Archive for March, 2013

Lake Tahoe in the Spring

I have been anxiously awaiting for some of the snow to melt off Mount Rose so I could begin my explorations on the most beautiful mountain in Reno.  With the 70 degree weather we have been having I thought it would be fun to check out Lake Tahoe and see what the trail conditions are like up there this time of year. I have one word to describe my adventure out there this weekend : Perfect!

Everything from the weather, the water and the timing was amazing. I have never been up to the Lake in late winter or early spring; only in the summer. But I think the spring is my new favorite season. There are no people, you have the whole beach to yourself, people don’t glare at you when your dog is flinging sand, and the water is so blue it is unbelievable.

I went to Chimney Beach. This is a dog beach, it is somewhat secluded and there is a gorgeous trail, about 2 miles, that you can run on before taking a cooling dip in the lake.

To get to this beach you head up Mt. Rose Highway…for a LONG time. Keep going until you reach a round about and you will go left onto Tahoe Blvd. You will drive past the boating docks, a few miles past Sand Harbor beach, and you will see a little parking lot, big enough for about 20 cars. In the winter the lot is closed so I had to park on the narrow side of the road. But it all works.

To get to the beach from here it is about a .5 mile hike down a steep hill, but you can follow the trail for longer and get in some amazing views of the lake. Right now the trails are completely clear from snow and very dry. CAUTION! If you are here in the summer, or on a warmer day, there is a nude beach in the area. I have never been to it or seen it, but one day I was hiking down to the water and this older man saw me coming and took off his shorts and sat on a tree stump….nude. It was so awkward because it was right on the trail; there was no avoiding it. People are so interesting.

The water was a little chilly, but after I had soaked my Merrell’s and my pants which I like to think are waterproof, staying dry was out of the question and I didn’t try to avoid it anymore.

Let me just say I have never seen such blue water. This photo was taken without a filter. AMAZING!

Also my mom and I found a really long stick, and since I have a golden retriever, and so does my mom, we wanted to play fetch with them and use this ridiculously long stick. Check it out in my YouTube video!

As I was out on some rocks with my dog a plane flew in front of us, just feet from the water, and my mom was able to capture it all on camera….such perfect timing it was unbelievable.

Do you like to explore Tahoe in the spring? What is your favorite trail up here? Share you trails and experiences with me! @RachelRoen

Happy Trails!


Hunter Creek Trails

So the past few months I have heard so much of “Hunter Creek” and how beautiful and amazing it is. I had never heard of this trail and had no idea where it was. But my adventurous spirit needed to check it out. The first time I went out, I knew the general area it was in, North-West Reno, but wasn’t quiet sure where… So Mason and I just drove around, found a trail we thought may have been it, but it was boring and bland. So I knew I had missed.

This last week I was on spring break from school, so I thought I would try to find the mysterious Hunter Creek Trail again. This time I was wise and brought a resource with me: my friend Heather who knew where the trail was and had been there before. It was a beautiful spring morning but unfortunately I had to work at 2:00 so I didn’t have enough time to make it to the best part of this trail…the waterfalls.

Regardless… this trail is NOT hidden at all; I do not know why I couldn’t find it before. Blonde moment I guess. Haha. To get to this trail you head west on Mayberry drive off of McCarran Blvd. You will turn left onto Plateau Rd, follow this and turn right onto Woodchuck Dr. KEEP GOING. This is where I stopped the first time, because you will see a place to park on a trail. This is not it. Follow Woodchuck Dr. over the hill and then you will see the park, with parking and the trailhead.


I hiked for 2.5 miles, so 5 miles round trip and did not see the waterfalls. I hear they are about 3 miles in or so… I was so close! Anyways, the trail starts off easy and wide, with little shade, and just in desert terrain. As you continue the trail gets narrow, rocky and some parts very steep. hc2
About 2 miles in you start to end the forest and will have some shade, but make sure to bring water for you and your pups. In the early spring the snow is still melting and it makes the trail slippery and muddy .. who doesn’t love mud?!

