Northern Nevada is home to many natural wonders, gorgeous forests, white-capped mountains, crystal clear lakes, and beautiful flowers that bloom in the high desert. But one of the most enchanting things about Northern Nevada is the spectacular sky when checking out the sunrise and sunset in Reno and surrounding areas!
Before having children, I would often hike to the tops of mountains and watch the sunrise or sunsets as a gentle start to my mornings or as a way to wind down in the evenings.
Now, bedtime more often than not takes precedence over slowly watching the sun wake or go to sleep. I still get to see them often but generally, they are from much more accessible areas now.
Where to Watch the Sunrise and Sunset in Reno, Sparks, and Beyond
In this article, I have shared some of my favorite sunrises and sunset viewing but also a few places that would be ideal for viewing the magnificent sunrises and sunsets that Northern Nevada has to offer every single day!
There are so many amazing spots to catch the sunrise or sunset in Reno and beyond, so be sure to leave a comment with your favorite spots below.
Sunset on the East Shore of Washoe Lake
Located in Washoe Lake State Park, just past the Deadman’s Creek Trailhead on the southeastern shore of Washoe Lake sits a quiet picnic area perfectly situated to allow you to park your car and watch the sunset. Here you can listen to the birds sing as they settle in for the night and the waves lap against the shore. The highway through Washoe was surprisingly quiet and didn’t interrupt the beauty around me. I had the night to myself and I really enjoyed spending the evening out here watching life on the lake and the sun sink behind the mountains in a bright white sky.
Pack up dinner and bring it with you! The kids can play in the grass and maybe even catch a glimpse of some wild horses in the distance while watching the sun set behind the beautiful Sierra Nevadas.
Sunrise from my own Driveway
The sunrises here evoke a huge emotion from me. Something about the coolness of the morning, the slight smell of the cows nearby, the stillness in the air and the quiet- still sleeping neighborhood.
A silence that lets my heart speak. A coolness that refreshes my soul. A smell that will forever remind me of home. Rest that brings rejuvenation and a new day.
This fiery sky reminded me that we all have a fire within us, sometimes it’s quiet, it smolders, it silently rises but other days it burns. It burns a fire in our souls. One that begs for us to speak it gently into the morning’s fiery skies.
Allow yourself moments to watch the sun- rise over you. I am so happy to live here so that I can watch for these amazing sunrises every morning, well at least on the mornings that I make it out of bed in time!
Sunset over the Carson Valley
On a hill just across from Home Depot at a Church in south Carson, this vantage point gives a spectacular view of the Carson Valley. You can see Minden and Gardnerville, and far off in the distance along the base of the snow-capped mountains, is the quaint city of Genoa. This lovely spot allows you to also gaze out over the farmland that is still scattered throughout the valley. There is so much beauty in our home.
Here also sits a bench built in memory of my daughter Rainey. It provides the perfect place to watch the sunset and spend time with my sweet girl here.
Sunset at Bartley Ranch
Bartley Ranch is a wonderful park that is situated on the west side of Reno. The park has a lovely mile-and-a-half hiking trail that walks you through the historical park.
During the hike, you will encounter Windy Hill Scenic overlook which conveniently has parking spaces if you do not want to hike the full mile and a half. This lookout has a few benches that look out towards the east across Reno. Mt. Rose is towards your back which makes it feel like you are surrounded by mountains!
I imagine that this would be a spectacular place to watch the sunrise over Reno. With the tranquil quiet trail, this would be a wonderful place to start your morning! The last time I was here I found the tiniest little rainbow.
Sunrise at Virginia City
Virginia City is nestled along the Virginia Range just to the east of Reno. The most commonly driven route to Virginia City is up Geiger Grade from Reno. This road has steep climbs and tight turns with multiple pullouts to stop and look out over the valley.
Geiger Grade climbs to an elevation of 6,789 feet which offers amazing views of Reno, Washoe Valley, and the Sierra Mountains most recognizable as the remarkable Mt. Rose. As you traverse your way up Geiger Grade there are many viewpoints that give way too seriously amazing sunrises and sunsets.
While I wasn’t able to get a picture of the sunrise or sunset this time, we did stop at an adorable little cafe, The Roasting House. The cafe offers a relaxing back deck to enjoy a tasty quick breakfast and delicious coffee. The littles enjoyed their own smoothies!
Virginia City feels like taking a step back in time and a fun morning adventure for the kiddos!
Sunrise at Eagle Falls
Eagle falls is an awe inspiring destination on the east shore of Lake Tahoe. There is a small parking lot at the trailhead which gets full quickly but if you are planning to be here for sunrise, I promise that you will beat the crowds!
Bring a thermos of coffee, cross over the highway and sit on the wall above the falls for one of the best spots to watch the sunrise over Lake Tahoe. The falls flow from an upper alpine lake and rush down into the iconic Emerald Bay of Lake Tahoe.
Once you’ve watched the sunrise, I highly suggest hiking the three to four miles up to Eagle Lake. The views at the Lake will not disappoint. The granite faces of surrounding mountains, trees, and the changing scenery will remind you why our precious Lake Tahoe State Park is one of the most beautiful places in the United States.
Prison Hill & Dead Truck Canyon Trail
This hike is one of my all-time favorites. Prison Hill offers many starting points to hike the Hill and allows you to choose your adventure; a simple nature hike, or a hard uphill climb, or a longer gentle looping trail. Dead Truck Canyon Trail is a bit more challenging and longer hike without the option of choosing a shorter trail.
It starts on the east side of Prison Hill and meets with the end of the southern tip of the North Loop of Prison Hill. While hiking through the canyon you will come across a 1950’s truck that was abandoned after it became stuck in the canyon years ago. Once you find the abandoned truck that the trail is named after, you will see why the owners ultimately decided to abandon it there for good!
These hikes are very close to Carson City which makes it easy to take an early morning hike or an evening hike- which I heavily suggest as there is no tree coverage here and in the heat of the summer there will be rattlesnakes on the trail. Many look at this hike and see a hot, miserable desert hike; but for me, I appreciate the quick climb and the views of the entire Carson Valley.
It offers a unique vantage point to see the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I love that you can be so close to the city but still feel like you are completely out of it.
If you cannot make it to any of these vista points, hikes, or small cities- don’t worry! Your commute to or from work will more often than not offer you a spectacular view of the gorgeous Northern Nevada sunrises and sunsets.
You don’t have to be an avid hiker or adventurer to see these gorgeous skies!
Favorite Spots to View Sunrises or Sunsets?
We would love to hear about your favorite places to view the Northern Nevada sunrises and sunsets and see your photos!
Breanna Naccarato is an entrepreneur, a mother of two, and owner of Loved Momma Fitness. Sadly in the spring of 2021, she lost her second daughter at birth and has since transitioned her business from working directly with pregnant and postpartum mothers into bringing more awareness to stillbirth and sharing her knowledge of pelvic floor health and exercise through different outlets. She loves the outdoors and camping with her family in their Adventure Van. Sharing her adventures, joys, and pain with others in hopes to also allow them to find their voice and the words to boldly share their own lives is something that she is very passionate about.