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15 Best Day Trips from Reno, Nevada

Reno is the leading choice of backpackers for quick out-of-town trips. Regardless of whether you are looking for a change of scenery or simply want to try the amazing ski resorts around it, day trips from Reno are a perfect choice. Known as the ‘Biggest Little City,’ it is home to over 500,000 individuals who have created one of the greatest party scenes in the United States.

Your day trip to Reno is not complete without checking these highly recommended 15 best day trips from Reno. Downtown Reno is an entertainment hub, where guests can find casinos with spectacular bars and restaurants.

Strategically situated in Nevada, next to the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the stunning Lake Tahoe, Reno is ideal for trips away for a day. Aside from its bustling entertainment scene and casinos, you will discover a lot of great options here.

Best Day Trips from Reno, Nevada

Are you planning a quick getaway soon? Let’s check out the best day trips from Reno by going through some of the top recommendations below.

1. The Lake Tahoe

man kayaking at the Lake Tahoe
Viator / Viator

Your first pit stop when doing Reno day trips is the Lake Tahoe. It is regarded as one massive freshwater alpine lake and is widely known as the “Jewel of the Sierra Nevada.” It is found near the California-Nevada border. It is also the deepest lake in the state.

It is just a quick drive from Reno. In just 48 minutes you can reach the lake with its infinite outdoor recreation offers. You can see from here the Emerald Bay State Park. Anyone looking to experience the picturesque view must check it out.

If you are hungry, you can check out the Chart House Lake Tahoe where they offer scrumptious meals and delectable seafood dishes. Visitors can enjoy trekking, hiking, and bird-watching here. The list of great outdoor activities doesn’t stop here. There are other iconic locations you can check out nearby.

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2. The Unionville

Tuck in between Lovelock and Winnemucca is a lovely town called Unionville.

Visitors who are looking for tranquil yet spectacular views can delight in the attractions found at Unionville. The town of Unionville is approximately a 2-hour drive from Reno. Despite its peaceful and deserted appearance, the town hides enthralling sights.

For one, you have the Thunder Mountain Monument which is a popular Nevada State Historic Site since 1967. If you love North American Indian sculptures, you will surely see them here where they have lots of monuments around.

The romantic types will surely love the Lovers Lock. It is ideal for couples who want to go on a romantic day trip. You will see lots of love locks here. As a symbol of unwavering affection, couples write down their names on the lock itself and throw away the key. Get your love locks set up here with your loved ones.

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3. The Carson City and the Carson Valley

The next stop is Carson City. It is the capital of Nevada and was founded in 1858. The forefathers including Abraham Curry founded this famed city.

A half-hour drive from Reno, this city offers an old-fashion charm. It is also regarded as the ‘Silver State’ of the country. Here you will discover stunning views and attractions.

Get to appreciate Carson city’s rich history as you venture into the Nevada state museums and the Nevada State Capitol.

Guests who love anything paranormal can do the Carson City Ghost Walk tour. Know more about the fascinating paranormal stories of the West Side Historic District.

Turn south of the city where you will see the very tranquil rural neighbourhood of Carson Valley. Despite the peaceful vibe, things can get interesting fast as you take the adrenaline-pumping glider ride.

If the glider ride is not to your liking, you can check out the tandem jump at the Skydive Lake Tahoe and see the most amazing views at 12,000 feet above! Carson will definitely surprise you and you will never run out of fun activities to do here.

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4. The Ruby Mountains

The Ruby Mountains is a natural treasure trove of picturesque beauty that is found directly in the northeastern portion of the region. It will take you a total of 5 hours as you drive here from Reno.

The mountains offer a perfect setting for your hiking trails, biking, or trekking. Enjoy a leisurely drive with a view and expect a week-long of outdoor activities here.

If you love hiking, you should see the Ruby Crest Trailhead and get a great view of Yosemite without the many visitors around.

Day trips from Reno to California are not complete without the visit to the beaver ponds of Lamoille Canyon Scenic Drive. Enjoy fun-filled fishing activities here with your loved ones. Get to see tigers and brook trout here. The place is also brimming with mountain goats and Himalayan snowcocks.

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5. The Pyramid Lake

tourists canoeing at the Pyramid Lake
Wild Current Canoe Adventure Join a small group / Viator

Road trips from Reno aren’t complete without checking the sprawling 125,000 acres of Pyramid Lake. This attraction offers a once-in-a-lifetime view of the Paiute tribal reserve.

Pyramid Lake is regarded as one of the biggest natural lakes in the country. It affords several opportunities for exploring, picture-taking, and viewing scenic spots. But, before you do make sure you check with their tribal office.

A must-see is the Visitor Center and the Paiute Tribe Museum if you want to learn more about the culture and history of its people and the entire place. After your brush on history, you can cool down and have a picnic as you admire the scenic views at Pyramid Lake.

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6. The Black Rock Desert

horseback riding at Black Rock Desert
Viator / Viator

The claim to fame of Black Rock Desert was when it hosted the Burning Man festival during summer time and it is where the land speed record was broken. It definitely is worth the day trip from Reno.