When I had to turn around, because of time constraints, I had stopped at the perfect place…


I can’t wait to try this trail out again when I have the whole afternoon to explore and see the still mysterious waterfalls, and possibly go swimming in them with Mason. But regardless, it was a beautiful afternoon that I enjoyed spending with my friends and my dog.

Want to find out more information on Hunter Creek Trail? Check it out here!

Have you been on this trail before and made it to the waterfalls?! Share you experience with me!
And as always

Happy Trails!

Keystone Canyon

This afternoon, despite it being a little windy, I wanted to enjoy the sunshine and do one of my favorite hikes in North Reno; Keystone Canyon.

To get to this trail head your going to head north on I-580 and exit on North McCarran, and turn left. Keep driving on McCarran until you reach Leadership Parkwary and turn right. There is a lot of parking all along this road. However if you keep driving on Leadership Parkway it will bring you to a few different trailheads, for East Keystone Trail, Keystone Canyon Trailhead, and, wait for it…. West Keystone Trailhead. So the choice is yours! I usually chose the one with the least cars.


This trail is great for mountain biking especially the lower one that is the easiest access. It is flat and curvy and does offer some challenging terrain, but nothing to extreme. photo (7) What I like to do on this trail, is create my own path. I just start hiking up the side of a mountain, not a trail. This is more of a physically challenging way to hike, and more exciting for me.

Once you’re at the top of the mountain you can see the Univeristy of Nevada, Reno below you, and have a clomplete 180 degree view of the city. Just try not to blow away.  My friend that accompanied me, Heather, and I were blowing over it was rediculous! It seems like even on not windy days, when you’re way up here, it is like a tornado.

This hike is great if you want to spend a couple hours outdoors without driving too far out of the way. You can enjoy the fresh mountain air and your dog will love being able to run and explore.

Have you ever been to the Keystone Canyon trails before? If not go check them out this week and tell me what you think of them! Or if you’re in the mood to be near some water this week check out my blog on the Truckee River and head down there!

Follow me on Twiter @Rachel Roen
Happy Trails!

Inside Blondie’s Hiking Backpack

After the ‘rocks falling and crushing my ankle’ incident during my Sage Hill hike last weekend, I had many friends worry about what I would do if I really got hurt out on a hike. 1 (That was what the damage looked like a few days in. Again I thank God for watching over me.) So I figured I would show them, and everyone else the gear I always bring with me when I am going on challenging hikes. If I have been on the trail 100 times before or if it is an unexplored one, I always bring my backpack.


First and formost it is important to have a large, but comfortable backpack to fit all your gear in. Next are the essentials; I bring food that Mason and I can share, usually jerky and nuts, and three bottles of water. Now I will list off what I have in that picture and go over a few, their purpose and why they’re essential.

*Garmin GPS – If you find a cool trail or spot you can save the coordinates to find it again.
*A plethora of fire starting materials – fire starters, waterproof matches, magnesium, flint and steel, and cotton pads soaked in petroleum.
*A lightstick
*Survival Kit in a Can

*A space blanket
*Drinking water germacidal tablets
*A gun, with an extra magazine. (There are bears, bobcats, mountain lions… so many predators you want to protect yourself from out in the wilderness.)
*A first aid kid
*A tactical knife (with a serrated edge and and a straight edge, the butt of the knife can be used as a hammer)
*A bear whistle, or survival whistle
*A Gorrilla Pod to caputure all the adventures you will be having while on your own! Let me just say, this gorilla pod is worth the investment if you explore alone, or with your dog who unfortunately can’t take pictures of you on a rock. 2 It has flexible arms that can wrap or balance on any surface, a spot for your camera to screw onto, and it is small and compact. I would not of been able to get half of the amazing shots I get if it weren’t for this creation.

