Steamboat Ditch Trail

Reno + East Lake Tahoe Area, Nevada

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Steamboat Ditch Trail


  • Parking area and trailhead for the Steamboat Ditch Trail.- Steamboat Ditch Trail
  • The early portion of the hike parallels Steamboat Ditch as it flows above a neighborhood.- Steamboat Ditch Trail
  • Free library along the path.- Steamboat Ditch Trail
  • - Steamboat Ditch Trail
  • - Steamboat Ditch Trail
  • Overlooking the Truckee River as it flows toward downtown Reno.- Steamboat Ditch Trail
  • - Steamboat Ditch Trail
  • A riparian arch beside the Steamboat Ditch.- Steamboat Ditch Trail
  • Hole in the Wall, the canal carved through the hill.- Steamboat Ditch Trail
  • The concrete directional arrow pointing eastward atop the hill.- Steamboat Ditch Trail
Overview + Weather
Close to city center. Level grade.
No shade. Some freeway noise.
Reno + East Lake Tahoe Area, NV
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
224.00 ft (68.28 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Biking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
10.00 mi (16.09 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,928.00 ft (1,502.05 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

This trail is a wide, dusty, well-worn double track that parallels Steamboat Ditch, a seasonally-flowing irrigation ditch that carries water from the Truckee River in Verdi to farms and ranches in South Reno. 

The generally flat trail is an ideal jaunt for dog walkers, runners, mountain bikers, and equestrians. Other trail users tend to disappear as you venture further from the trailhead, however, and you may have the path through the dry Sierra foothills to yourself. 

Along the hike there are several areas with panoramic views extending from Verdi Peak to the west, Peavine Peak to the north, and downtown Reno's casino towers on the eastern horizon.

About 4.5 miles in is the Hole-in-the-Wall, a hole carved straight through the hill for the Steamboat Ditch canal. During the dry season it is possible to stand on one side of the hole and see the light at the other end.

From here a brief climb of 225 feet and an additional half mile brings you to the remains of one of the network of old concrete directional arrows that existed to guide postal airplanes across the country in the first commercial use of flight technology in a pre-GPS age. During its use there was a flashing beacon on this hilltop location, though today only the large buckling concrete arrow lying flat on the ground remains.

From here, return the way you came to the trailhead.

Northern Nevada's temperature extremes can make the hike harder; there is almost no shade during the summers, and winters may see the trail covered in ice as it travels along the northern slope of the hills.

Those who would like to cut about 1.5 miles off of the hike can continue past the gravel parking lot and begin their hike at the Michael D. Thompson parking area and trailhead (this is also the trailhead for the Hunter Creek Trail).

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Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(16 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(77 within a 30 mile radius)

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Adventure Community

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