Crystal Peak Park

A hike through Crystal Peak Park along the Truckee River is a great family-friendly adventure all yearlong. Dip your feet in the water, look for birds, or bring your fishing pole!

Anglers at the Truckee River
Photo by Chris Barile

Crystal Peak Park preserves a scenic pocket of open space along the Truckee River. Beyond the river itself, you will be treated to lovely views of the Verdi Range of the Sierra Nevadas with Crystal Peak, named for the large quartz crystals near the summit, at its center.

From the parking area, walk through the tunnel that goes underneath 3rd street to reach the main portion of the park. A loop that includes a walk along the Truckee River, the center park trail, and Verdi Pond is a little longer than a mile. At the north end of the park, you can explore several foot trails that go through tall grasses and lead to different isolated spots at the river banks.

Verdi Pond is a popular family fishing spot that is stocked with Lahontan cutthroat trout. More experienced anglers are often seen trying their luck in the Truckee River. Moisture-loving trees such as alders, cottonwoods, and willows line the river’s edge while stately Jeffrey pines dot the park interior. In late spring and early summer, a wide variety of wildflowers are in bloom including lupines, daisies, yarrows, and yampahs.

Exploring one of the many trails along the banks of the Truckee River
Photo by Chris Barile

In addition to its idyllic setting, Crystal Peak Park has a historical component. The park is the former sawmilling site of the Verdi Lumber Company. The logging endeavors of this company were the reason why the town of Verdi was developed in the early 1900s. Less than two decades after it was established, the sawmill and adjacent factory were burned to the ground in a fire. Later, in the 1920s and 1930s, the scenic property was converted to a resort for visitors traveling through on what was then newly-constructed Highway 40. A second fire ravaged Verdi though, which promptly ended the resort’s run. A few ruins of the resort buildings still stand today in the park.

Crystal Peak Park is an excellent place to visit for a short, relaxing exploration of the Truckee River’s riparian habitat. If you are looking for longer, more strenuous adventures nearby, Base Camp Reno describes several exhilarating hikes in the inviting mountain landscapes around Crystal Peak Park.

From Reno. Drive 9.5 miles west on I-80 to Exit 3 at Verdi. At the off ramp, turn left onto South Verdi Road. In 0.2 miles, veer to the right to continue onto Crystal Park Road. Enter the park in 0.5 miles, and park in the main parking lot at 39.5142, -119.9958.

Christopher and Elizabeth Barile

Christopher and Elizabeth Barile

Christopher and Elizabeth Barile have developed a passion for the natural world through hiking. They have hiked thousands of miles together while carrying their two young children on their backs. In addition to summiting over 150 peaks in the Greater Reno area, Christopher and Elizabeth have visited 40 U.S. national parks. Some of their other favorite outdoor activities include backpacking, camping, snowshoeing, and birding. Both Christopher and Elizabeth have advanced degrees in chemistry from Stanford University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Christopher is a chemistry professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, and Elizabeth is an artist and educator. "Base Camp Reno: 101 Hikes From Sage to Snow" will be in bookstores and everywhere online April 5, 2022.

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