All of these items can be put together with one quick stop at your local outdoors store.

So if I were to get in a bind and really need help, I do have some of the basics when going on a difficult hike around the Reno mountains. Now it is a different game when I am free hiking in the woods where I know I am hundreds of miles from everyone. But these are some easy, and cheap things that one should always carry with them when planning an exploration.

What are you essential pieces of gear when you head out on the trail?!
It is spring break so I will be getting in some awesome outdoor time this week so watch out for some new blogs on awesome trails in the next few days!

As always,
Happy Trails!

Sage Hill

full view

Remember in my last post where I said the best adventure is the one where you pick a mountain you want to explore and drive towards it? Well that is what I did today. There is this mountain on the southeast side of Reno, near the D on the mountain (the D made of white rocks for DAMONTE) and to the left of the D there is a huge rock crevasse and I have always wanted to hike to the top of this mountain, so today I just drove until I got there and hiked. It was beautiful! The red star in the image is where I ended up.

That is the view of my hike from the base of the mountain. And you can see the huge crevasse in the mountain, well I hiked to the left of it all the way up to the top. It was an extreme physcial and mental challenge, but I feel like I just accomplished something HUGE!

To get to the base of the mountain you :
Exit I-580 at Damonte Ranch and head east, turn left onto Steamboat Pkwy, Right onto Rio Wrangler Pkwy, left onto McCauley Ranch Rd. (you will see Damonte Ranch High School on your right) continute and go arond the round about and turn off onto the horribly crumbled gravel road as far as you want or as far as your car will take you. From here you will see some trail that head up, I headed towards the left, and was able to get to the top of the mountain, but it was a steep, rocky, intense hike.

Driving up the mountain I saw about 60 wild horses roaming around right on the road, you could litterally reach out and pet them, but don’t! It was a beautiful sight, I have never seen so many of the wild horses in one spot. There are also a lot of people who come shooting up here, but everyone is nice and safe about it. To me, hearing a gun shots in the distance is comforting (is that creepy?)

Heading up the mountain the landscape is so barren and desolate, however there are a few cool rock structures to climb up on and get an amazing picture and really make you feel like you’re on top of the world. 33 It is so important to know you’re limits, especially when you head out on rock cliffs like I tend to do. It is so high up it is easy to slip on the crumbles of rock or get dizzy from the heigth; so know what your body can handle and if not just get a picture of the rock and photoshop yourself in later. 😉

Although these rocks are cool, the real reward comes once you have sweated and trekked for about 90 minutes and you finally reach the top, and you breath is taken away again.

On the way down, you can take the trail, or if your ready for another challenge, freestyle it down the mountainside. 11 On a sidenote: this is very dangerous and even an expierenced hiker like myself can get injured doing this…and I did. On my way down this shale covered mountain I was on a pile of big boulders and jumped to the level below, and the rocks came tumbling after me. Luckily I was able to get out of the way, except my right ankle which was pinned under a rock. I just stayed calm, didn’t move, and carefully freed my foot, with no broken bones; just bruises, a sprain and swelling. God was watching over me.

Also on the way down I saw two eagles circling over me, which I though was interesting. Then all of the sudden one of them nose dived about 30 feet in front of me, and I thought it was going to swoop up Mason, but it flew into a nest in the rocks close by, I was very close to nest and they were just trying to protect it. The whole hike took about 3 hours, althoug I could of spent all day exploring these mountains. It was really to beautfiul for words to explain and is a sight you need to expierence yourself.

What are you doing to get outside this weekend? If this trail is not to intense for you go DO IT!

Until next time,
Happy Trails!

Quail Ridge in Washoe Valley

“The mountains are calling and I must go…” – John Muir

This cloudy Friday afternoon I spent a couple hours and really explored a place I have only been to one other time… it’s a place I call Quail Ridge. Now this isn’t the real name of this trail, it has no real name, it is just what I call it. I found this trail just by seeing a mountain I thought I could find quail on to hunt back in December, so I drove until I was at the base of the mountain and began to hike.

