Great parks in Washoe Valley

July 19, 2016

Three public parks await your discovery in Washoe Valley, less than half an hour south of Reno on either I580 or old U.S. 395. Each is unique and worth an extended visit. They are close enough to each other that you could make an afternoon reconnaissance trip to Washoe Valley before deciding where to start a more thorough investigation.

Headed south from Reno, the first you will come to is Davis Creek Regional Park, at the northwest end of Washoe Valley. You literally go from sagebrush to pine forest when entering this park. Davis Creek offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including a campground with 62 overnight sites, hiking and nature trails, biking and equestrian access, shady picnic areas, group camping and day use areas that can be reserved, a small fishing lake, and great views of Washoe Lake and Slide Mountain.

Just down the road is Bowers Mansion Regional Park, centered around the historic home build by Comstock millionaires Sandy and Eilley Orrum Bowers. The park offers a variety of recreational opportunities. During summer, the Bowers Mansion public swimming pool is popular. Other activities include picnicking under tall shade trees, play areas on big expanses of lawn, short walks and hikes to learn about area history, and tours of Bowers Mansion.

Washoe Lake State Park is across Washoe Valley from the other two parks. Here you will find a selection of trails, from easy strolls in the sand dunes along the shores of Washoe Lake to more strenuous hikes up to spectacular views of Washoe Valley and the Sierra Nevada mountains. There is a nice campground and wetland with access for birdwatching and wildlife viewing. If you get lucky, you may see some of the wild horses that roam the area. There is an entry fee of $7 at this park, with a $2 discount for Nevada residents. The other two parks have no entry fee.

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