The Reno area attracts outdoor enthusiasts in the winter because of its proximity to legendary Tahoe skiing at resorts that have become a household name, including Palisades Tahoe and Heavenly Mountain Resort. But winter isn’t the only time Reno provides incredible access to the mountains and high desert. Read on to see why Reno is the ultimate gateway city for spring and summer adventures in the Sierra Nevada.
Dual Days: Reno’s Answer to Spring Fun
Few places in the world do spring like Reno. The elevation difference between Tahoe ski resorts and the city itself brings multiple climates into play. Well into spring (and some years, even into summer), you can spend your mornings on the slopes until the snow gets soft. Then head to lower elevations for spring temperatures sans snow, which means access to trails for hiking and biking, golf courses, and even water activities. All this in one dual-adventure day.
Wildflower & Waterfall Hikes
Dual days aren’t the only benefit of multiple elevations all within an hour’s drive. Spring hiking season (aka wildflower and waterfall season) starts in the Reno area in April. But when flowers stop blooming at lower elevations, you don’t have to go far to keep the excitement alive. Wildflowers continue blooming in the Tahoe area well into July—that’s four months of wildflower adventures within an hour from the city.
Easy Access to Gorgeous Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is the crown jewel of the Sierra. The massive lake is known for its crystal-clear water and stunning mountain backdrops. And it’s only 30 minutes from downtown Reno. Whether you’re lounging on the beach at a lakefront state park or getting out on the water in a kayak, stand-up paddleboard, or boat, Lake Tahoe is a must-see spot on any trip to the Reno area. The little mountain towns surrounding the lake, including Incline Village, Kings Beach, and Tahoe City are great spots to soak in the views while enjoying lunch alfresco.
Endless Backcountry Wilderness
When the snow melts in the high country, hikers can explore hundreds of miles of trails in the wilderness areas and national forests just outside of Reno. The evergreen forests and granite peaks in the Sierra Nevada are home to world-renowned trails, including the Tahoe Rim Trail, which loops around Lake Tahoe and has several trailheads for easy access for day hikes, and Desolation Wilderness hikes in the El Dorado National Forest.
City River Access for Whitewater and Floating
Although Lake Tahoe is a great option for cooling off in the summertime, you don’t even have to leave the city to get access to water activities in Reno and nearby Sparks. The Truckee River flows right through downtown Reno, and you can find access points throughout the city. Float from Mayberry Park to the city center or spend the day lounging and swimming from the riverbank. For an adrenaline rush, head to the Truckee River Whitewater Park to paddle through five man-made rapids on the river. Or book a guided whitewater rafting tour and experience even more of the beautiful Truckee River. Just a few minutes east of Reno, the Sparks Marina is a great spot for stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking that delivers wide-open views of the Sierra Nevada.
In-Town Amenities in the Biggest Little City
One of the nicest parts of basing your Sierra adventures out of Reno is the access to restaurants, breweries and distilleries, events, and culture. After a day of adventures in the mountains, this vibrant city delivers on alfresco eats, nightlife, and creature comforts. Wind down with an amazing meal in downtown Reno or along the Reno Riverwalk District. Or celebrate the end of an amazing trip with a night at the casinos.