Top 8 bike rides for kids in Reno/Sparks
Spring is around the corner, but so is the urge to get those bikes out of the garage and onto a trail of continuous terra firma. There are so many rides to do in the area, many that can be completed quickly simply because they are only one to two miles in length. Others are longer in course, but bikers and kids have the choice to call it a turn-around at any point they wish.
Most of the bike paths on our list are paved and easy to complete due to negligible elevation. Are those wheels calling you yet? Here is our list of the best bike rides to do with kids in the area.
Fun is the word at Damonte Ranch Park, 1899 Steamboat Parkway, located in South Reno. Although parking may sometimes be hard to find (even though the lot was just expanded), the park is accessible by bike, whether someone lives locally or is driving in. The trail can be found at the back side of the park and meanders around the wetlands that are at the center of the Damonte Ranch community. Although a bathroom is available at the park, there are none along the trail. Benches, a wooden bridge over the water and the marshy area make this trail a satisfying ride for anyone wondering if the call off of the sofa was worth it.
Get on those bikes for a quick .8-mile jaunt on a crushed stone pathway along a trail east of Reno at Lockwood Park. The trail features picnic areas, access to the Truckee River, and pit toilets and takes bikers through a low-desert terrain of sagebrush, native vegetation and shrubbery with a backdrop of cottonwoods along some points of the river. There are no residential areas here, although the place was home to a trailer park more than two decades ago. Along with other organizations, the county converted the area into a park in 2008-09. Address: Exit 22 off of I-80, approximately 10 miles east of Reno. Take a right at the end of the off-ramp, continue past Lockwood Road and make a right onto a dirt road at the sign for Lockwood Trailhead.
This 1.2-mile trail is easy for any kids having a hard time pulling themselves off the sofa and into the outdoors on a bike. This trail can easily be accessed from Mira Loma Park, 3000 S. McCarran Blvd., a park that also provides its own benefits of a skate park (bikers welcome!) featuring several bowls. The trail runs alongside the Boynton Slough that offers a landscape of reeds, willows, birds and even the occasional fish that jumps up out of the water. The park itself has a fitness course along its loop trail, about nine-tenths of a mile, along with bathrooms, picnic tables and a playground.
The approximately 2-mile loop around the Sparks Marina, 300 Howard Drive, Sparks, provides plenty of legroom and space for bikers on this pathway, which is asphalt part of the way and concrete the other. Restrooms on either side of the loop provide convenient access for potty breaks, but kids also can enjoy views of birds on the water or stop at the playground in the corner of the park closest to the parking lot. There also are plenty of benches for a rest, a sandy beach, a dog park, and a small ride down a hill if you take a counter-clockwise direction on the loop around the marina.
Nearly everyone can appreciate the beauty and enjoyment of a bike ride downtown along the Truckee River. The River Ride trail can be started at Idlewild Park, 1900 Idlewild Drive, and continued on for any distance up to about 12 miles through to the eastern end of Sparks. Several parks are passed along the way, many with picnic tables and bathrooms, but the trail also meanders through marsh, industrial areas, residential areas and even wetlands. It is mostly flat, offering an easy ride for anyone ready to give up that comfy seat on the sofa and willing to get outside. Idlewild Park has ample parking as well as bathrooms, picnic areas, a skate park and playground.
Anyone who lives in Double Diamond knows how easy it is to access the South Meadows Trails, a five-mile system of paved pathways utilized by bikers and outdoors enthusiasts of all kinds. The pathway is nestled up along a wetlands area that features a variety of birds and wildlife, which become all the more resplendent in warmer months. Even more, the trail system is accessible from several different parks within Double Diamond, including Center Creek Park, 1595 Wilbur May Parkway; Comstock Park, 1650 Carat Ave.; Evergreen Park, 9555 Evergreen Drive; and Horizon View Park, 9675 Wilbur May Parkway. Restrooms and parking can be found at the various park trailheads.
The near one-mile loop around Virginia Lane Park, 1980 Lakeside Drive, is an enticing trail for anyone looking for a short-and-easy ride on a bike. Parking is readily accessible in the parking lot at the north end of the park or anywhere curbside along Lakeside Drive. Bathrooms are open year-round, benches are available for a rest (kind of like the sofa!), and a floating dock on one side make this a pleasant place for families and kids to ride their bikes. Of course, this loop can sometimes become a little bit crowded with the runners, dog walkers and pedestrians taking advantage of it, but a quick "excuse me" or a ring of a bike bell provides a friendly courtesy for passing someone by.
The trail around Teglia's Paradise Park, 2745 Elementary Drive, Sparks, is great for anyone looking for an easy one-mile ride on a bike. If a longer ride is needed just travel the loop around the park again. The trail is paved for the entire route and travels around four different ponds, all offering views of wildlife, native animals and plants. Other amenities include a playground, restroom and picnic shelters. A fitness course and fishing pier provide other reasons to get out and enjoy this path on a bike.