Waverly Park in Louisville Kentucky

So I have been in Kentucky now for a month and there hasbeen a lot I’ve had to adjust to.
1- the humidity: I feel like I’m living in a steam shower here!
2- the bugs! In Reno Mosquitos are a rare sight unless you’re close to a lake. Here they attack as soon as you go into your backyard. They must think I’m fresh meat because honestly I have about 15-20 bites at any given time. I’ve since acquired all types of bug sprays and lotions and anti-itch ointments I can find to provide some relief.
3- the ticks! I am use to a lot of gross things but when I found my first tick on my hip I just about lost it! I also have Mason on one of the best medications for dogs you can get, but it must take a while to soak in because I’ve pulled 6 ticks off him so far and he has brought in about 5 into the house.

That, I guess, is the price I pay for having a sense of adventure. I can’t stay away from exploring the outdoors regardless of how many crazy bugs there are.

About 2 weeks ago, drew bought me a new mountain bike and we have been going riding 2-3 times a week. We go to a nearby park called waverly park. There are 4 trails each approximately 3 miles long that are great for biking. There is also a small lake that the local are always fishing in, which is great because then the trails are usually empty.

These trails are well balanced with extreme up hills but such rewarding downhills. Once on the trail it started pouring rain and as we were rushing back to the truck a whitetail die jumped right across the path it was amazing! We usually only do one 3 mile loop because it gets so hot for us and Mason we drain are water resources and can hardly go on after 3 miles.

I would definitely recommend checking this park out on a bike and bing a fishing pole too! You’ll get a small taste of Kentucky wilderness, and you might get lucky enough to bring a tick or two home as well!

Until next time, happy trails!

(P.S. – this post was written on my iPhone because our Internet is being switched and won’t be installed until tomorrow evening so I apologize for any errors!)


Exploring Boca Resevoir

Boca reservoir, which is located in the Tahoe National Forest, is great because: it is only a 20 minute drive from Reno, it has amazing campsites, there is a lot of clear beach area, it is dog friendly, it has an outdoor shooting range, it is beautiful, there is a herd of sheep that roam the area. There are trails all around it to hike, mountain bike, dirt bike or quad on… you are free to enjoy nature the way it was intended to be! Seriously words cannot explain my love for Boca.


This is where Mason first learned how to swim, where I started fishing, the first place Drew and I went camping together at and even during the summer I would drive up here for a few hours each day during the week just to get some sun and go swimming with Mason.


I have a little story about Boca though. A few summers ago, I had a weekend off of work and I was determined to go camping – rain or shine. The forecast was partly cloudy with a 30% chance of rain. I took my chances and packed up and had camp set up by 1:00 PM. It was somewhat cloudy but I wasn’t concerned. We headed out on the lake in our duck hunting boat to our private little cove. We brought a picnic, some drinks and some toys for Mason to play with. The sun was out the water was perfect when all of the sudden a downpour. We waited for it to stop under some trees, but after 20 minutes it had only gotten worse.

There was lightning, pouring rain, raging winds and waves that would probably come into the boat. We had no idea where we were with respect to our campsite, but we knew it was probably an hour hike… in flip-flops and my bikini. With all the lightening striking around us we were not sure where we were the safest, in the open or under the trees. We waited about 15 more minutes, the rain had let up a little bit .. so we took our chances. We got in the boat with all of our stuff (now sopping wet) and raced as fast as we could back to the beach near our campsite. The whole time we were praying that lightening would not strike us and that we would make it.

I think God gave us a warning because a lightning bolt came down about 20 feet away from us in our aluminum boat. We immediately knew what we were doing was STUPID and pulled off the lake. We had to pull the boat up onto bushes and rocks since there was no beach and tied it to a tree since the waves were trying to take it away. From here we gathered our essentials and started walking. It took about 30 minutes to make it back to our campsite. We were on the verge of hypothermia, drenched, tired and covered in mud.

As we came to our campsite what did we find? The wind had destroyed everything. The tent had blown away and water had gotten in soaking our sleeping bag and all our clothes, the firewood was drenched. It was like a never-ending nightmare. We waited out the rest of the storm and warmed up in the car. As soon as it was clear I packed up the campsite, Drew hiked back and got the boat and we drove home; with the sun out and shining like it had never happened.

Moral of the story here: If it is 30% chance of rain at Boca: STAY HOME!

Despite this horrifying, yet very important learning experience, I love Boca and I think it is the best little lake to check out when you have a free afternoon this summer and want to get away!


Happy Trails!