This tourist spot offers a massive flat surface that you cannot find elsewhere in the world. It offers sprawling 200-square miles of craggy ground covered with scrubs and sagebrushes.

It’s simply breathtaking to view its horizon, however, visitors take the large open space as a perfect opportunity for hiking and biking during the day, and stargazing at night. This touristy wild west location is a fantastic sand mountain recreation area from dusk ’til dawn.

Complete your reno day trip with a hot springs dip, but be very careful as it can be scorchingly hot. Check out the other places to visit near Reno below.

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7. The Highway 50

loneliest road in highway 50 reno
Downtown Reno Tour / Viator

The trip to the old west often entails hours of long drive ahead. Highway 50 offers a long and winding trip to a great 3,000 mile route. The Highway 50 is often known as the ‘Loneliest Road’ in the entire America. This location merits short weekend trips from Reno and is an old-fashioned charm to many travelers.

You will come across beautiful spots to stop by to help do away with the tediousness of the drive, and you can get to see wild mustangs along the highway too.

If you love pondering and long drives, the open roads and the deserted stretch of the loneliest roads offer you all these and more on Highway 50!

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8. The Eldorado National Forest

trees and mountains at Eldorado National Forest
Viator / Viator

Another popular place to visit near Reno is El Dorado National Forest. Open year-round and simply across the border to California, you will see national forests and unusual attractions here.

In El Dorado, you will find the largest flat surfaces, steep incline, desert plains, and more. Many hiking trails abound in the area where you will see lots of pine trees and breathtaking views of the spectacular Sierra Nevada mountain range. Hikers delight in its fresh air, and steep terrains, and so you should come prepared with the right gear and clothing.

Day trips here end up in al fresco picnics and if you’re lucky you can enjoy live music here.

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9. The Sand Mountain

A couple of blocks away from the great Highway 50 is the majestic Sand Mountain Recreation area. Find pristine powder stretching dunes from the Lake Lahontan and get access to several outdoor adventures you would surely enjoy. From hiking to biking, they all have it here – not to mention the famed buggy ride to the dunes!

Stretch your legs from time to time, but ensure you also listen and pay attention to the sands humming a hymn. The sand in this area is known to create a sound as they drift over the dunes, a rare and amazing phenomenon you should catch while at the Sand Mountain.

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10. The Hickison Petroglyphs

One of the greatest views you shouldn’t miss in your day trips from Reno is the Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area.

Over centuries of fascinating history and cultural events happened here. An abstract line drawing can be seen which is thought of as one of the earliest forms of art emblazoned on a rock.

The Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area has hiking trails that go up to the viewpoints of the Nevada mountain range, the Toiyabe Range. Be sure to pack lots of water, cool clothing, and spend some time hiking around to obtain the best possible photos of the majestic and historical area.

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11. The Skiing at Mount Rose

Conveniently situated an hour away from the city center of Reno, you can find the Mount Rose Ski center. It provides varied outdoor activities such as skiing – all open to newbies and advanced skiers.

It is not overly populated, like other great ski resorts, and it provides a majestic and picturesque route for skiers.

Slide Mountain is the location where most of the runs happen, however, the ski resort is named after the great Mount Rose.

Visitors can also do cross-country skiing and snowshoeing here at Mount Rose.

12. The Lunar Crater

Another mind-boggling natural scenic spot that can be had on your day trips from Reno is the Lunar Crater. This landscape offers an out-of-this-world experience.

As the name suggests, the crater consists of 130 meters in depth and was utilized in the 1960s as a training ground for our astronauts bound for Apollo missions to the outer space.

Around the crater can be found other amazing geological finds, like the steep fissures in the earth and lava fields, ash piles, and even extinct volcanoes. If you want something out of the ordinary, the Lunar Crater is a must-try!

13. The Sacramento

Day trips from Reno to California are not complete without heading straight to Sacramento for a quick visit.

There is so much to see and experience in Sacramento. Sacramento has art galleries and museums such as the Railroad Museum. Trips from Reno are enjoyed at the state capital, here you have cultural events happening and great dining options perfect for the entire family.

The city in itself offers a great mining history owing to the Gold Rush period, so history fanatics are in for a treat as they visit Sacramento.

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14. The Steamboat Hot Springs

A quick getaway from Reno includes a visit to the Steamboat Hot Springs. It is a mere 20-minute drive from the town.

A quick road trip here spells a relaxing way to spend your late afternoons as you go with local folks paddling around their hot springs.

The geothermal energy from the springs benefits many lives of people in the northern parts of Nevada state capital.

The northern Nevada gem offers a scenic waterfront and several parks, making it a perfect place to spend your day with.

15. The Virginia City

old city remains at Virginia City
Montana Old West Ghost Towns Private VIP Tour / Viator

Virginia City is an iconic spot. Get a glimpse of the old west here and take that scenic train ride to Carson City.

Visit the Suicide Table and the Prostitution Museum, two of the oddest places to check in this particular day tour.

So, there you have it. With so many places and things to do, but so little time; you have to plan your day trips well to maximize your time and take advantage of all the scenic spots that await you not too far from Reno. Pack your bags and make sure you have the appropriate pieces of clothing and gears with you as you head out and enjoy your day trips from Reno today!

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