To get to this trail head south towards Carson City, but do not take I-580, you take Old US 395 until you come to Eastlake Blvd. then turn left onto Eastlake and take this for about 1/4 mile then turn left onto Spicer St. ( you will be in a neighborhood of houses) Spicer then curves left into Dunbar Dr. then turn right onto Hickock, left onto Lord Dr., which curves right into E. Guffey Dr. this road ends and you will see the beginning of the trail. I’m telling you sometimes the best trails you find are the ones you come upon by accident. There are about 10 different trails so take your pick and each one will lead you to an amazing discovery.

This time, unlike my hike in December was much easier, as I was on a dirt trail and not trekking through two feet of snow. The trail is wide, and expect to get loads of sand in your boots because I sure did. As I continued to hike I came upon an old house frame? Mine shaft opening? WHO KNOWS?! It was so interesting I’d love you hear what you think it is in my comments BELOW. All I know is it is very old, and way back on a mountain in the middle of no where.

As I was walking away from these remains I noticed ( now don’t think i’m crazy for looking at poop but) an interesting type of animal poop on the ground I had not seen before. I took pictures and came home to find out it was bear scat… so there are bears in the area so be careful! For everyone’s sake I will not post a picture of the bear poo. You’re welcome.

Further into my hike I notice this huge, amazing rock formation and I called it, “God’s game of Tetris.” This rock seriously looked like it had beed placed together piece by piece, all fitting together perfectly to create something beautiful. It is definately worth checking it, and the pictures do not do it justice.

Needless to say, I had an amazing time hiking here today, with a beauiful view of the Sierra Mountain Range… you will not regret this hike.


What are you ideas on what that random structure is? Check out this hike it is so amazing! And as always follow me on Twitter! @RachelRoen

Until next time,
Happy Trails!

A gravel road to happiness


Tonight, although not the warmest of the nights, and it was very windy, I felt a need to get some fresh mountain air, so Mason and I headed to a place I call “the pitts”.
To me the pitts is like a vast desert playground with so many things to do. You can go shooting here (there are awesome dugout type shooting areas) you can go mudding in your truck, or hit the trails with your quad, and back up on this mountain is good quail hunting in the winter. Exploration is endless up here.

Now getting here is a little tricky and I found it just by exploring one day. You will be heading up Mt. Rose Highway and take a left onto County Road 49. It is a little bit past the gas station but if you come to Fawn Lane you have gone to far. It is just a little side turnout that is very easy to miss. Take the county road until you reach the vast openness of the beautiful desert!

It is an awesome feeling being the only person in such a big open area, and you will usually be alone if you are exploring up here. And with the weather not being perfect, it keeps a lot of people inside- which means more space for Mason and I! There are a ton of trails, hiking or driving/atv that you can take that wind and wrap these mountains for miles. It is also somewhat like a treasure junkyard. It is sad to see so much trash left here, but people bring out the most interesting things to shoot up so you will never know what you will come across!

There is mostly just sagebrush, but there is one lone tree on the top of a hill, which I think is pretty interesting. How does one tree make it? Mason and I hiked up to check out this tree…nothing to special about it though!

This is a great adventure spot to quickly get away and spend hours to explore or clear your head. There is this article about the value of outdoor adventures and the writer Renee Sharp says,

“Without any need for words, adventure sports can naturally teach us to be here now. Really, really here. To awaken to our senses. To embrace both our pleasant and our difficult emotions. To step into the unknown. To find the balance between holding on and letting go. And learn how to smile even when the currents of fear are churning within.”

I find this very true for me, and really use the outdoors and my sense of adventure to keep my senses straight.
What is the value of outdoor adventures for you?
Follow me on Twitter @RachelRoen and look for my new blogs I will be posting every week!


Until next time,
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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