Beginning in May or June, the Truckee River through Reno usually flows at levels just right for tubing, rafting, and general water play on hot days. Not so this year.

The Truckee River is flowing high, fast and really cold due to continuing snowmelt from the epic snowpack dumped on the Sierra Nevada last winter. We around 200 percent of average snowfall, there’s still a lot of snow and it’s going to be a while before enough of it melts to let the river subside to lower flows. Until that happens, please heed these river safety guidelines from the Reno Fire Department.

  • River flows are extremely fast this year and river recreation by the general public is not advised at this time.
  • Consider waiting to float or swim the Truckee River until flows subside.
  • An unprepared person entering the water may experience hypothermia within several minutes, affecting their ability to swim and make decisions, leading to drowning.
  • If you do decide to go in the river, always wear a life jacket, helmet, thermal protection and sturdy shoes for river recreation.
  • Do not drink alcohol or use drugs when boating or tubing.
  • Never go into the river alone.
  • Have a plan and a rendezvous point in case you become separated.
  • Let a friend or family member know when you plan to return.

Even later in the summer, the river is likely to remain higher and colder than most people are used to. Use care and common sense to make your river play fun rather than tragic. Meanwhile, there are several public swimming pools and splash parks in Reno, Sparks and Washoe County where cooling off on hot days is a safe bet.

Truckee River, Reno, Nevada, NV

Truckee River flowing high and cold through Reno, Nevada. Photo © Stan White

Source: City of Reno press release.

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April 11, 2017

Airliner contrails, Reno, Nevada, NV.

Aircraft contrails crisscross the sky above Reno, Nevada. Photo © Stan White

Washoe Lake, just south of Reno, dried up as a result of the multi-year drought in Nevada and much of the southwestern U.S. Record precipitation over the winter of 2016-2017 filled the lake and then some. The lake is part of Washoe Lake State Park.

Washoe Lake, Washoe Valley, Nevada, NV.

October, 2016. Washoe Lake completely dry. Photo © Stan White

Washoe Lake, Washoe Valley, Nevada, NV.

March, 2017. Washoe Lake full and overflowing. Photo © Stan White