Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trails: Steamboat Ditch Trail

A few months ago, I posted a guide to Keystone Canyon and Evans Creek Canyon trails. This is another entry in what I hope will be a continuing series of trails around the area.

The Steamboat Ditch Trail is a classic Reno trail in the west part of town. Unlike the trails out of Rancho San Rafael, the "Ditch trail" is almost dead flat. This is because it runs alongside an irrigation canal that was engineered to take flowing water along the path with the least gradient possible. The section of the ditch trail I'll cover here - it does continue on, with breaks, throughout town - is at right about 4600 feet elevation.

To get to the trailhead, you'll need to find your way to Mayberry Drive in west Reno. Whether you are heading west, coming from McCarran or East, coming from 4th Street, you'll turn south on Plateau Road. This winds uphill for a ways, with only a few side streets leading off, until you reach a right onto Woodchuck Circle.

Taking this right, you'll find a small parking area - and depending on the time of day and day of the week, a few cars already lined up there.

The beginning of this section of the trail is pretty obvious. There's the parking area, some signage, the ditch (with differing amounts of water depending on the season), and...

The trail.

For the first two thirds of a mile, the trail winds past the backyards of some pretty impressive homes. It can feel a little intrusive to be here, but please respect people's privacy and this section goes by quickly.

Before long, the trail passes out of the neighborhood and into National Forest land. Now, because of the meandering nature of the ditch and the trail, it seems like you're always either entering or leaving National Forest of City of Reno land or something. You get used to seeing these signs and ignore them after a while.

The trail dips into gullies and ravines, then heads back out to crest around the shoulders of hills. Here's the trail heading out of a ravine, back into the morning sun.

Just some photos of the scenery here -

At one point, you come around a bend to see an industrial area spread out in front of you. The large building at the top center is the Patagonia warehouse.

There is another access trail heading up from near the Patagonia warehouse - it's pretty steep, and I haven't gone in that way in a while. Here's where it meets up with the Ditch trail, though -

At just under four and a half miles from the trailhead comes the turnaround point. Here the trail leads off to the left and dead ends at a hole in the side of the hill, out of which rushes the water that flows in the ditch. (In the spring, anyway. Tends to taper to a trickle in the fall.)

You can get pretty close in to this, but be careful - footing is precarious. And it wouldn't be fun to do those four and a half miles back in wet shoes.

The trail does continue from here - off to the right or straight up a hill, as you approach from the east. It no longer parallels the ditch, though - although it may meet back up with it at some point; I haven't been out past this.

From here, you can retrace your steps back to the trailhead. If you were out as early as I was on this day, you may actually see some other people venturing out on the trail at this point.

So there's another one of Reno's favorite running trails. A nice, easy one, with no hills at all - and an out and back, so you can bite off as much of it as you want to. Enjoy it!


Anonymous said...

I rode my bike on this trail last Sunday to the Hole in the Wall. It has the prettiest views of the valley in Reno that I have ever seen, especially when the trees are turning colors in October!

Anonymous said...

This is not a trail. It is the Steamboat Canal maintenance road. You are illegally trespassing on people's property.

Anonymous said...

That's funny anonymous, March 2013 ... since it is clearly marked as a trail ,with official signage denoting it as such. Also since it meanders through forest service land, it is available for the public to use unless it is bermed or guarded.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous March 2013 is upset because when he moved here from Californication, his realtor tricked him into thinking he could stop generations of Nevadans from walking along the ditch just by building an ugly semi-custom home with a swimming pool.

Anonymous said...

gotta love these comments... funny.

Bradford Grimm said...

Anyone see milkweed plants/flowers crowing along the ditch trail? I'll head out there soon and let you know.

Someone told me there is milkweed growing along the ditch. I expect that means I can see monarch butterflies. I love those butterflies!

bradgrimm said...

Yup. There is milkweed there just as I expected. I went walking on this trail (good directions by the way). On August 8th 2014 I saw a monarch butterfly egg under a leaf. I don't think I can include a photo here but my Instagram has it at @growmilkweed

3Seven said...

Thank you for posting this great run! I did it this morning. I'm visiting Reno for the first time and planning to do the Keystone Canyon run tomorrow.

Andrew Evans said...

I just ran this trail today and wow! It was intense even if it is flat. I enjoyed it though

Anonymous said...

Kudos to the person who posted these very complete description and accurate photos of this trail. It is more of a walk than a hike, so I'm sure perfect for runners. Walkers enjoy it! Very pleasant walk close in NW Reno.

Anonymous said...

Past the Hole-in-the-Wall, the trail does continue, albeit much more steeply so. When it forks off at the Hole-in-the-Wall, you can take the left side up a steep hill. Once you crest the hill, you will be at a four-way intersection overlooking Mogul. By heading straight, it will head back down again, and, taking the right when it forks again, will meet up with the Steamboat Ditch once again on the other side of the Hole-in-the-Wall and continue following it for a while.

N said...

Can't we just keep these posts pleasant? It's nice for people to be able to share their information or experiences without worrying about being belittled.

Anonymous said...

2017.. We tried this trail today and it was very pleasant. Lots of walkers, runners, bikers, and dogs. Very good beginners trail! Now to find more.