do, that place to go, or that something to indulge in that – at the end of the day – leaves you awash in happiness and joy, two moods that go well with the smile you’re sporting.
The Beach Shack
Perhaps the most blissful aspect of this Martis Camp amenity is the fact that you’re not rubbernecking for a parking spot. Instead, you’ve got valet parking and an acre of grass and sand all to yourself. The Beach Shack is equipped with kayaks, paddleboards, sand toys, chaise lounges, towels and showers. Throw in the fact you can enjoy casual fare and beverages and you’ll come to understand why The Beach Shack makes for one amazing day of pleasure.
Winding its way through the center of Martis Camp is an award-winning putting park whose gentle undulations and peaceful, unhurried pace have a way of generating one hypnotically wonderful escape. The fact that there are aspens and a gentle creek lining much of the course doesn’t hinder the experience one bit. Highly recommended for family bonding, too!
Breweries and Wine Tastings
You can’t look at Truckee and not envision it as a place conducive to sipping wine or brewing beer (or, better yet, enjoying a glass of craft beer). Not far from Camp on the Brockway Road is Fiftyfifty Brewing Co. Others include The Good Wolf Brewing Co., Mellow Fellow, Truckee Brewing Company, and Alibi Ale Works. For that blissful glass of wine, the choices are vast, including The Pour House Wine Shop on Jibboom St., Truckee River Winery, and – on Donner Pass Road – Uncorked Truckee.
Just a friendly reminder that one of America’s finest golf courses is right out your front door. The 18-hole masterpiece designed by Tom Fazio has been highly touted in a variety of publications, including GolfWeek which named it “one of America’s top 50 modern golf courses.” Playing is a pleasure. Throwing in a few birdies? That elevates the experience to absolute bliss.
There are days where you hold someone’s hand a little tighter than normal or look a little deeper into their eyes. You can feel aflutter and the sights around you – while beautiful – play second fiddle to the person before you. It’s a little thing called love and we know of places where that feeling is even further enhanced.
It’s quite possible that when you close your eyes and envision a romantic dining destination — the one with candles and linens, fine wines and amazing views – you’re thinking of The Camp Lodge. Beyond that, you’ll find Truckee serves up its fair share with Pianeta, Trokay, Manzanita, and Moody’s, while the choices at North Tahoe includes Wolfdale’s, Christy Hill, Gar Woods and West Shore Café.
The Martis Camp Yacht
Here’s the scene: it’s close to sunset, you’re on Lake Tahoe, your favorite wine is close at hand, your favorite person is closer yet, and there’s a skipper who handles all the details that free you up to create an unforgettably lovely moment. That dream is very doable when you call the club concierge and arrange for your very own, personally catered cruise on Martis Camp’s private yacht.
This is love. Seriously. When you’ve got the caliber of shops and boutiques and galleries that exist in downtown Truckee as well as at Tahoe City and Northstar California, you’re definitely feeling the love. Amazing how the heft of a bag with a bounty of goods can turn moods from gray to golden.
This is an easy one to take for granted, but the homes of Martis Camp are usually flush with all that’s needed for stirring up a romantic moment. There are patios to gather on, hot tubs to slip into, fireplaces that mesmerize, and – very likely – little pockets throughout the home that provide an ideal setting for slowing down and settling into a blanket, a cocoa and a heart-to-heart.
Some days arrive where you have the urge to make something more profound and challenging than coffee and pancakes. It’s one of those days where there’s a yearning to create, whether a painting, a story, a masterful meal, or anything you can imagine that satisfies your soul. Next time inspiration hits, try hitting a few of these spots.
The Family Barn
Look no further than Martis Camp’s Family Barn as a destination to exercise your right brain. Tucked into its expansive attic is an Art Loft that appeals to young, old and everyone in between. Folk School Classes are held here as well. And when autumn arrives, so, too, do those classes that inspire you to create a wide assortment of holiday crafts.
