Oxbow Nature Study Area may be one of the most centrally-located and family-friendly walking areas near downtown Reno. Unlike many of the other trails in the area, Oxbow's trails are generally flat, wide, and a good fit for anyone looking for a quiet and easy stroll away from the noise and traffic of the city.
Lying about a mile from downtown, Oxbow is a tract of wetlands and trees wedged into a space between the railroad and the Truckee River, with homes and apartments lying just beyond both. However, the setting of the river to one side combined with the trees and overhanging brambles lining the trails makes it easy for one to hear the river rapids and the songs from a variety of birds above the din of traffic.
Although not the most scenic environment (many trees have mesh fencing around the bottom to keep from being eaten by the deer who roam the park, and there is some vandalism on the wooden surfaces and signs), Oxbow does offer a few benches along the Truckee River along with several plank walkways and viewing platforms overlooking marshes. There are also several smaller trails splitting off from the primary 1-mile-long loop trail. Informational signs are posted along the trail, and there is a visitor center that keeps very sporadic hours located in the parking lot.
City ordinances apply here, including no dogs or bicycles being allowed in the park. Park hours are from 8 a.m. to sunset, through the parking gate is closed and locked at 4 p.m. from November through May. Picnic benches, bathrooms, and water are available at the parking area.