Nevada December 03, 2016
8 Picturesque Trails In Nevada That Are Perfect For Winter Hiking
Hiking in winter in Nevada can lead you to some awesomely beautiful scenic views. Of course, you want to be sure to take some precautions. Dress in layers to keep yourself warm and insulated. Start earlier in the day to avoid finding yourself in the dark because days are shorter this time of year. Always check the weather reports before you go so you’re not surprised by storms. You may also want to invest in some equipment if you’re going to be doing more moderate to difficult trails, such as treking poles, crampons and some backpacking supplies. And finally, make yourself some hot liquids to keep warm. A thermos of coffee, hot tea or hot cocoa can be extremely welcome on a cold hiking day!
1. Sawmill Trail, Toiyabe National Forest (Spring Mountain National Recreation Area)
This short loop is 1.3 miles with an elevation between 7,401 and 7,490 feet. It's a beautiful hike any time of the year. In the winter, you can see snow on the mountain views surrounding you and on the trail itself and surrounding woods. There are also some nice picnic tables in the parking lot. It's a good place to pull out your thermos of hot cocoa after a satisfying winter hike. The hike is located at the parking lot on Sawmill Trail Head off SR 156.
2. Mary Jane Falls, Toiyabe National Forest (Spring Mountain National Recreation Area)
This hike is a little under 3 miles with an elevation gain of 1,229 feet. The first part of the hike is fairly level until the end and then there's a good incline up to the falls which might be a bit of a challenge for those new to hiking or out of shape. During the winter the trail can be slippery due to snow and ice. You should also watch for falling ice. To get there, take SR 157 and go 2 miles west of the Kyle Guard Station. Make a right turn on Echo Road and go left at the fork. You will reach the parking lot about a half mile down.
3. Cathedral Rock, Toiyabe National Forest (Spring Mountain National Recreation Area)
This out-and-back trail is 2.7 miles with a gain of 1,266 feet. Cathedral Rock is known for it's lovely forests and the view from the top. One of the unique aspects of the trail is that it's the only habitat for the Palmer Chipmunk. The trail follows an incline up so it's moderately difficult and watch for ice and slippery snow in the winter. If you have children with you, make sure they are supervised as going off the trail can be dangerous. To get to the trailhead, take Highway 157 to the Cathedral Rock Picnic Area and the trail starts at the first parking lot.
4. Marlette Lake Trail, Toiyabe National Forest (Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park Spooner Backcountry)
The Marlette Lake Trail is approximately 6 miles, out and back. Hikers can enjoy some incredible views of both Lake Tahoe and Marlette Lake. A touch of snow really accentuates the beauty of the lakes and surrounding sugarpine and aspen forest! The trail is a bit of an incline for beginner hikers with a total change of 1,793 feet. The trail can be accessed from taking County Road 291 from the NV 28 South.
5. Stateline Fire Lookout, Tahoe National Forest
This trail is exactly as named and sits on the state line. During the short 1.5 mile loop you will cross into California and back. The trail has stunning views of Crystal Bay and Lake Tahoe all year round. This is a relatively easy hike so it's a good choice for beginners and young children. To get to the trail, take US 50 W toward Douglas County and NV 28 South to Lookout Road.
6. Lower Galena Creek Trail, Galena Creek County Park
This lovely forest trail is also popular with snowshoers in the winter. The trail is just under 5 miles with a gain of 786 feet. The hike follows a creek most of the way. To get to the park, take US 50 West to Six Mile Canyon Road and NV-341 West to Callahan Ranch Road.
7. Ophir Creek Trail, Mount Rose Wilderness (Davis Creek Regional Park)
This trail is part of the Tahoe Rim Trail System in the Washoe Valley. The trail is a moderately difficult with some steep gains in places and with an overall elevation change of 1,864 feet. The hike is a 7.7 mile loop. Depending on the level of the snow, parts of it might require turning back but still a gorgeous hike in winter for experienced hikers. Take I-580 North/US 395 North and use Exit 50 for the Bowers Mansion Road/Old U.S. 395/NV 429. Turn left onto US 395/Old US 395 and then right onto the Davis Creek Camp Ground Road.
8. Lehman Creek Trail, Great Basin National Park
The trail is located in Great Basin National Park and is a good option for experienced hikers. The trail is a 7.7 mile out and back journey with an elevation gain of 2,453 feet. The trail is also a great option in winter if you like to use snowshoes. It passes by a creek in sections of the trail. If you're not used to the elevation, you may want to acclimate yourself before tackling this trail. It can be reached from two different campgrounds - Wheeler Peak and Upper Lehman Creek. Take the NV488 west for 5 miles from Baker. Make a right on Wheeler Peak Scenic Park Drive and continue 2 miles to the Upper Lehman Creek campground.
Have you visited any of these hikes in the winter? Do you have a favorite winter snow hike in Nevada? Share in the comments!