Golden Valley Hotspot

This spot I am going to talk about today is like a hidden gem that is buried way deep into the north Reno desert. Not many people know about it and don’t spend a lot of time exploring the wilderness in North Reno so it remains a secret known by little.
shooting spot1

Take I580 North and exit on Golden Valley, turn left onto Golden Valley Rd, then turn right onto old U.S. 395/ North Virginia St. Stay on this road for a mile or so then turn left onto Seneca Dr. Turn right on Kiowa Dr. At the end of this road you will see the trail head and there will be two main dirt roads you can take. Take the one that’s more to the right! Just a warning. This road is BRUTAL and pretty impossible to make in a car. I would definitely recommend a truck with some good tires and clearance if you plan to drive back here. If you don’t have that you can just park at the trailhead and start your hike there!
shooting spot2

I took this screenshot from google maps just so you could see how far back and remote this place is!
shooting spot

I was first taken to this place when I was probably 17 years old by my brother, Phil, who took me shotgun shooting for the first time. At this spot is where my love of shotguns all began and my brother and I became a little closer. Also this spot is where I got Mason use to the sound of guns and where his hunting training began. So many fond memories.

This spot is great for shooting and it is still my go to spot. There is a huge pond that you can shoot at and lots of level ground to set up targets. A word of advice though… do not go in the water or let your dog go in the water. This pond probably has so much lead and glass and metal in it from all the ammunition it is a deathtrap. You can sometimes see things in the water…they’re like mutated fish or something, it is very mysterious and eerie.

As always when you go shooting, be smart and bring the proper equipment. It is so dangerous to shoot outdoors in Nevada because of the high fire risk. When you’re driving on the dirt road you can see someone wasn’t thinking when they were out shooting. A wildfire started here a few years ago thanks to someone using tracer ammunition, and now the land in burned and barren and my rights to shoot are getting closer to being taken away. Anyways….

This spot is not only for shooting. In the winter of 2011 I came up here to do some quail hunting and came home empty-handed, but I swear they are out there, they were just hiding well. Also after I shoot for a while I will hike on one of the various trails and explore a little further each time. And it is a great place to quad. On my Facebook page under my videos section I have multiple videos up of me shooting at this place so check them out!

shooting spot 3

Since I shared such a secret spot with you, you should get out and explore it today!!

Happy Trails!

Dry Creek Pond

My life is not being consumed by enjoying my time outside, in the 75 degree spring on new trails; instead I am stuck inside…studying for finals for my 5 classes and working 32 hours a week and preparing for a 2,000 mile move across the country in a few weeks.Needless to say, my “zen” is totally off. However writing about these new trails and bring up old pictures from the hikes gives me the slightest sense of peace, and is keeping me calm until I can be free.

This trail is an extension to the ones I wrote about in my previous blog. And to get here its pretty much the same. You take Mt Rose highway up and turn right onto Timberline Dr. Then you turn LEFT onto NF 047. This is a really crappy road but if you follow it up about a mile there will be a little parking lot and this is the trail head.  Some of you may find this trail familiar, that is because it is where the 2012 Reno Galena Fest Run was held.

I take this trail up to dry creek pond. Apparently there is a pond up at the top of the mountain but I have yet to see one.. I only see the remains of a pond as you can see.

This trail is no walk in the park, it is long and pretty steep. You can mountain bike part of the way but near the top the trail is completely sand and you have no grip what so ever. But all the hard work definitely pays off when you have a view like this.

Where have you been able to explore in this spring weather? Share your journeys with me so I can enjoy them too!

Happy Trails!

Upper Thomas Creek Trail

Thomas Creek trail is a outdoor hotspot location off Mt. Rose highway. This trail connects to my other blog post, but they seem like two totally different trails. They covered opposite terrain and give you totally different views and expierences of Nevada outdoors.

I have lived in south Reno for about 14 years and have been exploring the area for about 6 years and each time I come up to this area I find something new to explore. There are about 3 main trails that I will cover in my upcoming blogs  in this general area; but I will start with the trail that stems to the left of the parking lot.


Normally up here I just go hiking with Mason, but it is great for a challenging mountain bike ride, horseback riding, and trail running. During the summer this trail is perfect because the pine trees make the air about 20 degrees cooler than the unforgiving desert terrain a few miles down the road. The little creek, Whites Creek, runs along the majority of this trail, making it great for your dogs to cool down in during the long hike.


If you plan to do the hike to the top of the mountain it is about a 2 hour hike and it will bring you to dry creek pond, which is exactly what is it….a huge dry pond. This spot will then connect to another trail and bring you down the other side of the mountain; but I will save that hike for another day.

