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Zip liners are treated to an incredible view of the gem-colored waters of Lake Tahoe

Nevada

From Reno to Lake Tahoe: A Tour of Nevada’s Entertainment, Nature and Wild West History

By: Zaida Rios

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  • States:
    Nevada

Tour the natural beauty and attractions of northern Nevada.

The Reno-Tahoe region of Nevada encompasses a rich collection of destinations, each with its own unique culture, history, scenery, and hidden gems. This area, including Reno, Sparks, Incline Village, Carson City, Carson Valley, Virginia City and South Lake Tahoe, displays amazing contrast for a region so compact. Any one trip could include mountain peaks and rolling meadows, frontier towns and urban cities, Old West saloons and legendary gaming, world-class skiing and championship golf.

City Pursuits for Everyone

Nestled at the base of the snow-topped Sierra Nevada Mountains, Reno is a city of contrasts. Originally a Western outpost, Reno today feels like a friendly small town jazzed up with big city allure. The glitz of casinos, shopping and nightlife is balanced by the unspoiled beauty of nearby mountains, lakes and natural wonders. In the Reno city center, stroll down the Riverwalk District, a picturesque river corridor, where visitors can eat, dine and explore along the Truckee River and at the West Street Market. Outdoorsy types can kayak at Whitewater Park or head to the Whitney Peak Hotel for a unique treat – climbing its indoor boulders or famous outdoor wall located 57 meters above street level on the side of the hotel. This is the “World’s Largest Climbing Wall” according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

There’s culture here too. Art lovers will want to wander the Nevada Museum of Art, nicknamed the museum of ideas. Welcoming and inclusive, Reno plays host to plenty of LGBT-friendly events and nightlife. For a fun and bohemian vibe, visit the Midtown District, an up-and-coming area with inventive cafes, and vintage clothing stores. For great deals on designer and name brand goods, shoppers should add the Outlets at Sparks to their itinerary.

Famous climbing wall at the Whitney Peak Hotel in Reno

Famous climbing wall at the Whitney Peak Hotel in Reno
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Escape to the Outdoors

Carve out time to fully experience one of the prettiest places in the USA. The aquamarine waters of Lake Tahoe are an impressive sight. Plus, there’s a wonderful mix of activities to check out: boat tours, paddle boarding, kayaking, wildflower hikes, biking or just lounging on the beach. Winter months offer quality skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling. Just west of Lake Tahoe, break out your hiking boots or rent a mountain bike to discover Carson Valley. Traverse the trailheads and bike routes of Ash Canyon and Kings Canyon, where wildlife watching is an added bonus when exploring the beautiful terrain. Drive Route 341 outside Reno or head to the Virginia Range, both ideal spots to witness the magnificent splendor of wild mustangs roaming free in the high desert. Venture out on your own or sign up with an outfitter for this timeless experience.

Mountain bikers trek down the trails in Ash Canyon

Mountain bikers trek down the trails in Ash Canyon
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Step Back into the Old Wild West

Northern Nevada evokes both the pioneering spirit and laid-back simplicity of the Old West. In Carson City, history buffs can strike out on the Kit Carson Trail (also known as the Blue Line Trail), a self-guided walking tour featuring 60 landmarks such as the Governor’s Mansion, the State Capitol, Nevada State Museum and an array of stately Victorian-style homes. Feel like you’ve stepped into a Hollywood Western movie in Genoa, Nevada’s oldest town and also home to the state’s oldest bar, Genoa Bar & Saloon. Continue your time travel at former mining boom town, Virginia City. Stroll down wooden sidewalks, drink a cold beer or soda at a saloon, explore antique shops or jump aboard a vintage replica of a steam-powered train.

Ride on a steam-powered train at the Nevada State Railroad Museum

Ride on a steam-powered train at the Nevada State Railroad Museum
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Getting There

Fly into Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO), rent a car and embark on an adventure around the destination. Land in Reno and venture out from the airport: Carson City is 30 minutes; Virginia City is 40 minutes; Genoa is 45 minutes; and Lake Tahoe is 45-60 minutes.