The Truckee River is quite literally the lifeblood of the communities in the greater Reno-Tahoe area. It supplies 85 percent of the water used in homes and businesses in the Truckee Meadows. In addition to sustaining life in the area, the river is also a source of recreation, research, and wildlife. To celebrate this vital water source, we sent searching and found 10 interesting facts about the Truckee River.

  1. While 63 tributaries fill Lake Tahoe, it only has one outlet — the Truckee River.
  2. The Truckee River stretches 100-miles, beginning in Tahoe City, winding through mountain canyons and the communities of Reno, Truckee, and Sparks, and then finally empties into the southern end of Pyramid Lake.
  3. The Washoe tribe, which inhabited the Lake Tahoe area, referred to Truckee River as a wakhu wa’t’a.
  4. John C. Frémont and Kit Carson called the waterway Salmon Trout River when they first discovered it in January 1844. The exploring duo named the tributary after the huge Lahontan cutthroat trout that ran up the river from Pyramid Lake to spawn.
  5. However, the river was ultimately named after a Paiute chief known as Truckee. In 1844, Chief Truckee guided an emigrant party from the Humboldt River to California via the Truckee River, Donner Lake, and Donner Pass. In appreciation of the chief’s guidance, the party named the river after him.
  6. After being heavily trapped in the late 1800s, beavers were re-introduced to the Truckee River watershed between 1934 and 1949 to prevent stream degradation and promote wetland restoration.
  7. The Truckee River is western Nevada’s largest river.
  8. Each year, Nevada Department of Wildlife stocks 105,000 trout in the Truckee for anglers, including 70,000 native Lahontan cutthroat trout and 35,000 non-native Rainbow trout. The Truckee also has a healthy, self-sustaining non-native Brown trout population.
  9. The first known account of newly divorced women throwing wedding rings into the Truckee River is in the pamphlet titled: “Reno! ‘It Won’t Be Long Now’ Ninety Days And Freedom,” from 1927, according to Nevada historian Guy Rocha in a column in the Reno Gazette-Journal. But, the “tradition” may have been a bit oversold. Rocha also cites a 1950 United Press news story about 50 Junior Chamber of Commerce volunteers who cleaned the river and found one wedding ring.
  10. Every spring the Reno River Festival celebrates the Truckee River in downtown Reno with a variety of competitions, events, activities, music and more. While the event is free, guests are encouraged to donate $1, and proceeds from the donations directly benefit the growth and education of the One Truckee River project and the expansion and future of the Reno River Festival.