Reno, Nevada is a vibrant city with plenty of entertainment options. The area boasts a host of trendy restaurants and bars, along with casinos offering gaming, live music, comedy shows and more. There are also numerous cultural offerings, including world-class museums, performing arts venues, and galleries, plus nearby historic towns like Virginia City and fabulous nearby mountain biking and hiking.
When it comes to Reno day trips, there are plenty of outdoor activities to explore. From picturesque ski resorts and hiking trails to Lake Tahoe’s sandy beaches and hot springs, there’s plenty to fill a vacation. But these are four of the best.
Just an hour away from Reno is Lake Tahoe, a stunning alpine lake surrounded by breathtaking scenery. The area offers plenty of outdoor activities, like skiing and snowboarding in the winter months, as well as hiking and biking in the summer. Visitors can also explore beautiful beaches, hot springs, and a variety of water sports. In the winter, it’s well-known for ski resorts like Palisades Tahoe, Northstar California, and Sugar Bowl Resort.
The closest Reno day trips for skiers will be to the two resorts on the Nevada side of the north shore: Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, and Diamond Peak. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are also good Tahoe winter adventures.
The north shore of Lake Tahoe is about 30-45 minutes from Reno, depending on where you want to go. But know that snowy weather in the winter can greatly slow the drive, or sometimes completely close the roads, so check the status of Highway 80 (to Truckee) and Mt. Rose Highway (to Incline Village) if you’re hoping to drive to the lake during a storm. You will definitely need a car with AWD and snow tires or chains.
If you want your Reno day trips to take you to the area’s best natural wonders, consider visiting Fly Geyser in Black Rock Desert. Located about two hours from Reno, the geyser is a fascinating site to explore. It was created accidentally in 1964, when well water mixed with geothermal energy and began flowing up through the earth’s surface. Today, the geyser stands about five feet tall, with terraced pools and a rainbow of colors. It’s an incredible sight to see in the Nevada desert, one Reno visitors won’t want to miss.
Fly Geyser is located on private land, so it requires prior permission to visit. The best way to arrange this is through Friends of the Black Rock Desert, which offers guided tours to the geyser. The tours include a walk and access to the site, with knowledgeable guides providing insight into the area’s human and geologic history.
Black Rock Desert
The Black Rock Desert is a vast expanse of Nevada desert, and Reno day trips to the area allow visitors to explore its stunning landscape. It’s home to Fly Geyser, as well as other natural wonders like Humboldt Peak and Fossil Hill. It’s a long Reno day trip (about 100 miles) so you may want to camp or stay overnight at a nearby hotel. The area around the Black Rock Desert usually isn’t very crowded outside of August, when the annual Burning Man Festival happens.
The Black Rock Desert is best explored on foot or by four wheel drive vehicle, so be sure to plan your Reno day trip accordingly. Bring plenty of water and sun protection, as the desert can be very hot and dry. It’s also home to a variety of wildlife, so take extra precautions when exploring the area and be sure to practice Leave No Trace principles.
David Walley’s Hot Springs Resort
Now called the “Holiday Inn Club Vacations David Walley’s Resort, an IHG Hotel,” this hot-spring resort in Gardnerville, Nevada is just under an hour from Reno. It has one large heated outdoor pool and five thermal water spas; the hottest is about 104 degrees. If you’re visiting as a Reno day trip, you can buy a day pass to the pools without reservations; just roll up and pay the day pass fee.
This is one of the best Reno day trips to plan toward the end of your trip as the hot water can be really relaxing for muscles tired from a few days of skiing or hiking. Unlike more natural hot springs, this one requires swimsuits, so pack accordingly.