Many people think Reno is in the middle of a desert and that it looks like a mini Las Vegas. The truth is that we are very different from our party brothers and sisters down south and the Reno/Tahoe area has much more to give aesthetically than Las Vegas will ever have.
If you travel 45 minutes from Reno in any direction you will be taken to a variety of land settings. Up in the south-west nestled at the top of the Sierra Mountains is Lake Tahoe. It is the most beautiful lake I have ever seen in my life, encompassed by pine trees, rocky shores, and snowcapped mountains, there is truly something magical about this lake.
West of Reno is Truckee/Donner (pictured above). Donner is similar to Tahoe with its surroundings and clear blue waters but it differs greatly in its size and is about a thumbnail compared to Tahoe. There are many ski resorts, golf courses, and hiking trails surrounding the area that attract by-passers on Interstate 80 or those who travel from far away lands to enjoy the landscape and recreation.
North from Reno is Pyramid Lake (pictured below). Pyramid Lake is unique and beautiful in the fact that it is a salt-water lake set smack in the middle of the desert. Pyramid Lake is on an Indian Reservation and it is very solitude and quiet. My Dad, brother, and I took my step-mum (who is from Australia) out to see it and her jaw dropped when we turned the corner and a lake appeared out of nowhere.It is my favorite lake to wakeboard on in the summer because there are not a TON of people out there and the lake gets fairly warm throughout the summer. People have a bad stigma attached to the lake because there are many stories about bad things that have happened there, but I respect the lake and I hope the great spirits will take that into consideration when I am visiting.
East of Reno is Sand Mountain and the Black Rock Desert. Sand Mountain looks like it should be found in the Middle East; it is a HUGE mountain made [obviously] of sand and nothing else. It was formed on the bed of ancient Lake Lahontan which surrounded the area thousands of years ago.Sand Mountain is home to many dirt bike and ATV enthusiasts who travel there all year long .
Not far from Sand Mountain is the Black Rock Desert, which is home to one of the biggest world events known as Burning Man (pictured below to right). If you don’t know what Burning Man is, you definitely should check it out sometime. People from all over the world travel to Nevada’s stretch of desert to party, exchange goods, and cut themselves off from civilization for about a week. It is a cultural mecca for arts, communication between individuals, and self-expression. The thought behind Burning Man is to leave no trace behind on the desert floor (also known as the Playa). It is amazing how many different cultures and ethnicities meet for this annual event.
Another site to see hours away from Reno is an awe-inspiring mountain range known as the Ruby Mountains. The Ruby’s are high in elevation and often are covered by snow, but heli-skiing and cross-country ski trips make it a popular destination even in the winter months. There are many different hiking trails and backpacking adventures to be found at the Ruby Mountains perfect for any hiking ability.
There are MANY, MANY sites surrounding Reno that are worth talking about and as I come across them, I may just get the urge to blog about them!
I think Reno is the perfect place for outdoor activities and every time I leave the area, I find myself anxious to get back. We get four beautiful seasons, gorgeous hiking conditions, lots of snow for skiing and boarding, lakes to enjoy in the summer, and plenty of desert to ride dirt bikes and ATV’s. It gets hot in the summer (but not overwhelmingly so) and cold enough in the winter to snow. We also get some of the most delightful sunrises and sunsets in the area. Reno, I would tip my hat to you (if I was was wearing one) for all of the beauty that surrounds you!
[Photos of Donner and Pyramid taken by myself, Jenna Lundemo. Picture of Burning Man taken by Erica Reid and used with permission]