Kathleen and David MacDonald hike with their dog Norbu down the Tom Cooke Trail in Reno on Feb. 16, 2016.(Photo: Jason Bean/RGJ)
It's time to put on your favorite hiking gear and explore the Reno-Tahoe area. We've got your guide to hiking in and around Reno. Here are five must-go hikes to take:Hunter Creek Trail
The main trail at Hunter Creek is 5.2 miles long with an elevation gain of 1784 feet that starts in the high desert overlooking downtown Reno and leads up into the trees where you end at a pristine waterfall as a final reward. The trail is also open to dogs and horses. It's a great hike, but if you're not somewhat experienced, it may be a little much. That's OK, though, because at the base of the trail, instead of following the main Hunter Creek Trail straight up the mountain, you can cut off to the North and follow the Steamboat Ditch trail which winds lazily along the side of the foothills of Reno with a much more shallow climb (with incredible views of the valley below). Click here for more info.Lower Galena Creek Trail
This hike is considered moderate by most standards, starting out in the sagebrush and climbing to an elevation change of nearly 700 feet in 4 miles. Sagebrush quickly turns into Jeffrey Pine forest as you meander through upscale Montreux Golf and Country Club (quiet, please). Past Montreux, the trail becomes a bit more rugged as you hike under bigger pine trees and brush that chokes the banks of the tumbling Galena Creek. This hike provides ample shade, so you're not too exposed to the sun on a bright day (which we have a lot of here). Pack a lunch and reward yourself by chowing down in Callahan Park at the end of your hike. Click here for more info.Hidden Valley County Park Trail
Don't let this trail fool you. Even though it's only 2 miles long, it climbs 1,000 feet, making for a heart-pounding equation to get your blood flowing and sweat glands activated. To add to the steepness, this trail is pretty rugged and undeveloped. A number of other trails branch off of this one, so it's challenging to keep the same line up and back. Don't let these things discourage you -- the views across the Truckee Meadows to the Carson Range at the top of the trail are well worth it. An added bonus is the occasional observation of wild horses that call the area home. Another nice thing about the Hidden Valley trail is, due to its western exposure, while other trails in the area can be snowed in longer, the sun tends to clear this trail first. Click here for more info.Huffaker Park Lookout Trail
Looking for a less daunting hike, but still want sweeping views of the Truckee Meadows and downtown Reno? This is the hike for you. Starting in south Reno, Huffaker Park Lookout Trail wraps around a pair of hills that jut out of the valley high enough to give you the fresh Sierra air and eye candy your soul needs. This trail climbs approximately 200 feet and gives you a couple options -- a three-quarter-mile or 1.6-mile loop. Interpretive signs along the way give you a rundown of the history of the area. Well-placed picnic tables and benches await to give you a breather and a spot to enjoy a packed lunch above the valley below. Nestled in suburban Reno, the area is a favorite of not only hikers, but joggers and dog walkers as well. Click here for more info.Tahoe Meadows (Mount Rose)
Now we're at higher elevations, so pack accordingly as the temperatures and wind conditions can vary rapidly from the valley floor of downtown Reno. You'll be at an elevation of 8,870 feet (downtown Reno is at 4,505 feet), but the trail itself is fairly moderate. Snowshoes are almost always a must during the winter months and cross-country skis are also suitable. You'll meander through the Tahoe Meadows in a pristine valley above Lake Tahoe with nearby Mount Rose serving as your backdrop. The trail is 1.3 miles long and forms a loop with minimal elevation gain. If you want some fresh mountain air and snow, the Tahoe Meadows loop is the place to be this winter. Click here for more info.
There you have it. A nice handful of trails within a short drive of downtown Reno to enjoy. Depending on the weather, pack extra layers or, during the summer time, bring your hat, sunscreen and plenty of water. That's hiking, Reno-style.