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  • Writer's pictureLeah Wz

Reno secrets: Three places to kayak and avoid Tahoe crowds

If you haven't heard... tourism in Tahoe has spiked 300%. You've gotta line up at 5am to get a spot at Sand Harbor (even on a weekday), and a new reservation system is being implemented. Here are our three favorite places to get on the water that aren't Tahoe, but still within a 40 minute drive of Reno:


Sparks Marina: This is an often overlooked option... and while you might not want to take a dip, sunrise and sunset floats at the Marina are way underrated. It's a offers a serene and unique experience, blending the tranquility of nature with the modern urban landscape. Kayakers are treated to stunning views of the Sierras, contrasted by the apartments and 2 mile urban trail around the marina. It's great for bird watching and exploring the little "canal".

Prosser / Boca Reservoir: Tucked away on the North side of 80, both Boca and Prosser Reservoirs are great ways to gain elevation and beat the heat. Boca is a quick drive from Reno, but the benefit of getting to Prosser is that no motorized boats are allowed on it. Both reservoirs offer ample opportunities for paddling, fishing, and wildlife spotting, making it an ideal destination to float and swim away from the Tahoe crowds.

Washoe Lake: Located just south of Reno, Washoe Lake is a hidden gem awaiting exploration by kayaking enthusiasts. (On not windy days) cruise the calm waters for stunning views of the big sand dunes and the backside of Slide Mountain. Keep an eye out for the diverse bird species AND wild horses that call this state park home. Reminder, since Washoe Lake is part of a NV state park, it does have an entry fee.


Tips for a Safe and Enjoyable Kayaking Experience:

  • Always wear a properly fitted life jacket and carry essential safety gear, including a whistle and signaling devices.

  • Check weather conditions and water levels before embarking on your kayaking adventure, and be prepared for changes in the environment.

  • Respect wildlife and minimize your impact on the natural surroundings by practicing Leave No Trace principles.

  • Stay hydrated, protect yourself from the sun, and be mindful of your physical limitations to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable outing.

It's hard to get outside and recreate in peace at a crowded beach; find serenity amidst nature at one of these 3 places to launch (or seeking an adrenaline rush on the rapids of the Truckee River). Reno offers a diverse range of kayaking options to suit every preference. Who's ready to grab your paddle, and head out to someplace new!?

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