Archive for February, 2013

A trail for the Dogs

“Dogs are our link to paradise.
They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent.
To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon
is to be back in Eden,

where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.”
― Milan Kundera


Everything I do from exploring new trails or my weekly mountain adventures all has a purpose; spending time with my best friend Mason – yes, a golden retriever.

I’m sure by now it is obvious that I am obsessed with my furry friend and try to include him into every blog I write. Mason and I always try to go anywhere we can together and nothing makes either of us happier than being on a wide open trail with the sun shining and a breeze blowing through our hair.

This weekend the weather was perfect, so I thought it would be a good day to get out on a trail but also include some puppy socialization and what better place to do this than the Rancho San Rafael Dog Park! To get here you take I-80 west to the Virginia St. exit, then go through a few lights and turn right on Sierra St. Follow Sierra St. and you will turn left onto San Rafael Dr. Follow this road up almost all the way to its end and you will see a big dirt field with a dirt road going through it. Take this road about 1/8th of a mile and you will see all the cars and be at the entrance to the dog park.

This dog park is by far the busiest in Reno but the more dogs only means the more fun you will have. It is very friendly, you can have your dogs off leash, there is a watering hole they can swim in southwest corner (be careful-the water is smelly!) and there is also a trail about a mile long that encircles the entire dog park.

Look at how huge this dog park is!

You can spend hours playing here with your pup! If want to explore out a little more and see the other beautiful sights of Rancho San Rafael, you can put your dog on a leash and walk them around another trail that leads to the arboretum and through the wildlife habitats and to duck ponds. (On a side note: Do not let your dog swim in these ponds…you will get in trouble!)

I have seen coyotes, red tail hawks, rabbits, squirrels and many curious animals such as the Chihuahua. (Haha!) A little over a year ago I was living in north Reno and I came to the dog park everyday with Mason. While we were jogging around the mile trail, he saw a squirrel and went after it. And although the park is enclosed with a metal chain link fence to protect the dogs from the extremely busy and fast Mccarran Loop road, Mason found a hole in the fence. Before I knew it Mason was on the road with cars going 60 MPH and I was stuck down behind the fence, totally helpless. I think Mason could sense the fear in my voice when I yelled at him because he came and stayed by the fence until I was able to dig under it and get him through to safety. Needless to say, I have only gone to the dog park twice since then, but I relax more and more each time I go.

So get out and enjoy that unspoken friendship. You will have a great time and your dog will love you for it!

Have you ever been to this dog park? What is your favorite place to explore with your pet? Leave comments below and follow me on Twitter @RachelRoen or friend me on Facebook!!

Until next time,
Happy Trails!


The Truckee River at Idlewild Park


Now normally I am not one for exploring the city, and I have always tried to stay away from downtown Reno and head to the mountains, but this paved path that runs along the Truckee River is beautiful and calming, as long as you ignore the bums laying in the grass. These city trails that follow the river have changed my outlook on downtown Reno and now I see it as another new place to adventure with my dogs, explore and conquer.

Even in the winter the Truckee River is a great place to go to walk along and let your dogs play in! Not only does the Truckee River run along side some of the trails in the mountains, it goes right through the heart of downtown Reno and offers beautiful scenery, lots of wildlife and many places to adventure. This weekend I took the dogs to Idlewild Park; a place I had never even gone until about a couple months ago.

To get to Idlewild Park you take the Keystone exit off 1-80, turn left onto Keystone, and follow Keystone until your hit Riverside Dr. and turn right, then take an immediate left onto Booth St. which will then turn right into Idlewild Dr. All along the right side of the road you will see the park, tons of parking and many duck ponds. Now normally on a cold winter weekday I would let my dogs go swim in these huge ponds and chase the ducks, but on a weekend there are a lot of people and I’m sure someone would complain…but it is still fun to let the dogs chase the ducks. There are so many birds here, everything from mallards to geese and swans.

The path winds alongside the river for a few miles and there are clearings where you can walk down to the water and go in. Now in the winter the water is freezing so I wouldn’t recommend going in unless you brought your waders and plan on doing some fly fishing which would be awesome! The dogs never seem to mind the frigid water temperature and will retreive the sticks for hours. Technically you’re “suppose” to have your dog on a leash… but unless someone has an issue with my dog I let them run free.

Regardless of the weather, cloudy or sunny, it is always a perfect day to head to the river. My way of thinking is if its bad weather, then you will get the whole park to yourself! So grab your dogs and some towels and get ready to get wet and muddy!

Have you explored downtown by the river? What’s your favorite “go to” spot?
Leave me comments and follow me on twitter @RachelRoen

Not in the mood for downtown trails? Check out my other blog on some beautiful trails in the Sierras!

Until next time,
Happy Trails!

Getting Muddy on the Callahan Park Trails


Today was the perfect afternoon for a relaxing hike; it was 52 degrees out and not a cloud in the sky. I had been at work since 5:30AM so I wasn’t ready to get out and get going until about 3:00 PM leaving me with not a lot of day light left. Since I was short on time I decided to take a 5 minute drive up Mount Rose Highway to Callahan Park with my dogs to do a little exploring.

To get to this park you take Mount Rose Highway, Turn left onto Callahan Road, drive down that road for about a mile and a half and you will see two different parking areas. There are two major trails at this park. One is mostly for mountain bikes, and it is the common, heavy foot traffic trail, which is the one on the right side of the creek. Or there is the one on the left side of the creek that is a small, not well established trail and most often times you will be the only one on the trail: this is the one I like to take.

