Phillip Annie Callahan Park is a beautiful and secret park nestled in a forest next to Mt. Rose Highway. I stumbled upon this park as I was looking for parks in the south to enjoy in the summer with my family. I was shocked at how a beautiful park like this could be kept as a secret for so long. In the 5 years I've been visiting, it's always been low-key and peaceful. I'm guessing that people probably pass it by and head straight to the nearby, well known Galena Regional Park.
Although the park is on the small side, with one pavilion, limited paved pathways, two play structures, a couple of pretty decent grass areas, and a sprinkling of picnic tables, it also serves as a great place for endless outdoor activities and adventures.
There's a creek that lines the park that people of all ages enjoy, especially during hot summers (not a bad alternative to swimming, considering the pandemic). There are multiple access points throughout the park, making social distancing easy to do. A favorite activity me and my kids love to do is to bring a floating toy (think rubber ducks and toy boats) and release it down the creek for the other to intercept. During dry winters, the part of the creek next to the playground can dry up. In this case, start walking on the trail to get to the bigger parts if you're interested in water play. You can't miss them because they are very inviting, with loud sounds.
Shade is plentiful and there's a short loop trail within the park that beginner hikers can access, with the sounds of the creek playing in the background. There really is nothing better than having both shade and a beautiful creek accompanying you throughout a hike.
To access the short loop, follow past the end of the path into the dirt area. Keep going until you find a bridge. Turn right onto the bridge (before fence) that points back to Callahan Park. The trail will end at the parking lot of the trailhead of Galena Creek Trail. You then walk two min back to the parking lot. Alternatively, you can branch off onto Galena Creek Trail that leads to even more trails of all levels. The short loop is simple, short, and sweet. Me, my two kids (4 &2 yrs old) did it today with no problems at all.
This sweet park is a go-to during hot summers, hiking, bike riding, picnics, and small events. There are no restrooms next to the playgrounds, but a porta-potty can be found at the trailhead of Galena Creek Trail, which is about a two-min. walk back toward Mt. Rose on the left. For adults this is not a problem but for kids, it could be a different story. For this reason, I like to keep my portable toilet with liners in my car for when my little ones need relief. This allows us to enjoy the park without having to worry about leaving for potty breaks.