backpacking near reno

Family-Friendly Backpacking Near Reno, Nevada

We are sharing kid and family-friendly backpacking near Reno, Nevada.  Each one between 4-7 miles round trip.

I will also describe alternative ways to do a backpacking trip— with a guide. In addition, I will give you information on local backpacking excursions that are available to tweens and teens!

BackPacking Near Reno

If this is your first backpacking trip definitely check out my Ultimate Guide to Family Backpacking.

Near Donner Lake

Peter Grubb Hut and Round Valley Trail
Location: Tahoe National Forest
Driving distance: 45 min. from Reno, near Donner Lake
Difficulty level: Moderate
Length: 4.7 miles out and back

Angela, Flora, and Azalea Lakes via Pacific Crest and Donner Summit Lakes Trail
Location: Tahoe National Forest
Driving distance: 45 min. from Reno, near Donner Lake
Difficulty level: Moderate
Length: 6.2-mile loop

Near North Lake Tahoe

Five Lakes Trail
Location: Tahoe National Forest, near Olympic Valley
Driving distance: an hour plus from Reno near Alpine Meadows, North Lake Tahoe
Difficulty level: Moderate
Length: 5 miles out and back

Rocky Ridge Road, Silver Trail, Antone Meadows, and Burton Creek
Location: Burton Creek State Park
Driving distance: an hour plus from Reno near Tahoe City in North Lake Tahoe
Difficulty level: Easy
Length: 6.1-mile loop

South of Reno near Echo Lake, California

Big Meadow to Round Lake
Location: Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
Driving distance: 1.5 hours south of Reno near Echo Lake, Ca.
Difficulty level: Moderate
Length: 6 miles out and back

South of Reno near Kirkwood, California

Lake Margaret
Location: El Dorado National Forest
Driving distance: 1.5 hours south of Reno near Kirkwood, Ca.
Difficulty level: Moderate
Length: 4.8 miles out and back

Lake Winnemucca from Carson Pass via PCT
Location: Mokelumne Wilderness
Driving distance: 1.5 hours south of Reno near Kirkwood, Ca.
Difficulty level: Moderate
Length: 5.1 miles out and back

Winnemucca and Round Top Lakes
Location: Mokelumne Wilderness
Driving distance: 1.5 hours south of Reno near Kirkwood, Ca.
Difficulty level: Easy
Length: 7 miles out and back

backpacking with kids

Alternatively: Leave it to the experts, and book a guided trip!

If you are new to backpacking and want the extra security of traveling with a seasoned expert, there are a few good options to consider.

Tahoe Jack’s

Book a Lake Tahoe overnight backpack trip with Tahoe Jack’s. They literally provide everything you could need for a 24-hour trip and provide a trusted guide to teach you the ins and outs.

Tahoe Adventure Company

Take a Backpacking 101 course with a seasoned pro that is a 5-mile trek and overnight stay geared towards those that are new to backpacking— including families with kids. I

t is costly but it includes all gear, including camp equipment for food preparation and water filtration and camp safety supplies such as stoves, water filters, bear canisters, cookware, and tents.

Excursions for Kids Ages 12-17

Tahoe Rim Trail Association

I mentioned earlier in this article that local backpacking excursions are available to tweens and teens. Tahoe Rim Trail Association has youth programs and backcountry trips for ages 12-14 and 14-17. Kids will spend 4 days backpacking along the Tahoe Rim Trail with expert backpacking guides. See details here.

Life lessons and critical skills are learned:

  • Backcountry living skills
  • Map & compass navigation
  • Wilderness survival skills
  • Leave No Trace wilderness ethics
  • Local ecology and geology
  • Leadership & team building

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Enjoy the outdoors!

If you are planning to backpack near Reno, or even in Tahoe or surrounding areas with kids this summer, I hope these tips have been helpful for you to consider your options safely for your family!

Have you backpacked these trails? Do you have recommendations or advice to share? We welcome hearing your trekking stories!

Maureen Lowe
Maureen Lowe

Maureen Lowe is a Bay Area native that relocated to the high desert mountains of Southwest Reno with her family in 2017. Mama to her active pup and toddler boy, Maureen is a textile designer and graduate of CCA San Francisco. With a lifelong love of nature and the arts, Maureen has made it a mission to explore Reno’s scenic trails and cultural offerings to find kid and dog-friendly outings that work in all seasons.