Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space

Regional Parks and Open Space is part of Washoe County's Community Services Department. Our mission is to provide exceptional parks, open space and recreational opportunities while preserving our natural, historical and cultural resources. Washoe County manages over 12,000 areas including over 10,000 acres of open space, 49 parks, an Arboretum, developed trails, trailheads, athletic fields, golf courses, a campground, a shooting facility, an archery facility, a museum, and so much more! If you have a favorite outdoor activity, chances are it can be done in a Washoe County Park! For more information on our parks, view our Park Guide. 

Highlights & Current Events

We're Hiring!Now Hiring

We are hard at work preparing for a great summer, and we are looking for great people to join our team.

Positions include: Seasonal Range Safety Officer, Seasonal Park Aide (Ranger), Seasonal Park Aide (Maintenance), Seasonal Lifeguard, Seasonal Concession Attendant, and Seasonal Recreation Leader.  For more information, or to apply, CLICK HERE.

Volunteers needed to serve on the Open Space and Regional Parks Commission!
parks logo

Click here to download the application
Deadline to Apply: May 31, 2017, 5 p.m.    

We are accepting applications for persons living in the unincorporated portion of Washoe County, Commission District 4, to serve on the Washoe County Open Space and Regional Parks Commission.  District 4 includes Sparks, Spanish Springs and Wadsworth.  Washoe County residents with an interest in the future of the County's open spaces, parks, trails, natural resources, wildlife and recreational opportunities are encouraged to apply.

The Commission acts in an advisory capacity to the Board of County Commissioners.  Examples of items that come before the Commission include district and park master plans; schedule of priorities for acquisition and development of park property; parks budget; and rates and fees for services and facility uses.

Open Space and Regional Parks Commissioners are appointed by the Board of County Commissioners to serve a 4-year term.  The Parks Commission meets monthly, usually at 2:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday.  Members receive no compensation. Contact Joanna Schultz at (775) 823-6500 or jschultz@washoecounty.us.

programs on the porchPrograms on the Porch at Bowers Mansion

Friday evenings
May 19-June 16,
Bowers Mansion Regional Park
4005 Old Highway 395, Washoe Valley

Bring a blanket or chair and enjoy some evenings of live music, Chautauqua performances, and cowboy poetry on the porch of the historic Bower's Mansion! This is a free series, however donations are accepted for the performers. Please leave your furry friends at home as Bowers Mansion is a pet free park. Call (775) 849-1825 with any questions or click here to view the complete 2017 Programs on the Porch lineup.

concertLazy 5 2017 Summer Music Series

Wednesday evenings
June 7-Aug 9, 6:30pm
Lazy 5 Regional Park
7100 Pyramid Way, Spanish Springs

You are invited to get your groove on Wednesday evenings at Lazy 5 Regional Park! For the comfort and enjoyment of all guests, bring blankets or LOW BACK chairs. Dinner or snacks in small coolers are welcome. Please NO PETS or glass containers. This is a free concert series, thanks to several generous sponsors. Call (775) 424-1866 with any questions or click here to view the complete 2017 Summer Music Series lineup.


The Biggest Little Photography Exhibit is at Rancho San Rafaeldino

Open Daily 8:00am-5:00pm
Rancho San Rafael Visitor Center
(located next to the park ranger office)
1595 N. Sierra Street, Reno

As an 8-year-old, Thomas, read about a professional photographer who had taken photographs of a minifigure for a year; inspired, he recently completed a book of his photographs - including many spots in Washoe County parks! These photographs are currently displayed on the walls of our Visitor Center for all to enjoy!

Want to try your hand at minifigure photography? Find your favorite figure, find a great location (we are partial to parks and the great outdoors), and snap away! Want to share your photos? Send them to Park Ranger Marie Fong at mfong@washoecounty.us or tag Rancho San Rafael Regional Park on Facebook!

2017 Mini BioBlitz Series with Truckee Meadows Parks FoundationTMPF logo

Saturday, June 17 - Hidden Valley Regional Park
Saturday, September 9 - Bartley Ranch Regional Park
Sessions start at 9:00am and end at 1:00pm

Experts specializing in insects, birds, plants, mammals, and reptiles will explore the parks with the goal of identifying as many species as possible, and they need your help! Researchers will lead groups of community volunteers (you) through each designated park to help collect data and gain a better understanding of biodiversity in the Truckee Meadows.

