Friday, February 17, 2017

Evans Creek and Evans Canyon Trail

Evans Canyon north of the Basque Sheepherder Monument at Rancho San Rafael, Reno, Nevada

Rancho San Rafael Regional Park extends up into the Peavine area, featuring a multi-use trail network north of Reno, Nevada. The north-south stretching Evans Canyon separates the neighborhoods west of North Virginia Street from the Peavine open-space hills, including the one with UNR's letter “N” on its southeast-facing slope.

Evans Canyon Trail is a popular running, hiking and mountain biking trail. Its south end can be accessed from the free parking area at the Reno Sports Complex—northwest of the N. McCarran Blvd./N. Virginia St. intersection. Follow the short trail that traverses the disc golf field and leads to the Basque Sheepherder Monument. Continue downhill to the creek and grove with a Nature Trail. There, a small panel introduces Evans Creek:

Evans Creek probably began to form about three million years ago by erosion of a small stream as Peavine Mountain uplifted along with the Sierra Nevada.

Most of the erosion in the canyon probably occurred during the Ice Ages, when precipitation was greater than at present. Periodic floods caused most of the erosion in the canyon and deposited the gravels in the streambed. 

Although Evens Creek is now covered with heavy vegetation, a future flood could wash away the streambed and the plants. New vegetation would repopulate the streambed, continuing a cycle millions of years old.

The trail downhill from the Basque Sheepherder Monument can get flooded.

Erosion is going on. The winter of  2016/2017 brought more precipitation than recent winters. The temporary streambed seen in the picture above functions as a dry trail most times of the year.

Evans Canyon Trail follows Evens Creek on its left bank for about half a mile. Then, the trail crosses the creek and continues to the H-junction—a cross-creek connection with the Miners Trail. This would be your point of creek crossing, if your plan is to do the Evans Creek Miners Loop bringing you back to the grove. Otherwise, you want to continue on the right side of the creek. Evans Canyon Trail ends where concrete stairs lead up to the Vista Rafael Parkway. But you do not need to return the way you came. Take the U-turn trail below the parkway to get to the Miners Trail and the Upper Evans Trail. The Miner's Trail takes you back to the Evans Creek Miners Loop—the Evans Canyon Loop shown in the map below. It is the nature of a trail network that you can enjoy multiple loop options.

The “You Are Here” point in the map is the trail intersection just north of the grove with the Nature Trail. The trail access information on the board posted at the intersection gives the following trail lengths:
  • Nature Trail: 1.1 mi
  • Evans Creek Trail: 0.7 mi
  • Evans Canyon Loop: 1.5 mi
You will find the names “Evans Creek” and “Evans Canyon”  being variously mixed into “Loop” and “Trail” phrases, depending on trail markers, maps and web sites you read. If in doubt which way to take, orientate yourself by the creek and you won't get trapped in the canyon.

Keywords: Reno, Washoe County, northern Nevada, recreation, outdoors, trail network.

Nearby trails and points of interest:

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