Self-Powered Activities in Reno-Tahoe

Pedal, Paddle, Hike and Cast Off to Solitude, Scenery and Satisfaction

Image©THS Visuals for Reno-Tahoe Territory

The Reno-Tahoe Territory is a vast and diverse region of high desert valleys, majestic tree-lined mountains, and crystal-clear lakes. Encompassing the destinations of Carson City, Carson Valley, Reno-Sparks, North Lake Tahoe, South Lake Tahoe and Virginia City, Nevada. There’s no other place in the world that can claim the beauty of Lake Tahoe, the action and adventure of the “Biggest Little City in the World,” the rich history of the Comstock Lode, or the state’s oldest recorded settlement — all within 60 minutes of each other. Visit for more.

Crystal clear lakes, tranquil rivers and stunning mountainscapes make the Reno-Tahoe Territory one of the most beautiful destinations in the U.S. The scenery alone encourages visitors to slow down, get outside and soak it in. Self-powered activities, such as paddling, biking and sailing, provide a personal connection to the outdoors – especially in an area filled with numerous diverse experiences all within an hour of each other.  It also provides a feeling of accomplishment and reduces one’s carbon footprint. 

Connected By Trail

From expansive high desert valleys to the towering Sierra Nevada, it’s hard to believe that nearly the entire region is connected by multi-use trails. Hikers and bikers can trek and pedal from one destination to another or enjoy trail recreation outside their back door. 

In Carson Valley, the Carson Valley Trails Association has a vision of “connecting people to the outdoors through a system of trails.” The non-profit organization has created and maintains 54 miles of trails across six distinct trail systems through volunteer efforts and collaboration with partners. Just to the north, Carson City Parks, Recreation and Open Space affords visitors access to more than 20 different trails of varying difficulty with options within the city to the eastern shores of Lake Tahoe. The Carson City trails were developed by volunteers and are enjoyed by mountain bikers, hikers and equestrians nearly year-round. Heading westward into the Tahoe Basin, visitors to Tahoe South have a myriad of trails to explore from waterfalls to secluded alpine lakes and from peaceful meanders to the iconic Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. With all the options, there’s a bucket list hike or bike ride in South Lake Tahoe to be found for everyone. Incline Village in North Lake Tahoe is home to the Flume Trail offering up some of the most spectacular lake views in the basin. The new East Shore Trail connects Incline Village to Sand Harbor and provides direct access to public beaches, coves and trails along the picturesque Nevada shoreline. 

Most notably, hikers and bikers can easily connect each of the Carson Valley, Carson City, South Lake Tahoe and Incline Village trails together for all-day and multi-day adventures. The Tahoe Rim Trail system is one of the most iconic and beautiful long-distance trails in the world, with more than 165 miles open to hiking, equestrians and mountain biking. 

As the Tahoe-Pyramid Trail continues to take shape, this 114 mile river trail has become a symbol of the region’s connectivity. Based on a vision for a trail to parallel the length of the Truckee River in its entirety, the Tahoe-Pyramid trail is a route that initiates at Lake Tahoe and finishes east of Reno at Pyramid Lake. When complete, the trail will descend over 2,000 feet and carry hikers and bikers over a combination of dirt and paved roads, paths, historic roads and newly developed trails and bridges. 

Paddle Out

The Reno-Tahoe Territory may be most recognizable for being home to Lake Tahoe, but the region is also sprinkled with rivers and recreational lakes throughout, each offering a unique kayak or stand up paddle experience. In the recreational Reno-Sparks area, residents and visitors can easily squeeze in an early morning or evening paddle at the Sparks Marina Park, accessible from Interstate 80. The Sparks Marina Lake is a 77-acre lake continuously recharged by a naturally occurring aquifer, offering paddle enthusiasts a beautiful and clean escape right within the city center. Equally convenient and beautiful is the Truckee River Whitewater Park in downtown Reno. The Whitewater Park is a 2,600 foot long, 11 drop-pool section of the Truckee River providing Class 2 to 3 courses for freestyle kayaking. The Whitewater Park is fantastic for all levels of kayakers and anyone looking to float the rapids. 

Wildlife enthusiasts can enjoy a serene kayak, canoe or paddleboard experience at Topaz Lake Park in the Carson Valley community of Topaz Lake. Known as “The Desert Gem,” Topaz Lake is framed by the Eastern Sierra in a remote location off Scenic U.S. Route 395. While the lake is famous among fishing enthusiasts, it is also a well-kept secret among birdwatchers where visitors can spot orioles, swallows, red-winged blackbirds and yellow warblers.  A pair of bald eagles nest nearby, while ospreys and pelicans are frequently seen. 

Of course, Lake Tahoe is North America’s highest alpine lake and perfect for getting out on the water in a kayak or paddle board. The Lake Tahoe Water Trail is an endless 72-mile water route along the shoreline with public launch and landing sites, wayfinding signage, paddle routes to match your ability and interests, navigation tools, and water safety tips to help you have a safe and fun paddle adventure.

Sail Away

Sailing is an age-old method of transporting by the simple power of the wind. At an impressive area of 191.6 mi², sailing Lake Tahoe is an iconic summer experience and is often regarded as the best way to see the lake and surrounding scenery. Take it slow and easy or throw the sails in the wind for a spirited ride, either way, visitors will never forget the view from the middle of the lake. Action Water Sports in Incline Village offers sailing charters aboard the Sierra Cloud, a 55’ catamaran. Guests can also rent kayaks and stand up paddle boards. In South Lake Tahoe, visitors to Zephyr Cove Resort  can rent paddle boats and more.

For more information on planning a visit to the Reno-Tahoe Territory, please visit