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LET THE GOOD TIMES, AND RAPIDS, ROLL

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Grab some Buds because the dam gates are open and the river is rolling. After a long winter with near-record snowfall, the Truckee River has finally opened for safe summer river rafting.

We are going to bypass attempting to explain the unimaginable beauty the Truckee River holds. You’ll need to get your toes wet in order to absorb the true breath-taking scenery and experience the refreshing chill of the Truckee yourself. Two, of many, self-guided rafting companies are Truckee River Rafting and Truckee River Raft Company; both offer five mile floats down the Truckee River.

Most trips are leisurely and take two to three hours to complete, but don’t assume you have to stay in your raft the whole time, jump in and go for a swim! And, if you get hungry, row off to the side and enjoy a picnic lunch on a sandy shore.

When your trip has come to an end, a free shuttle will take you back to your vehicle in Tahoe City any time before 6:00 p.m. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily (weather permitting) and footwear is mandatory. Trips include parking, shuttle, paddles, life jackets and commercial rafts for 2-20 people.

We know a long day on the river will brew up an appetite and there is no better way to satisfy your hunger than dining alfresco at one of North Lake Tahoe’s premier restaurants. River Ranch Lodge is always a favorite, especially with its outdoor patio that gives guests a front row seat to rafters exiting the Truckee River. Locals rave about the pulled pork sandwich served on ciabatta with bleu cheese coleslaw and southern barbeque sauce. River Grill in Tahoe City is also a hotspot and has one of Lake Tahoe’s best happy hours. Definitely try the macaroni and cheese with applewood smoked bacon, tomato and New York sharp white cheddar. And for some of the best margaritas in town, head to the historic Blue Agave in Tahoe City and take a load off where Baby Face Nelson hid out from the authorities back in Tahoe’s heyday.

For more information about rafting and raft companies go to www.GoTahoeNorth.com or www.VisitRenoTahoe.com.

Reno’s Riverwalk District is Among America’s Coolest

Travel and LeisureReno’s Riverwalk District recently charmed its way onto Travel and Leisure’s list of “America’s Coolest River Walks”.  Home of the monthly wine, beer and art walks, it’s a fun and unique attraction in Reno’s vibrant downtown area, and locals will attest to its beauty and popularity.

The Riverwalk through downtown Reno is approximately 1.5 miles long loosely bound by Arlington Avenue Bridge (upstream) and Lake Street (downstream). A 12-mile pedestrian path connects two urban whitewater parks- one in the heart of Downtown Reno that includes Idlewild, Barbara Bennett and Wingfield Parks and the newest whitewater attraction at Rock Sparks in neighboring Sparks.

The $1.5 million park in Reno is more than 2,600 feet long and beckons kayakers, rafters, swimmers and water enthusiasts to test out the class II to III rapids as well as 11 drop pools. The improvements and recent additions in Sparks include riverbank landscaping, shade structures, play structures, parking and better access for people with disabilities.

According to the engineer who designed the park, Wingfield Park Island in Reno has been a historic location for community recreation and gathering since Reno was established. The outdoor venue houses a myriad of attractions and performances year-round. The most popular is Artown during the entire month of July.

Engineers designed both whitewater parks in a way that entices and encourages the entire community to participate in the river. Temperate weather and clean water quality, and of course, the whitewater improvements themselves permit people of any age and skill level to experience the cool, crisp waters of the Truckee River. From a toe-dip in the river to an adventure on a raft or kayak – it’s a day well-spent.

After a day of people-watching, picnicking and soaking in the rays on the Truckee, the Riverwalk district offers a wonderful selection of good eats and drinks – Silver Peak, Spread Peace Café or the Wild River Grille are just a few. Go on and see, taste and feel for yourself!

Tahoe Whitewater Tours: (775) 787-5000, 400 Island Ave. Reno, Nevada 89509

Reno is Voted America’s Best Whitewater Town!

