Find fall colors on easy local hikes
This story was originally published in 2015.
With the leaves turning colors, autumn in Northern Nevada is a perfect time to get the family out to enjoy the fresh air and fall foliage. From trails near Tahoe to those in town, Reno offers some of the best hiking in the country with plenty of the trails appropriate for all skill levels. The whole family can get out and enjoy the changing colors on these kid-friendly trails.
Spooner Lake Trail
Nestled in the mountains near Lake Tahoe, the Spooner Lake Trail is a 1.8-mile loop with a well-maintained dirt path that leads hikers through densely-populated groves of aspen. A popular trail for hikers of all ages, Spooner boasts beautiful views of the lake, and at this time of year, many photo opportunities among the changing colors of the trees. Spooner Lake is about an hour out of Reno, and the trailhead can be found off of highway 50.
Galena Creek Nature Trail
Located off the Bitterbrush trail in Galena Creek Regional Park and less than half an hour from town, Galena Creek’s nature trail leads hikers through a forest of willow, pine and manzanita. The trail is 1 mile, with a .7-mile option, and includes 18 various signposts along its length, explaining both the area history and flora and fauna. Guided tours of the area are available Sunday each week leaving from the visitor center at 10 a.m. Galena Creek Regional Park can be reached off of Mount Rose highway.
Rancho San Rafael Regional Park
With a slew of free activities, beautifully manicured garden trails and micro-environments to explore, Rancho San Rafael Regional Park is an oasis near downtown. Families can park in the lots near the Wilbur D. May Center, and take off on a variety of little one-friendly paths through the arboretum, rose gardens or into the hills. The park also has a free Discovery Room full of local history and activities, and pony rides for a small fee. Rancho San Rafael is located near the university off of North Sierra Street.
Along the Truckee River in Northwest Reno is Mayberry Park, a paved trail perfect for little walkers or babies in strollers. There are parking lots are off Woodland Avenue, and families can hike up to 3 miles or just enjoy the nature along the river. Fishing is permitted, and plentiful picnic tables and grassy spots make this park a great option for a nature walk followed by a picnic. Those looking for more of a challenge can pack the babies into a carrier and hit the Tom Cooke Trail from here, which winds into the foothills above.
Bartley Ranch Regional Park
Many know Bartley Ranch for the annual Celtic festival or outdoor concerts at the park each year, but it is also home to a series of easy hiking trails and walking paths. Once a working ranch, the park features displays of real, small barns and other outdoor buildings that have been rescued, as well as the historic Huffaker School. This is also a great park to make an afternoon of it, take a picnic and meander the many paths the park offers, while taking in the changing colors and local history the park provides.