Summer is here, which means it’s time to go outside and have an adventure! With over 200 parks, trails, and open spaces between the Reno and Truckee, there’s so many options to choose from... maybe even too many! So, for anyone who is new to the area or new to hiking, or for anyone who’s an avid hiker already and looking to find that off-the-beaten path gem, we’ve got you covered. In this blog, our Parks Foundation staff and AmeriCorps members have highlighted 10 of their favorite parks and trails around the Truckee Meadows area!
Virginia Lake Park
Recommended by: Micah Beck, VISTA Leader
While I appreciate the wildness of the parks and trails we have in the Reno area, I'd have to say my favorite is Virginia Lake. It's just so accessible! There's always lots of hustle and bustle- people fishing, families walking or biking, cars going by- but if you pay attention, you'll see goslings and ducklings, turtles, carp, crayfish, and lots of bird diversity! It's the perfect place to go for a quick walk, sit on a bench and watch the birds (or people!), and there's always a good mix of sun and shade, plus a nice breeze. Trail Info!
Galena Creek Regional Park
Recommended by: Alayna Wood, Communications Coordinator
Galena Creek Regional Park is located only 10 miles outside of Reno on Mount Rose Highway. It's part of the Toiyabe National Forest and Mount Rose Wilderness, and it has tons of trail networks. I did the Galena Creek to Church's Pond hike (pictured above) which is about 6 miles out and back with a 2,000 ft. elevation gain. I also recently did the Jones-Whites Creek Loop, which is 10 miles and about 2,400 ft. in elevation gain. The switchbacks that these trails share are seriously no joke! I love the panoramic views of Washoe Valley and Reno and the peaceful solitude of the trail. It’s also nice to sit and relax with your lunch by the pond before continuing on. The cell phone service tends to drop about halfway through the hike, but that's okay! Disconnect from your music and listen to nature's playlist, instead! Trail Info!
Rose Knob Peak
Recommended by Jade Bourdeau, Community Programs Educator
Rose Knob Peak is located in Mt. Rose Wilderness near Incline Village-Crystal bay. It is a 4.8mile out and back trail with 1,230 ft of elevation gain. It’s one of my favorites since it isn't as popular as some of the other trails in Tahoe. It’s shaded most of the way and follows a little stream. There are a couple false summits, keep going until you see a huge pile of rocks or use the AllTrails app to help track where you are. Although it's tough, the amazing view of the lake makes it worth it! I would recommend lots of water, sunscreen, and bug spray.
Brown's Creek Loop
Recommended by Miranda Sanford, Development Director
Tucked in the St. James Village neighborhood near Galena Regional Park, Brown's Creek Loop is a perfect 4.8-mile, moderate trail packed with views. I love this trail because it takes you through multiple landscapes! The first mile is a shaded steady climb surrounded by Ponderosa and Jeffrey Pine Trees, manzanita, and mahala mat. Don't forget to stop at the vista point to soak in the views before you enter the loop! Bring plenty of sunscreen because the majority of the loop isn't shaded, but makes up for it with wildflowers galore. Check out the Desert Paintbrush, varieties of Phlox, Yellow Salsify, and dozens of other plants brightly lining the trail. About halfway through the loop, you can continue onto United States Forest Service land and make your way back to finish the loop. Be sure to respect other trail users by keeping a lookout for mountain bikers and equestrian riders. Trail Info!
Pinecone Peak to Fuller Lake
Recommended byTyler Morris, Resource Development Coordinator
Image by Karen Dosh via alltrails.com
Fuller Lake is a 8.5 mile out-and-back-again trail. Please be advised, this trail is located on private property, though it is currently open to the public. Portions of the trail may be closed off at the property owner’s discretion. Out a little ways past Verdi, Nevada, this hike takes you out of the desert and into the Jeffrey Pines of the lower Sierras. A bit eerie, the Lake was the site of an old boy scout camp, complete with bunk houses and staff quarters. Today you can still wander through the dilapidated buildings and, if you are feeling adventurous, try to make it to the top of Cone Peak! Trail Info!
Spooner Summit to Marlette Lake
Recommended by Hannah King, Nature Study Area Development Coordinator
Image from Wikimedia Commons
This 9 mile, out-and-back trail is a great hike and/or backpacking spot! You start by passing Spooner Lake and Spooner Cabin. After about 2 miles, you start your climb up, which definitely gets the blood pumping. Luckily, there's a good amount of shade coverage. Once you get your first glimpse of the beautiful Marlette Lake, stop and take a water break and appreciate that it's all downhill from here. After making it to the lake, enjoy your snacks, take a dip to cool off from your hike, and prepare yourself for the uphill going back! Trail info!
Recommended by Kayla Sherman, Naturalist Educator
Located just South of Reno, Thomas Creek meanders from Sunflower Mountain into the surrounding neighborhoods. We enjoy this 14.7 mile out and back trail because you go from sagebrush habitat to the forested foothills. You will start on the outskirts of a neighborhood following the creek and then slowly transition from the sounds of city life to the sounds of nature. This hike is still close to town but leaves you feeling like you are in the middle of the wilderness. For a shorter hike, you can also do the 5 mile Thomas Creek to Dry Pond trail. Trail Info!
Hunter Creek Trail
Recommended by Elena Larsen,Wetland Restoration Program Director
This is a gorgeous trail that leads to an awesome waterfall. The trail is narrow in areas and the footing isn’t always stable, but it’s definitely worth it. The first half of the trail does not have much shade, so an early start is recommended and lots of sunscreen! You won’t regret the journey when you get to the destination! Trail Info!
Peavine Peak Trail
Recommended by Daniel Correa,Wetland Restoration Technician
Peavine Peak Trail is in Northwest Reno. It’s trailhead is located in a suburban area with parking located in front of the trailhead. The trail loop is 9 miles long with an elevation gain of 2,900 ft, and is considered a somewhat challenging hike due to its inclines and elevation gain. Even though it's a difficult hike, I really enjoyed it because there was so much to admire as I walked the trail. There are a multitude of plant species that grow in the area such as sagebrush, rabbitbrush and aspen trees. There were also magnificent rock formations alongside the trails. However the amazing view of Reno while hiking up and down is what makes the hike really worth it; which also makes for a great picture background. The terrain changes from sandy to gravel trail in some sections, so I would recommend good hiking boots. Overall, Peavine Peak Trail is an amazing trail where one can enjoy nature and get a good work out. Trail Info!
Davis Creek Park- Discovery Trail Loop
Recommended by: Karly Bristol, Operations & Communications Manager
Davis Creek Regional Park is in a picturesque pocket of high-desert diversity located directly across from Washoe Lake. The 1.7 mile Discovery Trail Loop circles the park and campground, introducing hikers and casual walkers to native desert plants and panoramic views, as well as bountiful forests of Jeffrey pines and crisp, clear water sources. This park is great for camping, fishing, hiking, picnicking, and more. Adventurers can easily find some shaded solace for themselves and their furry friends whether they’re hoofing the trail, or when lounging by Davis Pond. I highly recommend this trail for out-of-state visitors and beginners! The diverse flora showcases all that Nevada has to offer, while keeping the elevation gain to a minimum. Pro tip- make sure to stop and smell the pines. Jeffrey Pines smell like vanilla! Trail Info!
We hope this list gives you some great ideas for your future adventures! If you've hiked any of these trails, tell us what you think in the comments or give us some of your own recommendations! Happy trails!