Rancho San Rafael Park & Evans Creek Trail

This weekend was another beauty in the Reno area with unusually warm temperatures.  In fact, the high got up to about 68 degrees, which is just a little bit ridiculous for March. However, it was a nice day for my Saturday run and I was able to get an early start, so it didn’t turn out to be too hot.

Rancho San Rafael Park
Photo Credit: James Ripsom

I decided to run a familiar route up in Rancho San Rafael Park and also run a portion of the Evans Canyon Loop.  I used to run through the park a lot and up the Evan Canyon Loop trail, but hadn’t been there in forever, so in an effort to get out of the rutt I’ve been in lately with my running routes, it was definitely time for some new scenery.   The park is a former ranch that is now a recreation area managed by Washoe County.  Some of the highlights of the park include various recreation facilities, picnic areas, a museum, botannical gardens, and a dog running area.  It is on the corner of North McCarran Blvd and Sierra Street within walking distance of the University of Nevada, Reno.

15 - 11
Photo Credit: James Ripsom

My favorite thing about the park is the fact that it incorporates so many different running/walking paths throughout the area, while also having easy accessibility to some more challenging trail runs.  The trails are accessible through a convenient tunnel that travels below  McCarran Blvd, with the Evans Creek Trail, Evans Canyon Loop, and a Nature Trail all extending into the base of the hills on the Northern side of the park.  A quick guide for all of these trails and loop trails is shown here.

Photo Credit: James Ripsom
Photo Credit: James Ripsom

I decided to make my own 5 mile route and incorporate pieces of the South Park Loop, Arboretrum Loop, Pasture Loop, Evans Creek Trail, and Evans Canyon Loop.  I recommend running through at least a portion of the Arboretrum loop, especially in the summer time, as it is a very peaceful and beautiful part of the park to run through.  It also feeds nicely into the Evans Creek trail that follows the tunnel under McCarran Blvd and north towards the Evans Canyon Loop.  This part of the run is the more challenging area as there is a pretty steep grade up the hill, but once you get there, it is well worth it to see the view of the university and downtown Reno.  I made it a little more interesting and ran all the way to the “N” too after running the entire Evans Canyon Loop trail.

15 - 10
Photo Credit: James Ripsom

In the case that you really like this area, it is also the start of the Silver State 50/50, and half marathon course.  I’ve run the half marathon race for this event in the past and I would highly recommend it if you like a challenging trail run with some good uphill and a fast downhill.

It’s also the spot for the Great Reno Balloon Race!  So you can get a run in AND see some baloons!  (what?  no way, baloons?).

Here’s a little better view of what the park looks like when everything isn’t dead… It’s a beautiful area most of the time, but comparing a late dry winter run to the view you would get during normal spring or summer conditions is probably much better.

Photo Credit: Ping Huang http://www.panoramio.com/photo/38486738
Photo Credit:
Ping Huang
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/38486738

What’s you favorite part of the park?

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