For 2017, I want to do a series of posts on Truckee River trails. Walking by the river is a nice distraction from other things, like the news (heh). Try to get out there often. Stop often, breathe often. Look for last year’s bird nests in the treetops. Watch the icy water rush by in the river channel. When the cold winter air makes your face go numb and you can no longer feel your toes, return home, smiling. Mayberry Park is a great place to start.
Mayberry Park, Reno
Directions to trailhead: Head west from downtown Reno on 4th Street, and turn left onto Woodland Ave. Turn right onto White Fir Street, and continue until you cross a bridge over the Truckee River. From a parking-lot off of White Fir Street, you can access two trails: (1) the Mayberry Park bike trail, and (2) the Last Chance Ditch trail.
1. The Mayberry Park bike trail – 0.7 miles (1.4 miles out-and-back)
In 1844, the first wagon train of pioneers — the Stephens-Townsend-Murphy Party — travelled through the Truckee Meadows region, following the course of the Truckee River up into the Sierra Nevada. Along the way, the group crossed the river 27 times; the 23rd crossing occurred in what is now Mayberry Park. A small sign near the east entrance to the park marks the approximate location of the old Truckee Trail, one of several routes that early settlers used to cross the Sierras into California. For more information on the Truckee Trail, a group called Trails West has put together a photo tour and a guidebook.
Compared to the rough terrain faced by early wagon parties, modern-day visitors to Mayberry Park have it easy. A paved bike trail — including a portion of the Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway — leads from one end of the park to the other, a distance of 0.7 miles (1.4 miles out-and-back). The pavement makes for a nice walking surface during winter and early spring, when other Truckee River trails are muddy. Along the way, there are picnic tables, grassy areas and barbecue grills. Small fishing trails lead down to the water’s edge. In summer, this stretch of river is a popular launch-point for tubes and rafts; in winter, you might just have the place to yourself.
Cottonwood groves along the trail provide habitat for many species of native birds. High one cottonwood tree, a large stick nest is visible — easy to spot during winter months. Two years ago, this was home to a family of great-horned owls. Last year, a family of red-tailed hawks moved in. Who will live here this year?
2) The Last Chance Ditch trail – 0.7 miles (1.4 miles out-and-back)
Just across the river from the Mayberry Park bike trail, a dirt road follows the Last Chance Ditch, maintaining a higher elevation with nice views of the Truckee River. This trail is also 0.7 miles long (1.4 miles out-and-back). It’s a nice trail for walking dogs, because it receives less traffic than the paved bike trail and you can generally let them run off-leash without bothering anyone. My camera ate the photos that I took while walking there last month, but here is a photo taken along this trail during a warmer time of year:
I think I will repeat the walk and add the rest of the photos later. Happy hiking!