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Winters Ranch Overlook Hike

By Ron.

We recently discovered a new trail to explore in the valley and would like to share it with your readers. This trail appears to be a “new” fire road that connects the northwest side of the valley with the Mount Rose Highway just downhill of the old Reindeer Lodge. While the road is now gated, it may be open to vehicles in the summer. It offers outstanding views of the valley, Washoe City and Pleasant Valley. Along the route one can also see all the “fuels reduction’ work that has gone on recently to reduce fire danger in our beautiful forests on the west side. It looks like most if not all of this trail is on Forest Service property.

Directions: The trailhead is .7 miles north of the entrance to Davis Creek Park on the west side access road to I-580 just past the NDOT maintenance yard. There is a locked gate on the road but there is also a sign that says “Foot Traffic Welcome”. How they imagined we are supposed to do that is up to your imagination. There is no access around the gate which connects barb-wire fencing on either side. Access to the trail is gained by clamoring over the gate and you can see that the gate has suffered already. We have seen other trailheads that employ a kind of “jog-entry” that accommodates horses, hikers and bicycles but not vehicles. Hopefully they will add this feature but for now access is limited to the limber with a dog small enough to lift over or squeeze through the gate bars.

Trail Description: The trail winds upward through open country for about a mile before entering a treed bench area. Since the forest has been cleared of excessive trees and underbrush (ladder fuels, in defensible space lingo) the appearance is quite “park-like” and pleasant. In the long view, there are stunning views southward across the valley of our verdant pastures and shimmering lake. To the west is the foothills and mountains of the Carson Range in a new, dramatic relief. Off to the north can be seen a bird’s eye view of historic Washoe City and Pleasant Valley in the distance. We stopped at the two mile mark but the road continues on for several more miles before connection with the Mount Rose Highway. This would be a great loop trail for mountain bikers and a point-to-point trail for hikers and equestrians when the gates are open. As with most hikes in our area, plan on packing water for dogs as it is dry.


  1. Amy Casey says:

    We hiked up there today with the dogs. We encountered a small herd of deer (5-6) up the hill. Not as steep as the Hobart trail, but we climbed over 1000 feet in elevation hiking slowly for an hour and a quarter. Definitely not a summer day hike as the shade is limited. Not sure where that treed bench area is. We somehow missed that, but there are plenty of stumps, rocks and logs to stop for a rest along the way. We plan to return another day to explore further. Thanks for posting the info!

  2. admin says:

    Glad you enjoyed it! A bench is long and narrow so maybe the place I described is really a “point” in geography.

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