6 Reasons Reno Makes the Perfect Fall Getaway
Don’t be fooled by Reno’s well-deserved reputation as the gateway to summer fun on Lake Tahoe and winter sports in the northern Sierra Nevada. These popular travel windows aren’t the only seasons in town. The unsung hero of outdoor recreation in the Reno area: fall. Not only will you have fewer crowds, but you will also enjoy pleasant daytime temperatures, allowing you to spend some quality time outdoors among the fall colors. Here are the things that put Reno at the top of our list for fall travel.
Enjoy top-notch fall colors
Calling all leaf voyeurs: Reno is a great base camp to see fall colors in the Sierra Nevada. You can explore the nearby mountains, but you really don’t have to venture out of town to see the colors burst. The elevation in the region varies from about 4,500 feet in Reno to over 10,000 feet in the mountains, and this change in elevation creates a spectrum of leaves that begin to turn in mid-September at high elevations and extend until the end of October at low altitude. elevation.
In the mountains
When temperatures begin to drop at high elevations, the willows and aspens along the creeks are the first trees to show signs of falling. Spooner Lake, on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe, is a 40-mile drive from Reno. Hike along the 2.5 mile Spooner Lake Trail around the lake, or soak in the golden aspens on the 10.2-mile round-trip trail from Spooner Lake to Marlette Lake and back. Wihe elevation in this area ranging from about 6,800 to 8,200 feet, expect to see aspens, willows, and poplars, all of which take on beautiful shades of yellow and gold.
To note: The parking lot at Spooner Lake in Lake Tahoe National Park in Nevada charges a admission fees.
In the city and nearby parks
Later in the season, until late October, the leaves at lower elevations put on a show of color. Along the Reno Riverwalk, maple and oak trees add more traditional red and orange hues to the mix, complementing the yellow leaves that dominate the nearby mountain landscapes. Just north of downtown, Rancho San Rafael Regional Park is home to a mix of native trees and plants as well as a well-maintained arboretum and botanical garden that showcases a wide array of colors in the fall.
Less than 25 minutes from town, Galena Creek State Park is a great stopover en route to the mountains. Try the 1.5 mile Jones Creek Loop Trail for a short walk. Or if you’re feeling more adventurous, hike the Jones and Whites Creek Trail, a ten-mile loop lined in part with aspen groves.
Access world-class mountain biking and sweet city cruising
Whether you’re looking for thrilling mountain biking trails or laid-back city rides, Reno is a great place to go on two wheels. Full of bike shops in town have a variety of rentals, and the city of Reno rents adapted bikes by the Parks and Recreation Department.
Explore downtown Reno along the Truckee River Bike Path, a 12-mile section of the Tahoe-Pyramid Trail. The path passes through the Reno Riverwalk neighborhood, so plan a stop to enjoy the city breweries and eat along the way.
On the north side of Lake Tahoe, cruise along the Tahoe East Shore Trail for a low-key ride with truly magnificent views of the lake. Called “America’s Greatest Bike Trail,” the paved trail stretches three miles along the coast from Incline Village to Sand Harbor.
Mountain bikers looking for longer, more challenging rides should head to the famous Tahoe Rim Trail. The 165-mile route offers endless opportunities to experience loops, vistas, and groves of deciduous trees high above Lake Tahoe. Or become an early adopter Tahoe-Pyramid Trail: a mix of dirt roads and road stretching from Tahoe City to Pyramid Lake, with several access points. When completed, it will connect the 116-mile route along the Truckee River.
Point: For quieter days on the trails in the height of fall (late September through October), plan your trip to Reno mid-week.
Go where the fish bite
Fall fishing is one of the Sierra’s best kept secrets. Even the popular places to cast a line are much less crowded this time of year than in the summer. As the waters cool and aquatic food sources dwindle for the season, trout focus on hunting terrestrial insects, which means they have an appetite for surface food.
The Truckee River, one of the best fly fishing spots in the area, flows through the heart of the city, so Reno has amazing fishing access. Make your way to the Reno Fly Shop before heading to the fly fishing and river catch section just outside of downtown. Or head upstream between Reno and Truckee to find some of the best fishing holes. This area of the river is open to fishing all year round and is a great place to land rainbow trout and brown trout. When finalizing your plans, be sure to have the appropriate state-issued fishing licenses on hand.
Not familiar with the hatch on this part of the Sierra? A local fly fishing guide can show you the ropes. Hire a native Paiute guide with the Kooyooe Pa’a (Pyramid Lake) Guide Service and catch cui-ui or Lahontan cutthroat trout, while learning about the history of Numu.
See a calmer side of Lake Tahoe
Fall is the perfect time to explore Lake Tahoe without the summer crowds. For a special perspective on the changing leaves, get out on the water on a kayak Where paddle board to enjoy the colorful aspens that line the shore. Launch your ship from one of the many public access points, including Sand Harbor, Zephyr Cove and Kings Beach, all within easy driving distance of Reno. Then, paddle between the granite boulders around Sand Harbor, or float in California and Nevada at the same time at Stateline Point.
Fall can be chilly on the water, so dress to take advantage of the cool fall air and cool water and set off early to beat the afternoon winds.
Let yourself be tempted by the flavors of the season
Reno’s craft brewery scene really comes into its own when it comes to fall fun. Visiting in mid-September? You will be in town for the Beer legends festival, where you can sample craft beers from over 30 local and regional breweries. But don’t worry if your trip doesn’t match this year’s event. Local breweries have countless parties seasonal beers at will throughout the fall.
For a European vibe, try Record Street Brewing’s Oktoberfest Marzen Lager Bier, Vienna Lager at Pigeon Head Brewery, Lead Dog Brewing’s Beerfest, or The Brewer’s Cabinet Oktoberfest. If you are more amber or red, opt for Great Basin Brewing Company Truckee River Red. It exhibits a rich malty sweetness that pairs well with chilly fall evenings.
If everything is spicier with pumpkin, taste the range of fall drinks and treats in cafes in Reno. Immerse yourself in pumpkin spice goodness at one of three Walden’s Coffee Locations. Or try the Oktoberfest Pretzel Croissant from Perennial Bakery for a tasty treat.
For a meal with a side of fall glory, grab a table at a restaurant that offers a view of the fall colors while you dine.
Everyone get out for the spooky season
The Biggest Little City takes fall fun seriously with a full program of events and activities. From the spooky Dark Corner haunted house in downtown Reno to PumpkinPalooza for families and the Reno Zombie Crawl closer to Halloween, there’s an event for every traveler.
For a spooky real-life experience, visit nearby Virginia-City— one of America’s most haunted cities — about 20 miles southeast of Reno. Once a booming mining town, Virginia City has a colorful history that comes alive on guided ghost tours of the city’s many haunted places. Learn about Old West legends and current paranormal activity before heading back to Reno to calm your nerves with one of these fall brews.
But the fun events of fall go beyond the scary. For music lovers, October brings two exciting multi-day music festivals to Reno: Battle, Ax & Tracks, and the Off Beat Music Festival. And who doesn’t love a mix of music and food? The Great Italian Festival offers the best of both worlds with a grape kick, Italian farmers market, food stalls and live entertainment throughout the weekend.
Find more travel inspiration at visitrenotahoe.com.