This park is great, not only for the “woodsy” trails but because there is a full park with swings and slides, a big grassy field, horseshoes and a BBQ pit; it really has it all. In the summer the creek that runs through the park usually has a decent amount of water in it, enough for the puppies to play in, however in the winter the water freezes and the creek turns into an icy trickle of water.

If you walk through the park kind of steering to the left you will pass a grave yard (yes a grave yard… you will have to check it out for yourself) and see where the trailhead begins. Like I said it is not a well worn path and to get to the trail you have to crawl under the barbed wire fence. It is always fun to have a sense of adventure right?!
barbed wire

Although in the park area there are signs everywhere that say “Dogs must always be leased” blah blah blah rules. I have never had an issue and usually don’t even bring a leash, but I don’t want to encourage rule breaking. This trail goes on for hours, and honestly even though I have travelled it many times I still haven’t gone to the end. It is a great trail for mountain biking, however it was way to muddy to bring the bike out today, but it is somewhat rocky and pretty flat, making for an enjoyable but challenging bike ride.

There is a lot of different wildlife here than what you would normally see down lower on the mountain. I have found deer tines, deer legs, in the winter evenings there are tons of owls, woodpeckers and I wouldn’t be suprised if bears roamed the area looking for food. Also there are HUGE pinecones. Now I know it is not wildlife but they are really awesome. Today on my hike my mom asked me to bring her home some…don’t ask me why!

This is a beautiful trail that is not a far drive and it has many other activities you and your friends can do. So get out there and go roll in the snow and mud, explore this trail and share your thoughts and comments with me below! Follow me on Twitter! @RachelRoen

Huffaker Trails on Rattlesnake Mountain


Rattlesnake Mountain is really the only mountain that is actually INSIDE Reno, and although it looks just like a hill with an airplane guiding light at the top of it; it is full of amazing winding trails that could take hours to explore.

When I was young our house was at the base of this mountain, and although I was too young to explore it, the only other memories I have of it are that we buried my childhood dog, Clark, on this mountain. It wasn’t until a year ago or so, when I was looking for a new adventure one day and decided to drive up the road on the mountain and see what has become of it…and needless to say it is beautiful.

To get to this trail your going to get to the intersection of Longley Lane And McCarran, there will be a single road that turns onto the mountain, and about a mile up there is the trailhead and parking.

There are miles and miles of trailhead, and if you go to the left on the trail it will lead you to the resevoir lookout bench. The water really is beautiful even though it is green from so much algae growth. Unfortunately there is no easy way to get to the water to play… trust me I tried.

From here the trail wraps around and will lead you to the highest point where there is another bench that gives you an amazing view of Reno and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The trail up here is very thin, steep and rocky. Once at the top there is also a very interesting rock “fort” type thing that appears to exteremely used, perhaps by a sheep hearder to get protection from harsh winds. (Just my theory)
the toprocks

The terrain is all sage brush, a lot of which has been cleared out by a wildfire a few years back, and there are tons of beautiful metamorphically altered granite rocks that scatter the area. Although a lot of the wildlife has vanished from here, you will be lucky to see the wild mustangs on the lower, flatter parts of the mountain. Although it is illegal to harass and feed the wild horses they are a rare and beautiful sight.

This is just one of the many trails on this mountain that you could take. Whether you have been on this mountain many times every path will show you a new side of Reno and always leave you amazed with how beautiful nature is.

So get out an go try this trail this weekend and share your thoughts, pictures and comments with me below! Also follow me on Twitter @RachelRoen!

Happy Trails!

The G Hike


South Reno is full of ‘rolling’ hills, and I know these hills and mountains like the back of my hand and have been exploring them since I was only just 9 years old. One of my favorite “quick” hikes to go on is the G hike. Now I call it this because there is a huge white G made out of rocks on the mountain to represent the nearby Galena High School.

The great thing about this hike is you can take a 30 minute hike and get some great views of Reno, or you can turn it into a three hour hike and extend it up along the side of the mountain.

It is very easy access to get to the “trailhead” even though there really is no beginning and any type of vehicle will be able to make the drive regardless of snow.

To get to this trail you take I-580 South to the Mt Rose exit, continue up Mt. Rose Highway and you will turn left onto Edmonton. Continue on Edmonton and it will turn into Great Falls Loop and your destination will be on the right, and this is what you will see.


From here you will just need to start walking, at first it is a well worn gravel road, but as you get up higher it does turn into a trail. As you get closer to the G you can stop here.

view of Reno

If you chose to continue you will see a water tower to your left, and you can continue the trail up over the ridge to the side of the mountain. This trail is a little more physcially challenging as it gets very steep, but you have an amazing view of the ravine below. You can can continue to hike to the top where the view of Reno is even more beautiful.

extended trail

There is lots of wildlife you can expect to see when you are walking along this trail. There are Gambel’s quail and California quail, and if you hike far enough away from the houses you can hunt these during the Nevada upland game hunting season (usually October to February), there are many coyotes, but they stay hidden during the day. Also, if you are going to be hiking here in the summer there ARE rattlesnakes on the trails. Other than that you will see bunnies and jack rabbits galore, but nothing to special.

If you have a keen eye for not only animals, but also rocks, there are SO many unique and beautiful rocks that you might want to bring home and polish up. On my hike today I found some scoria, which a volcanic rock, and also some milky quartz.


Coming down a mountain, I like to challenge myself to make it down in record time. There are three ways to do this depending on how frisky you’re feeling.

1) Take the same trail down as you took up.

2) Scree run down the sides of the huge decomposed granite pit, which is what I like to do.


3) If there is snow, you can sled down on your butt, which is the option my Mom, of all people, chose to do.

Have a great hike!
Rachel Roen

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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