Unfortunately I was not able to hike this trail in current time for this blog but I did make the whole  trail during the summer and have those pictures to share with you.

There is so much fun stuff to explore on this trail, there are little forts I like to think are home to the mule deer that roam the area, there are fallen trees that you can climb on that act as bridges over the water… the adventures are endless.

Share your pictures and comments with me below and get out and explore this trail this weekend!

Happy Trails!

South Reno Hike: Backdoor into the Outdoors

Saturday was perfect. It was the first real nice warm day of spring; 75 and sunny and not a cloud in the sky. I have been waiting for a day like this to share with you all one of my favorite hikes. I have been waiting because this hike takes a couple of hours to complete, and I wanted you to get to know me through some of my other posts before sharing this very special spot.

Let’s start with how I discovered this place. My backyard borders the rolling hills in south Reno. All I have to do is walk out my back gate and I have miles to explore. I am truly blessed with this because many people have to drive to go for a hike, but I have immediate access to God’s wilderness. I started exploring these hills when I was about 9 and have gone up and down them countless number of times with the various dogs I had growing up.

During my angsty teenage years I needed a place I could escape to, somewhere to go where the noise of life wasn’t quiet so loud. I started venturing further and further up into the mountains. After months of exploring I found my ‘Heaven’. And it’s not like this trail is even so desolate and secluded. It is just so high up and no one ever comes up here, you always have the mountain to yourself so it feels like you are really escaping the city. Since I then, I always come up here to relax and get a little closer to God.

To access this trail refer to my directions in my G Hike post. Once you see the G you will follow the paved road up to the right and continue up the side of the mountain. Half of this hike is paved. Once at the top of the mountain there is a huge gravel pit, full of giant old tires, that was created I am guessing from mining way back in the day, and from here the trail is dirt. From here directions are vague… but what I do is look for the highest rock on the mountain and head towards it.

Up here, miles from anyone, you can clear your head, there are huge rocks to layout on and soak up the sun. You have an immaculate view of Reno to your North, and you can see the entire Washoe Valley to the south. There is usually a herd of Mule Deer that roam this area and you will see their tracks scattered around the land. Just a few tips if you plan to explore here: in the summer it is a long trail and it is way to hot, there is no shade, and you have to bring so much water for yourself and your dogs. Also the paved road that you take is like a minefield with rattlesnakes on summer evenings..so be careful.

I all I can say about this spot is that it has provided me great relief mentally and helped clear my head and prepared me for life’s troubles countless number of times. And I strongly recommend you venture up here.
“There’s a place that they call Heaven, south of town way up on a hill. They say you can see for miles and when they sun goes down time stands still.”Jake Owen

Happy Trails!

Galena Creek Trail

Since the snow is melting up on the mountains I am beginning to venture more up there instead of down in the desert. The trails are fresh from being covered with snow all winter and awaiting me and mason to leave our footprints.

Today we took a little hike to Galena Creek Regional Park. This trail is very easy to locate, as you’re going up Mt. Rose Highway it is a turnoff on the right next to a fire station. The division of forestry really has a nice set up at this park. There are picnic tables BBQ pits and lots of little benches scattered around the beginning of the trail. Perfect to spend the day up here hiking and having a feast afterwards.


If you choose to explore up here there are many different trails you can choose from, some 1 mile long, but it can be almost 12 miles long if you connect to the other trails and just keep going. When you first see the trail you can either go left, up a steep hill, or right, over a bridge and have a more easy path. I like to go higher and prefer the hike that is more of a challenge, but that’s just me.gc4

I first discovered this trail back in high school. My parents had made an appointment to take a family portrait and to get some nice pictures with my brothers and I. The photographer brought us up to this park and it was beautiful! Since then I always come up and explore this spot a few times a year.  Also in the winter I like to explore this trail except with some heavy duty snowshoes on. With the changing of the weather it is time for me to pack up my winter gear and start looking for the new hot summer gear!

Galena Creek runs along this trail and it is such a beautfuil little stream and great to let your dogs cool off in during the hot summers. There are some rapids but there are also little pools that they can swim in.

It’s going to be a beautiful spring weekend! Get out and explore this trail and share your pictures with me!

Happy Trails!

Rachel Roen

My name is Rachel Roen, and I have so much to share about Reno's outdoors! I will give you a complete 360 degree view of the Reno area whether you're a local looking for a new trail, or a visitor wanting a day of exploring. From mountain trails, to city trails, adventure is always at our feet!


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