5 Parks to Explore in Washoe County

I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy exploring new parks and discovering new things. I thought I would share with you some of the parks and trails I have been fortunate enough to explore during my past three months here in Washoe County.


1. Rancho San Rafael & Arboretum

Yes, this is one of the more popular parks in Reno, but don’t let that fool you. Everytime I visit, I spy a new plant or a hear a new bird. Last time, I discovered a lil’ frog pond! This park features wonderful gardens, a vast arboretum (full of deciduous trees—be still my heart!), a lovely duck-filled pond, and plenty of paths for a pleasant stroll or leisurely hike.


2. Hunter Creek

Now, this was a bit more difficult of a trek: 5 miles roundtrip and a 1000 ft. elevation gain along the way. The trail wends along a canyon, features amazing views, lots of wildlife, a pine forest, and beautiful waterfall to make the trip worth it. I was pleased to see so many families hiking together on this trail, and quite a few folks selfie-ing it up at the culminating waterfall. I felt accomplished and proud of myself for completing this (mostly) moderate hike, and I think you probably will too.


3. Crissie Caughlin Park & Schiappacasse Trail

This little park off Idlewild Drive runs along the river, has a swingset and playground, and lots of picnic tables. There were also a few spots to walk down to the river and enjoy the wildlife (mostly ducks, but hey, still adorable). The park itself leads to the Schiappacasse Trail, a short quarter-mile paved trail behind a neighboring subdivision. It’s a nice hike along the river, full of quail and scrub jays.  Definitely worth checking out.

4. Cottonwood Trail & McCarran Bridge

This lil’ three-acre park hugs the Truckee River over in Sparks. It is a paved trail that leads down to the McCarran Bridge and its resident Brazilian free-tailed bats. I enjoyed the wildlife on the river (herons, mink, and sapsuckers, oh my!) and the vast array of flora. It was a leisurely and relatively short jaunt, but it still took me a long time because I stopped to look at practically everything. And gosh, there was a lot to look at.

5. Evan’s Canyon

Technically, this is part of Rancho San Rafael, but to me it appeared vastly different. It is high desert and not quite a shaded nor kept as Rancho. There is a nature trail, trails throughout the canyons, and space to mountain bike (I was hiking, but I saw a few cyclists cycling away up the side of the canyon). Also, I saw quail there. Need I say more?


I hope you enjoy these parks as much as I do, and find something new to explore.


Happy trails and quails, dear readers!


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