Spring ripped through the Truckee Meadows this past weekend. Despite the snow flurries last Wednesday, the trees are now in bloom!
Since the longest winter ever is finally over, it’s time to don your walking/hiking shoes and get out into nature! Below are some of our *favorite Truckee River hikes within the Truckee Meadows.
First things first: Remember to always carry the right equipment with you for safety — no need to be a hero. And make sure whatever you pack in, you’re packing right back out. Also: Leave wildlife alone! You’re bound to see a ton of creatures when you’re out and about. Leave them alone and they’ll leave you alone.
*These hikes are based on Washoe County’s Truckee Meadows Trails guide.
1. Crystal Peak Nature Trail
Crystal Peak is the last park on the right before you enter into California on I-80. It’s tucked away among large and shading trees, and you’ll probably see some deer while you’re there. (Don’t forget to brush up on your wildlife species before you go so you’ll know what you’re looking at!)
The park is 56 acres with multiple access points to the Truckee River. The interpretive loop is scattered with educational information about the park’s history and the river’s involvement.
Visitors are welcome to fish either in the river or at the Verdi Pond (onsite).
Hiking tip: This trail is not demanding, and there’s plenty of shade. There are a few path options, but nothing that takes you far from one of the many parking lots and a seasonal restroom. Great location for a family stroll!
2. Lockwood Trail
Now we’ll jump to the ~other~ end of the Truckee Meadows: Lockwood Trail. This trail is adjacent to the Lockwood community, a few minutes east of Sparks, off I-80.
There’s an interpretive trail and a loop trail, and both blend into one another for an approximate one-mile walk. The path is a natural surface, and it’s relatively flat. A parking lot, seasonal restroom, and educational bulletin board are all available at the trailhead.
Hiking tip: There’s not as much shade on the outer path, so if it’s hot outside, definitely bring a hat and sunscreen! Dogs are welcome, and there’s even a small boat launch.
3. Oxbow Nature Study Area Trail
Ah, Oxbow. An oasis in the middle of Reno. The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) uses Oxbow as a Wildlife Education and Aquatic Education location for all interested parties.
The looping trail is an easy one mile loop, and it takes you past all sorts of trees, grasslands, a pond, and (of course) the Truckee River! There are multiple benches along the way to sit and immerse yourself in nature.
And if you’re interested in a field trip, you’re in luck! Regional wildlife coordinators onsite are happy to share their wealth of knowledge. Just reach out beforehand.
Hiking tip: Oxbow is extremely well-maintained, and there are restrooms and educational information onsite. The well-preserved greenery offers shade throughout most of the trail. This is an easy path for the whole family to enjoy, but make sure to leave Buddy at home. No dogs allowed here!
4. Tom Cooke Trail
Those living out on River Front and River Flow drives are so lucky to have this trail (and more) in their backyard. The Tom Cooke Trail is west of Mayberry Park out on the western edge of Reno. There are a few spots to park and start the hike (Mayberry or the trailhead off White Fir Street).
Part of the trail puts you right next to the Truckee River, where you might see fishermen and tubing parties depending on the time of year. Wave hi!
Hiking tip: There’s not a ton of shade and more than enough uphill, so wear sunscreen, a hat, and sturdy shoes. Keep an eye out for wildlife, too.
5. Tahoe-Pyramid Trail
The mother of all river trails, this baby follows the Truckee River from beginning to end: Lake Tahoe all the way out to Pyramid Lake (give or take a few working sections).
You’re welcome to bike, run, hike, walk, or much more along this ~114 mile long trail. And the Truckee River landscape throughout is stunning — urban, rural, and completely natural.
Hiking tip: The path’s surface changes throughout, so make sure you know what to expect on whichever section you’re tackling. (Don’t worry: TPT’s website gives you all the necessary information.)
We hope you take the time to enjoy at least one of these hikes this spring/summer. Always remember to be prepared, leave everything as you found it, and take pictures!
If you’re looking for events to pull you out the door and along or near one of these trails, check out the One Truckee River Month events below:
- May 5, 9 a.m.: Cookie Ride on the Tahoe Pyramid Trail
- May 8, 7:30 a.m.: Bird Walk at Oxbow Nature Study Area
- May 16, 6 p.m.: Discover Your Parks: Lockwood
- May 23, 7 p.m.: Oxbow After Dark!
- May 26, 2 p.m.: Family Kite Fly (details coming)
(Our full One Truckee River Month Calendar is here.)
Looking for more trails? Check out Mike White’s and Mark Vollmer’s book, 50 of the Best Strolls, Walks, and Hikes around Reno, and join us at our Visual Tour of Reno Trails presentation at Patagonia on May 9!