Truckee locals insist that October is the best month of the year for hiking because of the crisp air, autumn sunshine, absence of wind, and smaller crowds – now is a great time to enjoy a relaxing afternoon visit and hike the mostly level Perazzo Meadows trail. It boasts excellent views from the bluffs overlooking the Little Truckee River and provides great opportunities for bird sightings. The trail opened to little fanfare in 2015 and definitely deserves an afternoon’s visit.
From the trailhead kiosk (see directions below), stroll west along the path about a quarter mile until you reach the bluffs and stop to take in the meadow views below. Follow the trail west along the river for a mile then enjoy walking through the forest until the trail meets Henness Pass Road. You can continue a short 300 yards along the road to the Mount Lola trailhead, or retrace your steps enjoying the view facing east and enjoy a picnic overlooking the Meadows.
While the wildflowers are gone in October, the area is beautifully golden. Perazzo Meadows is home to numerous rare species, including the Willow Flycatcher, bald eagle, and the Mountain Yellow-legged frog. As you view the meadow, contemplate the area’s history of logging, road construction, and dairy farming in the last century. The Land Trust partnered with the U.S. Forest Service and Truckee River Watershed Council to expand the floodplain in the meadows, restoring the streams to their natural channels and re-vegetate the meadowlands thus re-establishing habitats and improving wildlife habitat. The Land Trust has multiple properties in this immediate area, so stop by to visit the Mount Lola trail, Independence Lake, or Webber Lake while you’re there.
To reach the trailhead: Take Highway 89 North of Truckee 17 miles to the Jackson Meadows Road and turn left. After 1.5 miles, make a left for Independence Lake, and in another .5 miles, take a right at the first intersection. This is historic Henness Pass Road, although it’s signed as “Sierra County Route 301.” Follow Henness Pass for approximately 2 miles. After you cross through an open meadow area, look on the right for a short driveway with the Land Trust trail kiosk and a pathway blocked to motorists by boulders – park outside the boulders. You won’t have cell service after you leave Truckee, so consult your map in advance.