I was born and raised in Lake Tahoe, and that turned me into a big outdoor enthusiast. Between the lake and mountains, there was always something to do outside year-round.
When I first moved here in 2011, I was able to continue that lifestyle and quickly found my favorite outdoor activities in Reno.
There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy all year round. Now that I have kids of my own, I am so excited to share with them the wonder, excitement, and joy of our outdoor adventures. Here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order.
My Four Favorite Outdoor Activities
Hiking at Dog Valley
In addition to having two young kids, we also have two dogs, so we are big on outdoor activities that include them. We like to let them off-leash and roam, so a big open space is a must.
No matter the season, we find ourselves spending a lot of time in Dog Valley for those exact reasons. Dogs can be off-leash and there is plenty of land and roads to discover.
In the summer, we hike in the pine trees, find creeks to cool off in, and literally stop to smell the flowers. In the winter, we snowshoe through the meadows, search for the perfect Christmas tree (*permit required), and build snowmen.
When we are there, everything feels right in the world. It is definitely our happy place, and it’s hard to imagine a better spot so close to home where we can be this free and one with nature.
Southeast Connector Bike Trail
When we are looking for an adventure of the two-wheeled variety, we grab our bikes and bike trailer for the kids and head over to the Southeast Connector.
You might be thinking that this is a particularly odd area to enjoy nature. But, where else in town can you ride your bike and get a chance to see horses?
It’s a perfect length bike ride, and the kids really enjoy getting to see horses so close. I prefer to do this trail in the late spring and early to mid-fall, as it is unsheltered from the hot sun.
Pack a lunch and ride over to Hidden Valley Regional Park while you’re over there. There are more biking trails, a playground for the kids, and picnic areas to enjoy your lunch.
If you like biking with your dogs, there’s also a dog park at Hidden Valley Regional Park, making it a great outdoor activity for the whole family. The park also wonderful views of the city and really is a great way to spend your whole day.
Fishing at Davis Creek
My husband and I went fishing on our first date. It was magical and sweet and romantic – even though I caught the only (very small) fish. Fishing has become a big part of our lives and when we lived in Montana, we never missed a Sunday on the water.
If you think the only place to fish in Reno is the Truckee River, you’d be gravely mistaken. One of our favorite fishing spots is Davis Creek.
We love this area so much, we had our engagement pictures taken there. We take our sons there to fish multiple times each summer, and this is easily my favorite outdoor activity to do in the Reno area.
For the best fishing, get there in late spring to early summer after they’ve stocked the pond for the season. The earlier in the morning you can get there, the better, as this is a fairly popular spot to fish.
It also is a great place to camp and has hiking trails around the pond at the base of the creek and up the mountainside.
To get the full experience, stay overnight at the campground. Camp spots are on a first come first serve basis unless you reserve one in advance. But, it’s a very nice campground and close enough to home that you can run back if you forget anything.
Float the Truckee River
This wouldn’t be a post about outdoor activities in Reno if I didn’t mention the Truckee River. There are many things to do on the Truckee (fish, kayak, surf), but my favorite thing to do of them all is float the river.
I prefer to float in the mid to late summer after all the snow runoff has come down the mountains and the river is moving slow. You don’t want to go too late in the season, because you’ll end up bruised and have to walk in some places. And you don’t want to go too early when the water is high and moving swiftly.
I find the middle of July to have the best conditions in most years. The best part about the float is there is no limit to how many people can join you. I would recommend, however, leaving young kids at home because it does take a few hours and can be deep in some sections.
There are many locations to put in, but we usually float from Mayberry to the downtown water park – right before the rapids. Take some water and/or adult beverages (only if you have a designated driver), and enjoy good conversation, perfect weather, and the soothing sounds of the river.
Bonus points: if it gets too hot, hop off your raft and take a dip! The snowmelt will cool you down in no time, but won’t chill you to the bone.
A few more favorites
This list of my favorite outdoor activities in Reno is honestly just the tip of the iceberg, and it was so hard to narrow down to just these four.
There’s so much to do here in Reno – snowshoeing to Chickadee Ridge, snow sports at Mt. Rose, the Galena trail system, Pyramid Lake, multiple County Parks, the entire downtown Riverwalk district, Artown, wine walks, etc. – that I feel guilty picking just a few of my favorites.
But that’s the good news about the Biggest Little City. That we have so many things to do outside, that picking favorites isn’t easy. There’s plenty to explore and so many adventures right here in Reno.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and find your favorite outdoor activities in Reno!
Katie Jones is a busy boy mom, wife and career woman. She knows how hard it can be to take on many roles both inside and outside the home, but has some helpful tips and tricks to balancing life, even when you’re feeling too tired to do anything. As a Northern Nevada mom, she talks about how to take advantage of the great outdoors, sharing wonderful and easy recipes, the importance of self-care, and the craziness of raising boys.