If you’re visiting Reno in the summer, be sure to venture up to the mountains for a breathtaking hike (literally—the mountains sit at over a mile above sea level, so spend a few days in Reno to get acclimated before you climb). Mount Rose, the bowl overlooking the Great Basin where Reno is located, is a great all-day trek for experienced hikers. You’ll see a huge variety of wildlife, including hawks, jays, and finches. Be on the lookout for larger predators like coyotes and bears—and be sure to keep your food sealed and pets on a leash.
Lake Tahoe and Pyramid Lake, connected by the Truckee River, which runs straight through downtown Reno, are two impressive but very different local natural wonders. Lake Tahoe is surrounded by multi-million-dollar cabins and ski resorts, and the massive lake is home to nothing but gorgeous, mountainous views.
Off the Beaten Path
Pyramid is the smaller of the two lakes, named for a pyramid of rock that juts out of the far side of the lake. Surrounded by sandy dunes, most of Pyramid’s land is protected and belongs to the local Paiute tribe. It is a much quieter scene popular among fishermen and jet skiers. To stay at Pyramid, bring your camping gear.
Best Day Trip
Reno is a day trip distance away from the famous Yosemite National Park, the best in the West for climbing, hiking, and incredible views. Get up early and plan on a four- to six-hour drive. Staying in Reno is a great way to avoid the crowds trying to stay in the park in warmer months. If the trek to Yosemite isn’t on your itinerary this time, or if you’re looking for a local spot to camp and get close to Lake Tahoe, head up to Toiyabe National Forest campgrounds, located on the north side of Lake Tahoe.
Visit the Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park to see the most impressive collection of ichthyosaur history from the area housed in a true Nevada mining ghost town. The marine giant swam in the area 225 million years ago, and prospectors came to Nevada looking for precious minerals much more recently. Both have since died out, but you can learn the local history by exploring what they left behind.
Reopened in the past decade with a fresh look and new mission, the Nevada Museum of Art has a rotating collection of nationally recognized exhibits that do not disappoint. From Aboriginal art to local Native American artifacts, the museum draws visitors and locals alike.
For a night on the town, head to the local bar scene in downtown Reno. Skip the casinos and venture to the bars around Arlington and First Streets. You can also see the iconic “Biggest Little City in the World” archway while you’re at it.
Neighborhood to Explore
Walk around the growing indie bar and restaurant scene right in the heart of downtown Reno. Start at the Arlington bridge and walk along the river, stopping at cafés, bars, and restaurants as you go.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Sit on the steps leading down to the Truckee River just past the Arlington bridge. In the summer, you can watch locals enjoying the art festival, which takes place in Wingfield Park, the island located in the middle of downtown on the river. In the winter, you can sit with a hot cup of coffee and enjoy the brisk snowy air.
Best Local Park
For a good local park experience, head to Rancho San Rafael Regional Park in the heart of Reno. Family and pet friendly, the park has plenty of walking trails, small lakes, and picturesque vistas.