There are several opportunities to take your culinary skills to the next level, including classes from Atelier, Restaurant Trokay, and Cedar House Sport Hotel, all in Truckee. Further afield in Reno is Nothing To It Culinary Center while just down the road near Truckee’s airport is Truckee Roundhouse with other classes to quence your inner creative.
Perhaps the hub of creativity in all of Truckee and Tahoe is that hive of inspiration known as Truckee Roundhouse. It’s only five minutes away from The Camp and yet it’s a magnet to those who have ideas in mind but are perhaps lacking the tools at hand. This community-run makerspace is where people with common interests gather – whether in computers, machining, technology, science, or a variety of arts. Its five main shops include wood, metal, ceramics, textiles, and technology.
Maybe this mood was enhanced by that extra half-cup of coffee you started your day with. Or perhaps you’ve had your fill of serenity and are ready to balance the books by addressing the desire to get out, get up, and get going. We get it. And now, you can, too.
What’s your racket?
The Martis Camp Tennis Pavilion is an ideal way to bump up the heart rate with a day of tennis. More in the mood for pickleball? Perfect, we’ve got you covered at The Park Pavilion & Sports Fields.
Truckee Bike Park
There are mountain bike trails that course their way across the Tahoe Basin and into the hinterlands of the Sierra but for those looking for some tasty flow lines and the smoothest strider/pump tracks for all ages, then keep it close to home and head down to the Truckee Bike Park, just a short ride away from Martis Camp on the south side of the Truckee River on Joerger Drive (near the airport).
Okay, this escape can be either calming or a colorful and eventful workout for your core, depending on what mood you’re in. The easiest route: your very own Tahoe Beach Club where paddleboards await you. Otherwise, check in to one of many rental shops (Tahoe City Kayak, Tahoe Paddle & Oar, Tahoe Dave’s Ski and Boards, and North Tahoe Watersports among others) where you can rent by the day or longer and find your own slice of blue heaven.
On that mountain of moods that mankind confronts, this one is basically a double black diamond. It’s where your pulse races, where you rediscover those teeny-tiny hairs on the back of your neck, and where stories that last a lifetime are crafted.
If the climb up the from Spooner Summit to Marlette Lake and along the Flume Trail doesn’t take your breath away, the view certainly will. The high traverse over granite scree with Tahoe a thousand feet below is one of the world’s finest adventures. Other rides include the Donner Lake Rim Trail, The Tahoe Rim Trail, Sawtooth, and the challenging Tahoe City-Truckee Gravel Grinder.
Tahoe Via Ferrata
Some days you wake up feeling like you’re ready to unleash your inner Jimmy Chin only to realize you know nothing about bouldering, let alone solo climbing. No problem. At Squaw Valley Via Ferrata, local guides gear you up in the latest safety gear, go through all the steps you’ll need to know, and then introduce you and your family to an up-front look at the mountain’s most iconic rock face – The Tram Face. This one’s definitely on the bucket list!
Aerial Adventure Park
When the slopes at the base of Martis Camp’s Lookout Lodge go snowless, the action heads up into the trees. Here, you’ll find zip lines, a terra firma course for kids under 4, and four different adventure courses that gradually ramp up to a point that safely challenges your skills, along with your love (or fear) of heights. It’s daring, safe, and just a few minutes from your recliner.
Surf Lake Tahoe
Somewhere inside you is a Kelly Slater that’s ready to be uncorked, yes? If so, head for those man-made curls located on waters more than a mile above sea level. Tahoe Surf Company combines the industry’s finest surf boats and equipment with a team of top-notch coaches and captains to have the whole family hangin’ ten and grinning wide. And conveniently, they have a special arrangement with North Tahoe Marina for Martis Camp members where they can be pick up at a variety of nearby locations, including Martis Camp’s Beach Shack at Lake Tahoe.
Story By Scott Mortimore | Photography by Paul Hamill Photography
At the time of publication, many of the services and activities at Martis Camp and the Tahoe region remained subject to restrictions. Please check in advance for the latest status. Martis Camp amenities are limited to members only and are subject to reservations only at this time.