Sunday, January 18, 2015

Icy Hunter Creek Falls near Reno on a warm day in January

Hunter Creek Falls near Reno in winter
So close to Reno in northern Nevada, Hunter Creek Trail from the Michael D. Thompson Trailhead to Hunter Creek Falls is a popular hiking route for people and dogs, any time of the year. In summer, blue bellies watch the hikers and joggers, who climb and pass the many rock outcrops.

It is a five-and-a-half-mile round trip; some say, in unforgiving terrain. But this is not usually the case, unless you are going to hike the trail after lots of rain or during snow melt, when mud or rock avalanches are possible along the steep slopes. Most of the trail is traversing open slope areas. The mostly leveled trail sections make it an enjoyable hike with scenic views of wild ridges—occasionally snow-crusted in winter. 

The final stretch towards the waterfall leads you through dark forest. Finally, after crossing Hunter Creek you will find yourself between high conifers in front of the waterfall. And you will probably not be alone. I wasn't surprised to see so many hikers there around noon on January 18, 2015, a sunny day with temperatures above 60 °F. White water was rushing down the steps of the fall. Snow and ice covered the sides and the wood trunk, which is stubbornly leaning against the middle of the fall channel.

The upper parts of the waterfall are closed. A sign reads “Closed for revegetation. Please help protect and restore sensitive resources in this area. Do not climb to the top of the waterfall and camp at least 200 feet from the creek.” At the east side of the waterfall grove the trail continues on, uphill and deeper into the Mount Rose Wilderness.

The steep slopes of Hunter Creek

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