Road bike ride: Boca to Hoca…I mean Hoke!

By Tim Hauserman

One of my favorite road bike rides in the Tahoe/Truckee region is from Boca Dam to the edge of Stampede Reservoir. With construction underway to enlarge the Stampede Dam you can’t access the section of road that travels across the dam and to the shore of Stampede, but you can ride from Boca past Stampede to the lovely Hoke Valley. While it is a bummer to lose the views of Stampede, there is a lot less traffic now since boaters heading to Stampede now have to detour via Russell Valley.

To begin the ride take the Hirschdale exit off of Interstate 80, about eight miles east of Truckee. Follow the signs to Boca Reservoir which will take you across the Truckee River, and RR tracks to a small parking area near the Boca Dam. If you haven’t seen Boca this year, you are in for a treat. The water is nearly as high as the dam, and the tell tale bathtub ring of a reservoir starving for water is long gone. You just might be tempted to take an after ride dip.

From the Boca Dam, ride uphill as the road follows the eastern shoreline of Boca and then the Little Truckee River towards Stampede. At times the road is quite close to the river, and then it veers away, giving views of wildflowers and blooming sage in the open meadows. The first mile is fairly level, then a quick climb brings you to a long flat section before two big climbs are interrupted by a quick downhill.

About five miles from the start you see the high earthen dam of Stampede. Take a gander at the heavy equipment working where the road used to be, before conquering the biggest climb of the ride, it’s just 1/3 of a mile but you will be in low gear. Pass the dam road now closed to traffic, and head another two miles through the lovely Hoke Valley with a few brief glimpses of a few bays of Stampede.

The road stops at a T-where a dirt road leads left to Dog Valley and right will lead in nine miles to Verdi. This is your turn around point. Enjoy the ride back, but remember, it is uphill both ways.

Other options: This Boca to Stampede ride, can actually be the tale end of a continuous route that starts in Tahoe City. Heading along the bike trail from Tahoe City to Squaw Valley, then along HIghway 89 to Truckee, then West River Street to East River Street to the Truckee River Legacy Trail. The Legacy Trail follows the Truckee River downstream to a short, but steep climb to the edge of the Glenshire subdivision. From here a right turn takes you through the neighborhood on steep descent to Hirschdale road where a left turn brings you to Boca. Whew.