Reno WhitewaterOutside Magazine has named Reno the Best Whitewater Town in the country in its annual “Best Towns” feature. The Biggest Little City’s downtown rafting and kayaking park on the Truckee River was chosen for its prime location, lush surroundings and outdoor amphitheater in Wingfield Park. It’s no wonder the location is home to the annual Reno River Festival, attracting hundreds of world-class participants and tens of thousands of spectators each year.

And that’s not all! Outside Magazine also listed the new Aces baseball stadium, affordable housing and renovated downtown area among other reasons to love Reno, as well as the newest whitewater park at Rock Park in neighboring Sparks.

The year-round downtown Reno Truckee River Whitewater Park at Wingfield offers adventure in the heart of the casino and arts and culture districts.  The $1.5 million park is more than 2,600 feet long and beckons kayakers, rafters, swimmers and water enthusiasts to test out the class 2-3 rapids and the 11 drop pools, providing easy access for kayaking maneuvers with a consistent supply of fresh water. The success of the first element of the Truckee River Whitewater Park was followed by a second installment of whitewater adventure. The City of Sparks constructed a whitewater park at Rock Park. Along with pools for kayaking, tubing and rafting for all skill levels, the improvements include riverbank landscaping, shade structures, play structures, parking and better access for people with disabilities.

RiverThe Truckee River also flows through the Reno Riverwalk District, filled with unique shops and restaurants and home to the wildly popular monthly wine and beer walks. The river pathway connects Reno to the beautiful new whitewater park in Sparks. The 12 mile path is perfect for cyclists and pedestrians.

To see Outside Magazine’s Reno listing, click here.

To learn more about the endless water adventures in Reno Tahoe USA, click here.

Dorothy was right. There really is no place like home.

The Truckee River is Among the Top Sportsman Summer Destinations!

Fly FishingSportsman Channel has announced its Top Sportsman Summer Destinations and lo and behold, the Truckee River is on the list! Hosts of Sportsman Channel spend their days hunting, fishing and shooting throughout North America. That’s their job! So they should know a quality, living body of water when they see one. With summer now officially upon us, Sportsman Channel surveyed its talent, as well as its newly appointed CEO, to create the Top “Sportsman” Summer Destinations List.

The Truckee River came in 4th place! Here’s what Chad Belding had to say about our river:

Chad Belding of The Fowl Life: “My favorite summer destination is the Truckee River between Lake Tahoe and Reno in the beautiful eastern Sierra Nevada mountains. The river provides some excellent fishing during the summer months and the guides at the Reno Fly Shop are experts on the local water. They know the hatches, the timetables, the riverbeds, and food beds. Bottom line, they know how to get you on the fish. This in addition to these guided trips, being very affordable is what keeps me coming back to this area year after year. I love to either navigate the river on a float trip or by cruising the shorelines in search of some new honey holes. My favorite locations to fly fish on the Truckee River are literally minutes from Downtown Reno Nevada and Lake Tahoe. There is a ton to do after I get off of the river with great food, summertime activities, concerts, sporting events, and of course the mountains. I suggest staying at the El Dorado Hotel Casino in Reno. The Eldorado is a locally owned Hotel-Casino that offers nothing but first class accommodations.” Fishing with Reno Fly Shop Guides – El Dorado Hotel Casino in Reno: www.EldoradoReno.com and www.renoflyshop.com

 

You said it best, brother!

 

For a complete list of the top Sportsman Channel summer destinations, click here.

Sparks whitewater kayak park preview

Most people still don’t understand why I choose to spend SO much time in Reno, NV. Until they come to visit all I can do is tell them about the awesome outdoor community and the easy access to outdoor amenities.

This week just downstream of the current whitewater park (the Truckee River Whitewater Park in downtown Reno) another was completed (the Truckee River Whitewater Park at Rock Park in Sparks). Though it is still not officially open I had the chance to test out the new features – and yes I got to be the first (there has to be some perks to being the world champ). This is the kind of park you want to bring your kids to: a picnic on the grass, swimming in the deep eddies.

I know I’ll be spending heaps of time here in the near future as they’ve managed to build a nice little wave for me to train on – thank you Jim and Mike!

