Some easy trails in the sun in south Washoe Valley

A gazebo overlooks Washoe Valley at the top of Deadman’s Overlook Trail. (Photo: Kyler Klix/Nevada Appeal)

A gazebo overlooks Washoe Valley at the top of Deadman’s Overlook Trail. (Photo: Kyler Klix/Nevada Appeal)

The east side of Washoe Lake features different sections of Washoe Lake State Park with several different trails. The southern end is home to a few popular trails: The Washoe Wildlife Loop and Deadman’s Overlook Trail. Both trails are easy. The wildlife loop is mostly flat with 53 feet of elevation gain, while the overlook trail gradually takes you up 300 feet above Washoe Valley.
Both trails are on Eastlake Boulevard.
This area is completely exposed to the sun. There isn’t much shade along both hikes. You can usually hike them year-round, unless there is too much snow right after a storm. In the summer it will get hot, so it’d probably be best to hike in the morning when it’s cooler and beware of rattlesnakes in the heat.
Washoe Wildlife Loop
This loop is a popular place for birdwatching and to view wild horses. It’s an easy 1.1-mile loop that takes you around the marshy areas, perfect for bird habitat. You can also find other paths to make it a longer walk too. From the parking area, you head along the path and you see an observation deck immediately less than a quarter of a mile away.
This platform gives you an elevated view and there’s a few benches. There are a few places for information signs, but most have been removed.
From the deck, you can go right or left. It’s a short stroll around. There are no signs when you get to the intersections, so keep track of where you should be going.
Deadman’s Overlook Trail
This trail is a step up from easy, but the gradual elevation gain makes it capable for anyone to hike this 1.2 miles round-trip. It goes all the way to the brown gazebo that you can see from the parking lot. The gazebo is a nice, shaded place to rest and take in the view of Washoe Valley.
Just beyond the parking area are information kiosks. There you can find a description of all the birds and plants you might come across on your short journey.
The beginning of this trail follows a ditch with lots of vegetation. There are some signs marking what species of plants they are, including stinging nettles and wild roses. You can cut back through the thick bushes, or you can stay along the left side.
Once you’re out of that small riparian zone, you can see the path before you climbing to the top. It turns toward the right where there’s a small bench halfway there for people to take a short rest too.
Once you get to the top, your reward is the great view. The view spans across the valley, with all of Washoe Lake with the mountains in the background including Slide Mountain. The gazebo makes the top a very inviting place and worth relaxing for a few minutes.
To get back, you take the same trail you came in on.
Deadman’s Overlook Loop
Just beyond the information kiosks at Deadman’s Overlook Trail, there is a path toward the left — a 1.7-mile loop. This path is flat for about a half mile until it turns toward the right (east). After this turn, it is best to walk along the dirt road. There possibly was a hiking path, you can somewhat of a trail, but it seems to be overgrown and a path less traveled. Follow the road, which adds a little bit more mileage. Once you reach the top of this short incline, the road continues toward the left, but you’ll see a path going down toward the right, that leads back to where you came from.
If you want to make a longer hike out of the area, combine the loop and the overlook trail. Also, with all the dirt roads in the area you can follow them as far as you’d like. The roads lead to higher hills in the area, and they go all over, so do so responsibly.
Always remember to respect nature and other hikers. Leave no trace and take everything you brought in back with you.
Kyler Klix is a designer for Nevada News Group. He also writes about the outdoors and entertainment. Email him at kklix@nevadanewsgroup.com.


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