February 21, 2008
National Geographic Adventure knows a thing or two about finding authentic outdoor activities both off the beaten path and in your everyday life. Here, the magazine tells IgoUgo travelers why their next visit to Nevada shouldn’t begin and end with Vegas. As Erinn Morgan shows adventure lovers in her article, “Rapid Transition” (first published February 2007), Reno is on the rise:
Take a walk down First Street and you'll hear the sounds of Reno's future: There's clang of construction everywhere as worn-out casinos are repurposed as condos for California transplants. Over the past three years, Reno (pop. 207,000) has begun a transformation from Nevada's runner-up gaming town to an adventure hub on par with Salt Lake City and Seattle. The Truckee River, with its 1.5-million-dollar white-water park, flows right through downtown, and Lake Tahoe's 23,000 skiable acres (9,308 skiable hectares) and 583 miles (938 kilometers) of trails are within an hour and a half 's drive. "I can train, cross-country ski, and mountain bike, literally, right out my back door," says Bobby Julich, 35, a resident who won third place in the 1998 Tour de France. The city is ramping up for even more outdoor options, creating direct access to the 165-mile (266-kilometer) Tahoe Rim Trail from downtown and linking four dammed sections of the Truckee into a 15-mile (24-kilometer) continuous stretch of white water for paddlers. That means you can go from living room to backcountry, no car required. It also means that for the mountain-obsessed, Reno looks like a winning bet.
Scouting Trip: Your Weekend in Reno
WHERE TO PLAY: The Mount Rose Wilderness Area, 20 miles (32 kilometers) outside of town, boasts views of Lake Tahoe and the Nevada desert from the Tahoe Rim Trail (www.tahoerimtrail.org). The trail is mountain-bike friendly; Great Basin Bicycles (www.greatbasinbicycles.com) rents them for $25 a day. Even closer to town, Tahoe Whitewater Tours gives kayaking lessons on the Class II Truckee River ($100 for a day; www.gowhitewater.com).
IgoUgo member Reno-Tahoe Girl has this to say about skiing Mount Rose: “I have a new addiction: The Chutes at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe. The Chutes are some super steep terrain that Mt. Rose has opened to the public. I won't claim that I skied them with grace, but I skied them, which is a feat in itself.”
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK: Near the Truckee whitewater park, the Pneumatic Diner is a quirky vegetarian café with organic fare, including California's Bonterra wines by the glass (775-786-8888). For Mexican food, margaritas, and roving mariachis, Bertha Miranda's (www.berthamirandas.com) is a local favorite.
IgoUgo member trailbos agrees with National Geographic Adventure that the Pneumatic Diner holds appeal: “There are only seven tables, plus counter space. Atmosphere is funky and friendly. Customers tend to be the young snowboarding set, but we older hippies feel right at home here. When you're tired of the buffets and prime-rib dinners at the casinos, this place is worth checking out, just for the fun of it.”
WHERE TO STAY: The Truckee River and downtown bike path wind by the plush Siena Hotel Spa Casino ($140; www.sienareno.com), perhaps Reno's quietest hotel. Closer to the action, the Hyatt High Sierra Lodge is 27 miles (43 kilometers) from Reno and a few hundred yards (a few hundred meters) from Tahoe ($349; www.hyatthighsierralodge.com).
IgoUgo member Tana B. also loves the luxe Siena Hotel Spa Casino: “The first thing you should know is that the beds at the Siena are among the most comfortable on Earth. They are comparable with those at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco and are the reason I bring my Princess-and-the-Pea butt there time and again. But best of all are the prices. There are very often great specials and upgrades.”