- Re-post courtesy of world champion kayaker Ruth Gordon

Check out this video of Ruth on the wave of  “Double D,” one of the park features:

Whitewater kayak, tubing and rafting options improving in Reno-Sparks

Following on the success of the Truckee River Whitewater Park in downtown Reno, the City of Sparks has broken ground – or river – on its own kayak park, adding another attraction for whitewater athletes and recreation seekers in the Reno-Sparks area.

The site – located at Rock Park at 1515 Rock Boulevard – will be closed to the public until early 2009, with the whitewater attraction planned for a summer 2009 opening.

“The whitewater feature at Rock Park will raise the bar for recreation in the Truckee Meadows and bring visitors to Sparks from near and far,” said Sparks Mayor Geno Martini.  It will include five drops similar in appearance to the Truckee River Whitewater Park. “The project will be a wonderful use of the Truckee River, and something our citizens can enjoy for years to come.”

Along with pools for kayaking, tubing and rafting for all skill levels, the improvements include improved riverbank landscaping, shade structures, and play structures, parking and better access for people with disabilities. The river trail system will also be rerouted and improved. The nearly $900,000 contract is being fulfilled by Reno Tahoe Construction, Inc.

In addition to serving as the focal point for redevelopment in downtown Reno, the Truckee River Whitewater Park is also home to the annual Reno River Festival, one of the country’s premier kayaking competitions.

Rafting down the Truckee River in Reno

It was a clear blue Sunday morning and the temperature was supposed to reach the low 90s. My boyfriend and I were off to spend Father’s Day rafting down the Truckee River with our two friends and their daughter.

We packed up our cheap rafts, oars, water and sunscreen and headed to Dorostkar River Park, off of Mayberry Drive in Reno. We piled out of the truck, got creative and used an air mattress pump to pump up our rafts.

After we got the rafts pumped up and into the Truckee River, we slid (none-too-gracefully) into them and started our almost five-mile trek from Dorostkar Park to Wingfield Park in downtown Reno.

Within 10 minutes, the bottom of our raft was already flat. As we hit rapids, trees and rocks, we had to lift our entire body off of the raft and lie straight in order for our bodies to survive the abuse.

Within the first 15 minutes, our raft was filled with water. Not because it was leaking (we had a hole but it wasn’t affecting us) but because the rapids and the jarring against rocks would splash water into our boat.

As my boyfriend tried to paddle us to safety, I was cupping my hands and trying to bail water out. As you might be able to guess, it didn’t work too well.

I gave up using my hands and dumped out the water in our only water bottle and tried to use the bottle to get some of the water out. The rapids were getting too crazy and there was more water splashing into our boat than there was getting out.

Somewhere between us swimming in our raft, getting our bodies bashed against rocks and running into a cove of trees, we decided that we really did buy a cheap boat.

Rafters, beware. Somewhere near Idlewild Park, there is a drop-off. By drop-off, I mean we would have fallen out of our boats and be swimming had we attempted the drop-off with our flat rafts. However, there were some brave folks who attempted the drop-off and made it through alive and OK. Stay to the far left when you approach it. If not, you will be going over rocks and those hurt a little bit more.

About four hours later, we finally floated into Wingfield Park. As soon as we hit the last rapid, I was swept out of the raft and gasping for air as I grappled for my boyfriend’s arm. I survived but I can’t say the same for our air mattress pump, water bottle, oar, bag of Wheat Thins and my shirt.

Despite the bruises I had, the killer sunburns the men got and the $30 worth of things floating down the Truckee River, we all had a blast. I’m sure we will do it again soon, hopefully this time with a more sturdy raft.

By Heather Lara, Nevada Commission on Tourism


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Urban Market in downtown Reno coming alive

west-street-market.jpgurban-market-rendering.jpgThe Urban Market project, in planning for a piece of underutilized land in in the downtown Reno redevelopment district, is progressing well with the commitment of a dozen retail and restaurant tenants, according to a story in the Reno Gazette-Journal.

The market has been designed using an open plaza concept, where tenants will face a central pedestrian space that will be available for use for farmers markets, festivals and other events. It is located on West Street between First and Second streets, and is slated to open in October.