The BioBlitz is FREE and open to ALL ages. For more info and directions, email Haley, or visit the Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation website.

Programming at the Galena Creek Visitor Centergalena visitor center

Ongoing throughout the year
Galena Creek Regional Park
18250 Mt. Rose Hwy, Reno

The Galena Creek Visitor Center is a partnership between Washoe County, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Great Basin Institute. The goal of the visitor center is to encourage understanding, appreciation and appropriate use of the natural, cultural and historic resources of the Galena Canyon area and the Mount Rose Scenic Byway. Check their website often or call 775-849-4948 for a listing of upcoming events including weekly guided hikes, monthly toddler time, and special Sunday morning programming. 


Washoe County Warns of Poison Hemlock and other Noxious Weeds

As summer weather brings out more people exploring parks and trails, it also brings some blooming native plants that should be avoided. Poison Hemlock is one such plant which has grown abnormally tall this season due to the unusually heavy precipitation this year. Park visitors cannot be poisoned by the fumes, but the plant is poisonous upon ingestion. Please click the link here for more information on Poison Hemlock and other noxious weeds, view tips on how to keep yourself and your pet safe, and learn more about how Washoe County is addressing the problem.

Temporary Closures at Betsy Caughlin Donnely Park

Please note that the Betsy Caughlin Donnely Park pastures are closed to public entry until further notice due to agricultural activities. If you are looking for a place to play with your furry friends, we recommend checking out the Link Piazzo Dog Park located within Hidden Valley Regional Park or visit our Dog Parks page for a listing of alternative locations.

Flood Damage Update

Swan Lake Nature Study Area has been severely impacted and is expected to remain closed indefinitely. Lockwood Park is accessible for fishing, but the trails remain in bad condition. Please respect all closure signs and continue to use caution on all Washoe County Park trails and lands that have been impacted by water damage, including potentially unstable river/creek banks, etc. Efforts are underway to assess and repair damages.

Junior Ranger Activity Guides are now available!

Looking for engaging, park-based activities to do with your children? Our Junior Ranger Activity Guides are now available! Download the guide or pick up a copy at your local park office. This free program can be done at your own pace, is flexible enough to appeal to a large age range, and can be completed at any combination of Washoe County parks. Visit our Become a Junior Ranger page for complete details.

May Arboretum Fencing Project at Rancho San Rafael Park nears completion

The ongoing projects to fully fence the Wilbur D. May Arboretum at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park is nearly complete. The fence will protect, preserve and conserve the arboretum's cultural history and secure its 4,000 trees, shrubs and plants, water features, natural wetlands, and 98 gardens. The arboretum will remain open during regular park hours. Funding for the project was provided by a generous donation from the May Foundation and an anonymous donor.

Also stay tuned for more information on the greenhouse beginning construction near the corner of Sierra Street and North McCarran!

Bridge Construction over Whites Creek

Attention Trail Users: During construction of a new bridge over Whites Creek, there will be a temporary trail closure along Whites Creek Trail to ensure trail user safety.  The closure is between Chartreuse Court and Mountain Ranch Road, roughly ½ mile.  Trail users will be directed to use Paris Avenue as a detour. View a map of the trail closure and detour. Construction should be completed in early winter and signs/fencing will be removed once it is safe to have the trail re-opened.  If you have questions/concerns, please contact Cheryl Surface at (775) 328-2039. Thank you for your patience. 

Updated Truckee Meadows Trails Guides are now availabletrails, washoe county, list

Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space is excited to present then new Truckee Meadows Trail Guide featuring two additional trails: Ballardini Ranch Trail system and the Sugarloaf Trail. The 66-page guide features a variety of photos taken from various trails in the area, maps and a brief synopsis describing what each trail has to offer hikers. The guides can be downloaded here, or picked up at local bike shops, visitor centers, Scheels and Cabela's as well as Washoe County, City of Reno, and City of Sparks owned buildings. For complete details, view the press release.

Click here for Washoe County Parks facebook page Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space is on Facebook!