Reno Correspondence – September 2017


It’s All About the RIVER, Babie!

The river matured late this year, with cold water and bank to bank flows persisting into late August. The upside is that the river should still be tube-able (and swimable) in September. We plan to over-indulge in this refreshing activity, putting in at Mayberry Park upstream and taking out at the Truckee River Whitewater Park downtown. For free maps and info, go to the Riverwalk District’s website or pick up one of their free maps downtown. If you are appalled by nature, grossed out by river sludge, or simply can’t tolerate the idea of your kids getting washed downstream without you, Reno and Sparks are swimming with free water parks and beaches that enable little ones to cool off without the inherent danger of river play.

Mount Rose Trail

                                                                              Wild Lupine along the Mount Rose Trail

Another great activity close to Reno is the Mount Rose Trail. The only time I have been disappointed by this trail is when I tried it this year in June and was met with a massive wall of snow at the parking area. The payoff, though, is there were still fabulous snowmelt-fed wildflower displays at the end of August, which will likely carry over into September. At 10,776 feet, Mount Rose Summit is the perfect place to beat the heat, with spectacular views of the Tahoe Basin, the Sierra to the west, and the vast Basin and Range to the east. On a clear day, you can even see Mount Lassen! The last half-mile is a painstakingly slow drudge for us, but I love the feeling of being in the loose slate rock above the treeline, the Krumholtz, and the unique vegetation and critters that only exist here. Thrilling! Just be sure to pack a down jacket; no matter the temp on the valley floor, there is a chilling wind at the top.

                                                                  View of Lake Tahoe looking south from atop Mount Rose

If you are hiking with kids, or just don’t feel like abusing your body (Mount Rose hike is 10.6 miles round trip with a 2,300 foot elevation gain), you can opt for a “halfway hike” to a fantastic waterfall (a mostly level 5 mile round trip).

                             The ‘Space Whale’ in City Plaza, Downtown Reno

Public Art

The Public Art scene is Taking OFF in Reno, with an emphasis on sculpture and murals. Visit the City of Reno’s Public Art Page for a free map and guide to the City’s installations, many of them right in the Downtown area. There are even several “art parks” such as the Playa Art Park, City Plaza, and Bicentennial Park, where you can view numerous pieces in one stop, and a mural display on the side of the Circus Circus Casino, thanks to the Reno Mural Marathon. The newest installation that is drawing a lot of attention is the Space Whale, recently erected in City Plaza (former site of The Mapes). While this installation is somewhat controversial because of the cost (64K to rent for one year), hanging out at its base, especially at night with its cosmic light display, made a convert out of me. The 50-foot piece has two thousand stained glass panels and debuted at Burning Man 2016.


Reno hosts some of its biggest events in September. The Great Reno Balloon Race, Sept 8-10 at Rancho San Rafael Park, is a free and must-see-at-least-once annual event, followed by the Reno Air Races (Sept 13-17), and Street Vibrations motorcycle rally (Sept. 27-Oct. 1). For those active-minded individuals, there is the Edible Pedal, Sept 17, which involves some great views, exercise and fresh air (with different length and difficulty options), accentuated by great FOOD! And, for the less ambitious exerciser, there is the monthly Beer Crawl (Fourth Saturdays, $5 for mug and $1 fills) and Winewalk (Third Saturdays, $20 for glass with free samples).

— Amy Meeks