North Loop Hiking Trail

Washoe Lake State Park

Reno + East Lake Tahoe Area, Nevada

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North Loop Hiking Trail


  • Parking for the North Loop Trail is near a self-pay station in a wide gravel pull out.- North Loop Hiking Trail
  • Shaded outhouses and a horse wash trough are located in the parking area.- North Loop Hiking Trail
  • The trail begins behind a signed trail map. However, hikers should have their own navigation because many trails splinter and fork, and it can be hard to maintain a planned course.- North Loop Hiking Trail
  • The trail begins through brush as it approaches a sand dune.- North Loop Hiking Trail
  • Sand dunes along Washoe Lake. It's scenic, but hard for hiking through.- North Loop Hiking Trail
  • The trail continues in a southeast direction, with the dry Virginia Range in view.- North Loop Hiking Trail
  • Soft sand makes the hiking slow.- North Loop Hiking Trail
  • Unsigned forks like this one make the trail difficult if you are trying to follow a set route. Be prepared with navigation when doing this hike.- North Loop Hiking Trail
  • Approaching the lone mailbox and the fork with the South Loop Trail.- North Loop Hiking Trail
  • A lone mailbox marks the point where the North Loop Trail meets the South Loop Trail.- North Loop Hiking Trail
  • Heading east along the bottom of the North Loop Trail.- North Loop Hiking Trail
  • Some trail forks are marked with seemingly displaced poles such as this.- North Loop Hiking Trail
  • Heading north, the trail approaches houses along the edge of Washoe State Park.- North Loop Hiking Trail
  • Facing Slide Mountain and the west along the North Loop Trail.- North Loop Hiking Trail
  • It is possible to spot wildflowers along the trail during the right season.- North Loop Hiking Trail
Overview + Weather
Wide views.
No shade. Soft sand.
Reno + East Lake Tahoe Area, NV
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Highest point: 
5,115.00 ft (1,559.05 m)
Net Elevation Gain: 
15.00 ft (4.57 m)
Year round: 
Parking Pass: 
Park entrance fee
Permit required: 
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Biking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
3.70 mi (5.95 km)
Total elevation gain: 
45.00 ft (13.72 m)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,097.00 ft (1,553.57 m)
Typically multi-day: 
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

The North Loop Trail is one of three trails along the eastern shore of Washoe Lake inside Washoe Lake State Park. The loop is open to equestrians, who tend to make popular use of this park. Many of the homes along the northern end of this hike also have horses and will bring them into the trail system. Trails are open to mountain bikers too, though the park is less popular for this purpose. Leaving the parking area, the trail quickly splits into a series of unsigned sandy trails. Though there are a few trail maps posted at intersections along the route, there are many confusing unsigned forks, and it is a good idea to plan for this ahead of time. 

Washoe Lake State Park lies between the scenic Sierra and western Nevada's arid Virginia Range, so the flat trail falls between views of either range skirting the basin. The trail itself is sandy and flat, and therefore it is a slow walk. There is also no shade along this hike, so in the warm season, consider hitting this one in the morning or evening hours. 

The bottom edge of this trail overlaps with the upper edge of the South Loop Hiking Trail, and for a lengthier trudge, consider adding that loop to your hike. Though the trail does trace sand dunes, sage brush planes, and grassy areas.

There trailhead has outhouses, a horse wash trough, and trash cans. Hikers are also subject to the park's entry fees, payable at the self-pay station adjacent to the parking area.

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