Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space

Regional Parks and Open Space is part of Washoe County's Community Services Department. Our mission is to provide exceptional parks, open space and recreational opportunities while preserving our natural, historical and cultural resources. Washoe County manages over 12,000 areas including over 10,000 acres of open space, 49 parks, an Arboretum, developed trails, trailheads, athletic fields, golf courses, a campground, a shooting facility, an archery facility, a museum, and so much more! If you have a favorite outdoor activity, chances are it can be done in a Washoe County Park! For more information on our parks, view our Park Guide. 

Highlights & Current Events

Sierra-Nevada Autumn Photography Exhibit
*We are looking for submissions through Sept. 28!*
fall tree

October 1-31st, 2017
Bartley Ranch Regional Park
6000 Bartley Ranch Road, Reno

Photographs will be displayed in the park's Western Heritage Interpretive Center throughout the month of October. The exhibit is free to the public.

*We are looking for photo submissions! Participants are asked to submit no more than two framed and ready-to-hang photos that express views of autumn throughout Nevada and the Sierra. There is no entry fee. Photos must be received by Thursday, September 28, 2017. To make arrangements, please contact Bartley Ranch Regional Park staff at (775) 828-6612.*

Good Nature! Walking Tour for Older AdultsArbo sign

Fridays, Oct. 6, 13, 20, Nov. 3 & 10

Wilbur D. May Arboretum
Rancho San Rafael Park
1595 N. Sierra St., Reno

Enjoy a stroll in a beautiful natural environment while learning interesting facts from tour guides. The first guided tour will be taking place on Friday, October 6 will be conducted by Ed Kleiner, Ph.D., founder and former director of the Arboretum. Speakers will vary on subsequent dates. Each walking tour can accommodate up to 20 participants. Preregistration is required at goodnature.rsvpify.com or call (775) 238-7792. Click here to view the event flyer.

Ready, Set, Explore and "Walk with Washoe!"
walk with washoe

Tuesday Evenings
Thru October 17, 6:30pm
Various Parks

This is a chance for your family to join our family as we get active together! Walk alongside Washoe County staff and officials as we explore all the parks and trails that our region has to offer. Click here to see the complete schedule.


The popular Ranching at Rancho series has returned, including the Discovery Room and pony rides!

Most Saturdays* thru September, 10:00am-1:00pm
Rancho San Rafael Park
Nevada Farms & Families Area
1595 N. Sierra Street, Reno
(*Pony rides will not be available 8/5 & 8/19)

Bring the family for a fun, free ranching themed open house in the main barn area. Each week features a new theme from goats to tractors and everything else in between. Visit with our resident chickens and turkeys, cool off inside the Discovery Room, or your little one can enjoy a horse or pony ride for only $5 with Lorie's Pony Express! Themed Ranching at Rancho activities will only be offered most Saturdays, but the Discovery Room and pony rides available Saturday and Sundays between 10am-1pm most weeks. Please check this page and the Rancho San Rafael Regional Park Facebook page for notifications and cancellations.


2017 Mini BioBlitz Series with Truckee Meadows Parks FoundationTMPF logo

Saturday, September 9
Bartley Ranch Regional Park
Sessions start at 9:00am and end at 1:00pm

Experts specializing in insects, birds, plants, mammals, and reptiles will explore the parks with the goal of identifying as many species as possible, and they need your help! Researchers will lead groups of community volunteers (you) through each designated park to help collect data and gain a better understanding of biodiversity in the Truckee Meadows.

The BioBlitz is FREE and open to ALL ages. For more info and directions, email Haley, or visit the Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation website.

Programming at the Galena Creek Visitor Centergalena visitor center

Ongoing throughout the year
Galena Creek Regional Park
18250 Mt. Rose Hwy, Reno

The Galena Creek Visitor Center is a partnership between Washoe County, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Great Basin Institute. The goal of the visitor center is to encourage understanding, appreciation and appropriate use of the natural, cultural and historic resources of the Galena Canyon area and the Mount Rose Scenic Byway. Check their website often or call 775-849-4948 for a listing of upcoming events including weekly guided hikes, monthly toddler time, and special Sunday morning programming. 

