"If your dog is fat," the old saying goes, "you aren't getting enough exercise." But walking the dog need not be just about a little exercise. Here are 10 cool things you can see around Reno, Nevada while you hike with your dog.
Walking the dog down the Stream Profile Chamber Trail at Taylor Creek Visitors Center leads to a cut-away view of the creek and its underwater denizens. In fall, spawning Kokanee salmon, tinted a brilliant red, swim past the trail. Another place to view colorful fish up close is on the Truckee River Bike Path in Tahoe City. Peer into the water off the side of Fanny Bridge and look at rainbow trout in the headwaters of the Truckee.
In the mid-1800s the Reno area was merely a stopover on the way to somewhere else. Many roads were used by wagon trains, the Pony Express and others to reach California including Hawley's Grade, the detour through Dog Valley and mountain passes such as Roller Pass, Donner Pass and Carson Pass. Today, many of these historic routes are public trails hosting canine hikers. Keep an eye out for faint rust marks on rocks that are souvenirs of the wagon wheels of the western migration.
The geologic origins of the region reveal themselves in many spots along local trails. At Cascade Creek Falls ridges on both sides of Cascade Lake are visible where rock debris has been pushed by retreating glaciers. This depression, like other similar pits scraped from the rock, filled with snow melt and rainwater to form Tahoe area lakes.
Cemeteries are good destinations for an off-beat canine hike. In Virginia City, the nation's largest federally maintained historic district, are separate cemeteries reminiscent of the boomtown's rigidly structured society. Wander among the headstones that are markers from a time when Virginia City was Nevada's biggest town.
Area parks are home to some of Reno/Lake Tahoe's most historic buildings. Relocated to Bartley Ranch is the one-room Huffaker School that predates even Reno itself. In Idlewild Park stands the California Building, built in 1927 and now the home of the Reno Art Center. From that same era, near the Loch Levens Lake trailhead, is the Rainbow Lodge, constructed from hand-hewn logs. Even older, dating back a century, are rustic farm buildings seen from the trails of Wilson Commons Park.
The Reno/Lake Tahoe region is rife with souvenirs from its glaciated past. Many of these boulders were used by Washo Indians to grind food - look for smoothed depressions in the granite rocks as an indication it may have been a grinding boulder. One good place to see these stones, and learn their story, is at the Lam Watah Washo Heritage Site. Pyramid Lake was named for a triangular-shaped rock that can be seen from trails along its southern shore. And canine hikers on Peavine Mountain can visit the boulders that University of Nevada student arranged into a symbolic "N" in 1913 and they continue to maintain annually.
Your dog can walk up close and marvel at three estates at the Tallac Historic Site - the Pope Estate, the Heller Estate and the Baldwin Estate. Wooded footpaths connect the mansion sites. You can see, but not visit with your dog, Vikingsholm in Lake Tahoe at Eagle Falls and Bower's Mansion at Davis Creek State Park.
OLD FORT RUINS.
Fort Churchill State Park contains the ruins of the 1861 frontier fort built to secure overland migration routes. Fort Churchill lasted only a decade and has been in a state of arrested decay ever since. The remains of the adobe buildings can be seen from trails in the state park.
TV AND MOVIE LOCATIONS.
Your dog can walk in the footsteps of famous Hollywood actors at sites in the Reno/Lake Tahoe region used to film television shows and movies. The Lower Prey Meadows on Tahoe's eastern shore was a prime location for establishing shots of the great NBC western, "Bonanza." Hoss, Little Joe, Adam and Ben Cartwright could often be seen riding through this lush meadow in the shadow of towering mountains. Any canine hike to Dayton State Park will bring you in the vicinity of filming locations for The Misfits, Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe's last movie.
The Reno/Lake Tahoe region is certainly not lacking in picturesque waterfalls you can visit with your dog. Some, like Heath Falls, ask for considerable trail time but others like Cascade Creek Falls and Eagle Falls, the only waterfall emptying directly into Lake Tahoe, can be enjoyed with very little purchase.
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