Showing posts with label loop trails. Show all posts
Showing posts with label loop trails. Show all posts

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Phillip Annie Callahan Park- A Close Getaway Within Arms Reach

15960 Callahan Road
Reno, NV 89511

Park Ranger Office: (775) 849-2511

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.

-Beautiful with golden foliage during fall
-Great shade during summers
-no restrooms on site but porta potty two min. away 
-Small play structure is shaded. Big one is partially shaded. Swings for both big and small children available
-wildflowers in spring
-birds and other wildlife 
-ideal for picnics
-ideal for photo shoots
-there's a short paved path that slopes downward that my kids love riding down on their plasma cars and bikes
-horse and dog friendly. Poop bags available.
-mountain biking paths
-horseshoe pits
-Pavilion is non-reservable . BBQ pit available.
-water fountain and benches 
-Brown's Creek Loop is a beautiful longer hike nearby
-download the All Trails app for detailed reviews, trail information, photos, directions. Look up Galena Creek Trail.  The app also navigates you so you don't get lost.
-great for photography 
-kids love throwing piles of leaves into the air. Educational opportunity to teach them about seasons and the water cycle.

Reccomended Gear
-Sunscreen (after trying so many options, this is my family's favorite)
-Water Bottle (definitely a must in Reno's dry climate)
-Portable potty Liners (priceless gadget that makes any hike with kids a breeze)

*As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Brown's Creek Loop Trail- A Hike with some Breathtaking Views

3584-3694 Joy Lake Road
Reno, NV 89511
I'm always looking for hikes close to Reno that are beautiful and because the kids were getting a little more skillful and interested in hikes, I decided to test the limits and try to do a hike that was a little longer.  Usually, we do 2-mile hikes and 4.8 miles isn't exactly an ideal distance to go on with a 5, 6, and 1-year-old, but if there's one thing I learned (esp. during these uncertain times), it's that humans are capable of so much.

With the help of a few tools (hiking backpack, carrier, and portable potty + Liners), we set off to what ended up being one of the most beautiful, challenging and rewarding hikes.  The trail was filled with so many stunning views and different terrains.  Going through the Galena forest and crossing tranquil Brown's creek was so refreshing.  I would encourage everyone to go on this hike.

The first part of the hike before you get to the loop is through the woods with a gentle upward slope (about 1 mile).  You will come to the 1st fork, which is worth stopping at- The Vista (only a couple of min away).  There you'll find a bench, an amazing view, and an educational sign of a former family attraction named Sundown Town.  The 2nd fork is the start of the loop (not far from the vista).  If  you take the left side, you will be going down the steeper side of the loop.  Go right if you want more of a challenge.

There are 3 small bridges that cross the creek.  We stopped at the first creek so the kids could wet their feet and have some fun.  It was very nice, since there were trees all around to help supply shade. You will cross a 2nd bridge before you get to the third fork.  We took the wrong turn at the 3rd fork and went straight into the "National Forest" (the sign for the loop was a little ways up with back of sign facing us) and ended up going up another 1.5 miles. This trail was nice and challenging and we ran into lots of people on mountain bikes.  When we realized we were lost, we went back to the fork and found the sign.  Instead of going straight, go upward and to the right to stay on track.  After the 3rd fork, we crossed the 3rd bridge and made our way back to the parking lot.  

My 5-year-old surprised me and walked the whole trail.  My 4-year-old got tired at the 5-mile mark, at which point I carried him with a carrier.  My 1-year-old took naps and enjoyed the views the whole time in the hiking backpack.  At the end, we did a total of 8.5 miles.  It was the most empowering and rewarding  journey we had done as a family.  We met a lot of cool dogs, saw a lot of wildflowers, and met a ton of nice people who stepped to the side for us. 

*Dogs, horses, cyclists allowed
*Enter the Galena estates to get to trail entrance parking lot (on left) on Joy Lake Road
*The trail entrance is across the street a little way up from the parking lot going back toward entrance to Galena Estates
*Bring lots of water
*If hiking with kids, pack lots of snacks.  We also packed a portable toilet for the kids and lots of sunscreen and hand sanitizer. 
*There is plenty of shade throughout the hike, but there is also exposed areas.
*have your phone handy for emergencies
*if you download AllTrails, you can bring up their trail maps and track your location at all times with respect to highlighted trail (Next time, I won't forget to hike without it.)
*Both me and my daughter tripped on some rocks and got scrapes.  Next time I will bring alcohol pads and bandages.
*trail is rocky so good footwear is recommended
*I saw a good amount of people with hiking poles, but you definitely can do without them   
*Lots of vegetation, lizards, and insects to look at
*Around the loop is about 2.3 miles.  The total mileage of Brown's Creek Trail is 4.8 miles.
*Spring and early summer wildflowers

Reccomended Gear
-Sunscreen (after trying so many options, this is my family's favorite)
-Water Bottle (definitely a must in Reno's dry climate)
-Portable potty Liners (priceless gadget that makes any hike with kids a breeze)
-hiking backpack (great view for kids, storage, nap friendly, shade)
-carrier (more afordable, light weight, shade, storage for keys)

*As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.  The products I suggest are products I use myself. 

 Pick right side for more of a challenge to go up steep left side at end of loop. Left side to go down steeper side.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Hidden Gem Alert-Crystal Peak Park, Verdi.

561 Crystal Park Road, Verdi, NV 89439

Park Ranger Office: (775) 828-6612

Crystal Peak Park Trail Map

One thing I love most about living in Reno is its proximity to endless beauty.  Crystal Peak Park is no exception.  Only ten miles from Reno, you will find a beautiful park surrounded by mountains and the Truckee River.  