The Hawkins Amphitheater at Bartley Ranch Regional Park hosts several exciting events throughout the summer and fall seasons. Click here for the 2017 schedule!


Washoe County Warns of Poison Hemlock and other Noxious Weeds

As summer weather brings out more people exploring parks and trails, it also brings some blooming native plants that should be avoided. Poison Hemlock is one such plant which has grown abnormally tall this season due to the unusually heavy precipitation this year. Park visitors cannot be poisoned by the fumes, but the plant is poisonous upon ingestion. Please click the link here for more information on Poison Hemlock and other noxious weeds, view tips on how to keep yourself and your pet safe, and learn more about how Washoe County is addressing the problem.

Washoe County Parks is using sheep to control weeds

Washoe County is utilizing sheep to reduce the risk of wildfire from the Ballardini Ranch Trailhead south along the Arrowcreek Open Space to the Thomas Creek Trailhead. These hungry helpers have been happily munching away on Cheatgrass, something we have been doing rather than applying herbicide in several instances over the past two years. If you see these sheep, please make sure your dog is on a leash for the safety of both your dog and the sheep. Thank you for your cooperation!

Temporary Closures at Betsy Caughlin Donnely Park

Please note that the Betsy Caughlin Donnely Park pastures are closed to public entry until further notice due to agricultural activities. If you are looking for a place to play with your furry friends, we recommend checking out the Link Piazzo Dog Park located within Hidden Valley Regional Park or visit our Dog Parks page for a listing of alternative locations.

Flood Damage Update

Swan Lake Nature Study Area has been severely impacted and is expected to remain closed indefinitely. Lockwood Park is accessible for fishing, but the trails remain in bad condition. Please respect all closure signs and continue to use caution on all Washoe County Park trails and lands that have been impacted by water damage, including potentially unstable river/creek banks, etc. Efforts are underway to assess and repair damages.

Junior Ranger Activity Guides are now available!

Looking for engaging, park-based activities to do with your children? Our Junior Ranger Activity Guides are now available! Download the guide or pick up a copy at your local park office. This free program can be done at your own pace, is flexible enough to appeal to a large age range, and can be completed at any combination of Washoe County parks. Visit our Become a Junior Ranger page for complete details.

May Arboretum Fencing Project at Rancho San Rafael Park nears completion

The ongoing projects to fully fence the Wilbur D. May Arboretum at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park is nearly complete. The fence will protect, preserve and conserve the arboretum's cultural history and secure its 4,000 trees, shrubs and plants, water features, natural wetlands, and 98 gardens. The arboretum will remain open during regular park hours. Funding for the project was provided by a generous donation from the May Foundation and an anonymous donor.

Also stay tuned for more information on the greenhouse beginning construction near the corner of Sierra Street and North McCarran!

Bridge Construction over Whites Creek

Attention Trail Users: During construction of a new bridge over Whites Creek, there will be a temporary trail closure along Whites Creek Trail to ensure trail user safety.  The closure is between Chartreuse Court and Mountain Ranch Road, roughly ½ mile.  Trail users will be directed to use Paris Avenue as a detour. View a map of the trail closure and detour. Construction should be completed in early winter and signs/fencing will be removed once it is safe to have the trail re-opened.  If you have questions/concerns, please contact Cheryl Surface at (775) 328-2039. Thank you for your patience. 

Updated Truckee Meadows Trails Guides are now availabletrails, washoe county, list

Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space is excited to present then new Truckee Meadows Trail Guide featuring two additional trails: Ballardini Ranch Trail system and the Sugarloaf Trail. The 66-page guide features a variety of photos taken from various trails in the area, maps and a brief synopsis describing what each trail has to offer hikers. The guides can be downloaded here, or picked up at local bike shops, visitor centers, Scheels and Cabela's as well as Washoe County, City of Reno, and City of Sparks owned buildings. For complete details, view the press release.

Click here for Washoe County Parks facebook page Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space is on Facebook!