The Best Trails in Reno

If you happen to find yourself visiting or even better living in Reno and you are looking for a place to get out and venture you will be a happy runner. Reno is a superb location for trail running with trails for all types and for all season. The options and variety are endless. Despite the fact that Reno is located right next to Lake Tahoe and it’s wonderful wilderness many locals are perfectly happy with Reno’s trails choices.

So if you are looking for a flat long trail look no further than our only flat trail the “Ditch Trail”. The Ditch Trail winds through the upper parts of Reno before running alongside the hill west of Reno next to the Truckee River. The Ditch trail is a favorite amongst runners seeking flat terrain, running a tempo where they want to focus on their pace or simply recover on a non-pavement surface. It is also great for running intervals or fartleks if that is your thing. The western portion of this trail can be pretty exposed and windy while the the eastern section located in neighborhoods is often sheltered more. If you hit this trail at the end of summer you may also be able to snag some blackberries that grow wild along the trail for a mid run snack. The best place to park and begin your run is probably HERE.

If you are looking for a little more variation and maybe are close to downtown than you will want to go to Rancho San Rafael Park.  This park blows my mind because it is right next to the University of Nevada, Reno yet also right next to Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest land. From this park is a vast network of 50 miles of trails that extends all the way to the summit of Peavine Mountain and beyond.  So from Downtown Reno you can travel one mile and be on endless trails that make it feel like you are instantly in the wild. And that is because you are!  To visit the park and start your run go HERE.

Lets say it is summer and you only are able to get a run in during the middle of the day.  A lot of trails in Reno expose you to our wonderful sunshiny days that we have but it can be a bit warm in the summer sun.  You may want to head a little further south and just to the west of the Reno Running Company store that I’m sure you will visit anyways and run the Dry Pond Loop.  This area is very popular because it really feels like you are up in the mountains and in the forest, yet very close to Reno still. The trail is well maintained and the views are breathtaking.  There is a bit of climbing, but nothing too bad.  Start your Run HERE.

If you are looking for something a little steeper and more challenging the Hunter Creek Trail is also very popular. This trail can become more heavily trafficked on the weekends but for a good reason.  The prize at the end of this trail is a beautiful waterfall. If you are looking for something challenging, scenic and Instagram worthy run this trail. This is also a great trail to simply hike.  Be careful crossing the creek which requires some fancy foot work from rock to rock and once at the top you will need to cross a log which is about 10ft above the creek.  The trailhead starts HERE.

If you are looking for something even steeper and longer some of the more serious local mountain runners often visit Chalk Canyon. This trail is relentless and climbs about 2.5k feet to the summit of Peavine. Don’t be afraid to give it a shot because the views of Truckee Meadows and Reno are amazing. You will most likely see deer that live in the higher desert environment.  You may want to carry a windbreaker or something warmer because it is often 10-20 degrees cooler at the summit and is always windy.  This trail runs up Chalk Canyon for the first 2/3 then up a ridge line to the summit.  To start this run go HERE.

I hope this gets you out enjoying our backyard! And if you have any questions many of the staff at Reno Running Company could certainly help with trail recommendations and if you are looking for someone to run with they may be able to find someone to get out there with you.


Choosing what to wear for a Run.

Figuring out how to dress before stepping out the door for a run is always challenging.  Many factors come into play and almost all of them revolve around your comfort while running. I suppose style and looks are important as well but being comfortable is hopefully your first priority because if you aren’t comfortable you won’t be able to enjoy what is typically the highlight for us runners’ days.

Look into the Crystal Ball

You are not going to feel the same throughout your run as you do the second you step out the door. I don’t care how many runs you’ve done, this is the most deceptive part of planning what to wear.  You can be chilly stepping out into a cold morning  and 10 minutes into your run be roasting hot. I can not tell you how many times this has happened to me. I then proceed to shed layers and am left trying to figure out what to do with all my clothing as I am just getting going.

To solve this you will need to learn through experience in all temperatures. Even then it is still hard and you will more likely than not need to wear something to carry some of your shedded layers.  I personally wear running belt that allows me to stuff my extra shirt, buff or gloves into.  A lot of people will simply tie their shirt around their waste or wear a running pack which affords much more space. The big take away is to plan the most likely temperature rise in your body.


Cool temperatures are not the only thing to worry about. As a runner you are constantly placing yourself out in nature in all season. Here in Reno Nevada we are in a high desert four season climate right next to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We get everything from high winds, extreme heat, blizzards, months of sunshine to even dense smoke from wild fires.  The Reno Running Company has apparel all these conditions. However, we do recommend running indoors during poor air quality, but also recommend running outdoors the rest!

Too Sunny!

Psh! There is no such thing. Put on some sunglasses, a good sun protective shirt and a hat. Don’t forget sunscreen on all exposed skin.  Many places are gray and gloomy most of the year but not Reno or Lake Tahoe! We are lucky.  As a foreign exchange student in Australia I used to hear the say “Slip, Slap, Slop” in regards to the sun and still remember it today. Slip on a shirt, Slap on a cap and Slop on some sunscreen.

Too Snowy!

Never (almost).  Running in snow can be some of the most fun and memorable runs you will do all year. Bundle up in synthetic layers you can shed once you get going. The most important aspect of running in snow is not slipping. We have traction devices in the store that help with this. You may also want to wear gaiters on your shoes to keep the snow out of your ankles.  What about wet feet you ask?  Yes, I answer.  There is nothing wrong with wet feet.  The heat your body generates from running will keep them warm for the most part.  Learn to toughen up and embrace wet feet as you frolick in the the snow. Pro-tip: Don’t wear eyewear while it is snowing. Wear a cap to shield the snow from hitting your eyes. Glasses will simply get wet and make it hard to see.

Too windy!

Reno is a pretty windy city. If I decided not to run when it was windy that would cut my volume in half. Learn to embrace it the wind.  For starters, a windbreaker jacket is paramount. I can not tell you how many times I’ve been running in a sheltered canyon getting hot and sweaty only to crest a ridge line and be blasted with wind. I instantly feel freezing cold. This is where I whip out the windbreaker and return to comfort. Windbreakers are great because they are super compact and light. A Buff is also a great piece of apparel to take when running in any weather. I wrap mine around my wrist when I am not using it but if the wind picks up you can slap it on like beanie or headband.

Too Hot!

Yes, the heat can make running less fun and often shorter than maybe intended but it shouldn’t stop you from getting outside. The best option in the summer months is to try to run in the mornings. If that isn’t an option for you then dress appropriately. See Too Sunny. Many of the same guidance applys to running when it is too hot.  I also recommend wear very breathable running shorts, light socks with shoes that are breathable as well. Use a hydration pack or handheld to carry fluids with you. Be mindful of you temperature and do not run too far for too long.

As you run year round you will eventually learn that choosing the proper clothing for the conditions will greatly affect your enjoyment on the trails or roads.  Come in to one of our stores and on one of our associates can recommend the best apparel for the type of running you will be doing.

Written by Ben Tedore,
Sierra Endurance Sports Athlete
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