What's to Love About This Park
*Large shade trees
*beautiful scenic 0.5 mile nature trail loop and the Truckee river alongside, 
*2 fishing ponds (permit required, stocked with Lahontan Cutthroat Trout)
*plenty of boulders and a bridge to climb
*Grassy picnic areas (including BBQ)
*interpretive signs
*plenty of trails for hikers and cyclists nearby

-There is a paved parking lot with roads that lead down to the beginning of the trail.
-group areas are non-reservable

If you'd like to get a glimpse of Crystal Peak Park's beauty and learn a little history, check out this video, made by Outdoor Nevada.  

At Crystal Peak Park, you can step back into history and learn about Verdi Glen Resort (1923–1938), a place that served as a commuter stop, and discover remnants of an old saw mill, Verdi Lumber Company, which in 1860 Crystal Peak was home to.  Lumber from this mill was used to build Virginia City and railroad tracks.

The park was named after the peak right behind Crystal Peak Park, where you can have some fun looking around for quartz deposits (shovel recommended for enthusiasts).  

The peak is about 11 miles up a one-way dirt road (small patches of land to pull over provided).  

I tried to go up the path with my mini van with no success.  At the beginning of the last three miles, I was met with an uneven dirt road with lots of depressions that looked too deep to clear with my front bumper.  I immediately understood the need for an off-roading vehicle or SUV (which I saw plenty of on my way up).  Nevertheless, the view on the way up was highly enjoyable.  I felt like I was a hobbit on an adventure.  

On the way up, I noticed some trailheads and interpretive signs to the left, which you can explore.  If you were to make it all the way up to the peak, you will be rewarded with stunning views (as reviewed by Outdoor Nevada).

Recommended Gear
-Sunscreen (after trying so many options, this is my family's favorite)
-Water Bottle (definitely a must in Reno's dry climate)
-Portable Potty Liners (priceless gadget that makes any hike with kids a breeze)
-hiking backpack (great for kids, storage, nap-friendly, shade)
-carrier (more affordable, light weight, shade, storage for keys)

*As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.  Thank you to all that visit and support my website. 

Friday, March 6, 2020

Take A Short and Scenic Stroll by the Truckee River at the Oxbow Nature Study Center

3100 Dickerson Road, at the Truckee River

Open Year-Round from 8AM to Sunset

To schedule a field trip or program at Oxbow Nature Study Area, please contact the regoinal wildlife coordinator, Jess Heitt, at or (775) 397-1762

Directions, more pictures and reviews on Yelp

Oxbow is the perfect park for families and for those who want to retreat to nature without having to leave Reno.  With it's beautiful scenery, tranquility, wildlife, picnic worthy spots, soothing sounds of nature, short and scenic shaded looped trail (0.8 miles), and position right next to the Truckee River, this park will keep you coming back for more.

I took my little ones here to get some fresh air and I fell in love right away with the feel of the park. Tall trees, ramps, interpretive signs, a little visitor center, American Robins, picnic tables, and nature sounds were what welcomed me.

Upon Entering, I noticed a NO DOGS ALLOWED sign.  It seems that the city aims for wildlife to be uninterrupted so as to allow an ideal habitat for wildlife to thrive. If I were to take a field trip to this area as a kid, I would be so excited to learn about nature.

The beginning of the trail was very inviting, with it's narrow, tree-lined entrance and sounds of birds nearby.  Up on the observation deck, I could spot three nests.

Shade is a big plus for me and my family as it provides relief from the blazing sun during the summer. You will find many shaded areas throughout the trail. As you may already know, because of Reno's higher elevation(4,506ft), the sun is much more intense.  Sunblock is always good for protection in any case.

There was no problem with getting around with my stroller, but I could imagine that during a rainy and wet day, conditions may not be favorable, as the trail would be too muddy to get around.

Toward the end of the trail (after the last bush tunnel), there are long tree logs laid out to create a bridge to get to the other side. It's not completely flat, so crossing with a stroller/wheelchair may pose a problem.  Turning back and going the way you came is what I'd suggest. Anyway, the path after crossing the log bridge is only a few min back to the same path you took to get to the bush tunnel. Note that there's a fork at the end before the bush tunnel. The path with a tire and stick leads to a dead end. Take the fork to the right.

I love that within the 0.8-mile looped trail, you get to experience all sorts of different areas-the the river, open areas, tree/bush tunnel areas, and the picnic study area located at the entrance.

Me and my little ones had a blast walking the trail, reading the educational signs, checking out the river, checking out wildlife, listening to the train nearby, and snacking near the river.  I'm so thankful for this precious area that has been preserved.

As others have suggested, visiting the park during busy day times is ideal, as it is well-lit, safest, and easy to get around.  I have not yet visited during fall and would imagine that it would be even more stunning to see the trees change colors in such a sweet spot.

-Restrooms and water fountain available during business hours.
-benches laid out throughout the trail. You can find two benches in front of the river.
-To get to the deck in front of the river,(facing the park)take take the path all the way to the left.  This path connects to the main path.
-Bring some chairs or a blanket to enjoy a picnic or just relax on the deck in front of the river or anywhere else in the area

Reccomended Gear
-Sunscreen (after trying so many options, this is my family's favorite)
-Water Bottle (definitely a must in Reno's dry climate)
-Portable potty Liners (priceless gadget that makes any hike with kids a breeze)

*As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

Below are Pictures taken during the end of winter 3/2020

Reccomended Gear
-Sunscreen (after trying so many options, this is my family's favorite)
-Water Bottle (definitely a must in Reno's dry climate)
-Portable potty & Liners (priceles gadget that makes any hike with kids a breeze)