5 Best Reno Outdoor Activities

Reno, Nevada. Based just east of the Sierra Nevada – the mountain range between the Central Valley of California and the Great Basin; and just 25 miles from Lake Tahoe. And while not always associated with adventure, there are tons of amazing Reno outdoor activities for adventure seekers and outdoorsy travelers.

Reno is known as ‘The Biggest Little City in the World”. That title makes no sense, yet all the sense at the same time… So Hotels.com has asked me to explain how this little city, with big character, is a one stop shop for all things outdoor adventure related. And with plenty of amazing accommodation options in Reno you could stay for a week and tick all these crazy adventures off your list! Here’s our top list for the best Reno outdoor activities:

River Rafting in Reno 

The Truckee River is a 121 mile stretch of drainage from Lake Tahoe, crossing into both California and Nevada. There are numerous ways to enjoy it depending on your paddle skills or laziness. 

Let’s start from the minimal effort end. Get yourself an oversized inner tube and float down! A great afternoon out with some beers and buddies. If you head up towards Tahoe City, at the start of the river, you’ll be able to grab all the supplies you need. For the best float without unnecessary wastage of inner tubes – rent a raft from Truckee River Raft Company. This family owned and operated business has been here since 1973, they most certainly know what they’re doing!


Things to do in Reno


The 5 mile float can take between 2-3 hours. There’s plenty to see on the way: tall pine trees, rocky sections, sandy sections, wildlife and of course fellow boaters. The float ends at River Ranch Lodge & Restaurant, where you can enjoy some refreshments as you watch other boaters hurtle down the final rapid section into the pool. You can then get a shuttle from here back to the beginning and do it all over again! 


kayaking outdoor Reno Nevada


Reno Kayaking Adventures

For those looking to up the ante, then how about trying it in a kayak? Sierra Adventures offer intro kayaking experiences for all group types. You’ll be boofing down rapids in no time. They also offer more advanced runs, as well as hotel pickups. This fully guided tour will ensure you don’t miss out on anything along the way. Breathtaking scenery, rapids and diverse flora and fauna. 

In the heart of Reno is the Truckee River Whitewater Park. 11 drops and pools as well as various other features to test your paddle skills. This is one for those with a little more than ‘zero’ paddle experience. A year round waterpark that offers something for everybody, as kayaking is a great spectator sport – particularly if you are around in May to check out the Reno River Festival. This is an action packed weekend of whitewater contests, music and food. This free weekend events draws in over 40,000 people to Reno. The costumed slow bike ride complete with live band is surely a sight to behold. 


Rock Climbing in Reno 

Rock climbing has seen a huge increase in popularity in recent years, with more and more people testing their strength and nerves in this sport. Once reserved for the adrenaline junkies, more people are now reaching to rock climbing as a way to stay in shape and keep up with fitness, as opposed to regular gyms. 

If you’re wondering what to do in Reno, you could check out either of its two bouldering and climbing gyms. Mesa Rim Climbing Center is the newest and largest. They also have a gym and yoga classes.


Basecamp rock climbing Whitney Peak


If you really want to test your vertical limits,  you can check out the worlds tallest artificial climbing wall. A whopping 164ft high, BaseCamp’s wall climbs up the side of a Reno hotel. This is truly a sight to behold and another great Reno attraction. 

For outdoor climbing, fall is generally considered the best time. However, Reno has a number of world class crags that can be explored year round, making it a must-visit destination for climbers near and far. Big Chief, Twin Crags and Lovers Leap offer a range of routes from beginner slabs to long multi pitch ascents. In Stone offer guided climbing trips around Truckee and Lake Tahoe, perfect for any level climber looking to improve. Climbing is a great opportunity to not only improve physical strength, but mental strength, mindfulness, mobility and some good ole fashion family fun!


Outdoor activities in Reno
Photo credit: www.huffingtonpost.com


Paddle Boards in Reno 

Paddle boarding is the fasted growing water sports activity around the world. Easily accessible and a fantastic way to explore the surrounding waters of Reno. 

During the summer season, almost every lakeside beach will be renting out paddle boards. This will of course be the most convenient place for you to rent, as you don’t need to face the hassle of transporting the SUP (stand up paddle board). Now that’s not to say the other seasons are just as beautiful. In fact, I’d encourage paddle boarding out of the summer seasons just as much. You’ll be able to experience the seasonal colors of the surrounding trees, the calm of nature and of course even less people around.

Any launch point available along Lake Tahoe will set your Reno adventure up for success. But if you wanted a little guidance, the eastern shoreline is a popular spot. Coves, rocky sections and secret beaches aplenty. If you wanted to travel a little further then check out Pyramid Lake. This 125,000 acres lake is one of the largest natural lakes in Nevada. Pyramid Lake is widely proclaimed as North America’s most beautiful desert lake. The land here is part of the Paiute tribe and holds much significance in their history, as well as myths and beliefs. Be sure to swing by the tribe museum as well as the visitors center. 


Activities in Reno


Reno Scavenger Hunt 

I don’t know if I am held to any sort of recommendation writing moral code where I’m not supposed to have a favorite. In the same way that a parent shouldn’t have a favorite child… Well even if I am, I am throwing it out the window right now to tell you that THIS is the one thing you should be doing, if you could only pick one.

This will really get you out and about, around the heart of this little big city and ticking off some of the major sights along the way. Just some of the stops include: the Eldorado Resort Casino, National Bowling Center and the Truckee Whitewater Park. The main focuses of the hunt are art, culture and history. You’ll be given photo challenges to complete as well as getting your trivia tested. But really, what’s not to love about goofing around a new city with your buddies?

Strap your boots up, grab some pals or bring the family for this wonderful afternoon out taking you around the best Reno attractions. More information can be found over at ScavengerHunt.com.


Reno attractions


Skiing in Reno 

Read that again. Skiing. In. Reno. 

Mt Rose ski hill is just a 25 minute drive away from Reno. It is the nearest and is still in a desert which I find pretty incredible. This local favorite resort sits at 8,260ft, with the summit reaching 9,700ft. A mountain offering something for everyone, from first time snow seekers looking for introductory lessons, to those more experienced looking to drop some chutes or explore the tree runs. And if you’re here in the summer months it’s also a great hike to check out. It is considered intermediate to difficult – so make sure you’re up to the challenge.


Best Reno Outdoor Activities

Leave a Comment