Containing many basalt formations holding many fine routes in the Tahoe Area, this region Located above highway 89, you will find an excellent view of the large ski areas on the eastern rocks of the canyon.
You will find a diverse range of climbing here, including some of the best sport climbing around. There are also a fairly large selection of traditional routes as well.
Being high up in the Sierra, this area will only be climbable when the snow resides on the approach in the spring, usually in April or May, and continuing through late december, depending on the year. On a dry year, you might find this area climbable year-round.
NOTE: The mapquest map will just show you the best representation of the entire Truckee River Canyon area. This is not intended to give you the exact location of any single rock, since this area is about 15 miles long. So - Ignore the star.
For access to Big Chief:
Exit the central truckee exit and take a right. Go into the traffic circle, and take your first right, which will wind down to West River Street, where you should take a left. Follow this about 1/2 a mile to Brockway drive (the sign MAY still say highway 267), where you should go right.
Note that this is NOT the NEW 267, which has an exit off of the freeway. There has been a lot of construction in this area recently, and they've renamed some roads...
Less than a mile later, turn right on Palisades Drive. Go over the hill, and turn right on Silver Fir, and shortly afterwards turn left on Thelin Street.
Within a block, hang a right onto the dirt road just after a gate, which is set back from the road about 30 feet. Drive 5.2 miles on the main road, which is numbered as National Forest Road 06. Stay straight on the road past the turnoff to the ranch (which has a sign stating "horseback riding" or something like that), and you will see a large dirt turn around inside the most prevalent right turn, which actually has a full right turn, and also sharper right turn 30 feet later in case you miss this first one. This leads you about 100 feet into a traffic circle type thing, which is the parking area for the Big Chief area.
For the Trueckee River Basalt Area: Head South down Highway 89 out of Truckee towards Lake Tahoe and Tahoe City. You will see the Basalt cliffs of the Truckee River Basalt Area on the left, and you can park in the campgrounds in front of the rocks, yet still on the west side of the Truckee river.
For The Ampitheatre:Head South down highway 89 out of Truckee towards Lake Tahoe and Tahoe City. Park just before the turnoff to Alpine Meadows. You will be able to see the Ampitheatre just before the bridge heading over The Truckee River.
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Truckee River Canyon:
The dirt road to approach Big Chief does not open until the snow clears off it. This is usually in late May. You can just walk the road, but that makes the hike quite long. So instead, there is a trail leading up from highway 89 directly to Big Chief.
There is a bridge to cross the truckee river off highway 89 just north of mile marker 16.05. From there, find a trail leading directly up the hill to Big Chief.
(Sorry i can't give more details, but i don't know them. We did the long hike. not recommended.)
Just to clarify the directions a bit... From making the left on Thelin Street, after about a block turn right on a small road which has a gate about 30' in. Set your odometer because you arrive at a hidden right turn at exactly 5.3 miles. After about 2.5 miles there is a "Y" with a sign on the right "equestrian park" or something like this. You want to stay to the right here even though there is a post on the left fork saying "06-08". You will know you are getting very close when you see some nice looking cliffs a couple hundred yard to the left (east). The somewhat hidden right turn is towards the end of these cliffs. There is no "prevalent" right hand turn that we could find. They are doing quite a bit of grading on the roads and have probably straightened parts of the road...