Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
775.00 ft (236.22 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
5.70 mi (9.17 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Lower Thomas Creek Trail parallels the creek as it flows between the Thomas Creek Trailhead at Timberline Drive and Arrowcreek Parkway.

The trail is an out-and-back, covers about 2.8 miles in each direction, and gains about 725 feet in elevation between the two trailheads. While there is parking at either trailhead, it's recommended to start at the Arrowcreek Park Trailhead to have the downhill portion at the end of the hike.

The hike itself traces the landscape alongside the creek, mostly dry sage-covered hills nestled between the sparse Galena housing developments to the south and the Arrowcreek luxury homes and golf course to the north. A creek crossing on a small plank bridge occurs about halfway, with most of the trail below the crossing being stoney, somewhat technical and enclosed by riparian growth. The trail above the stream crossing opens up on the rolling hillside, with views of South Reno plentiful and a wide meandering route that is a little bit more appealing to the mountain bikers who frequent the route.

The trail is a gradual slope throughout, with either a constant incline or decline over the entire length, depending on your direction. You'll likely pass a good number of people using the trail including some on horseback, but the vast open space surrounding it makes you feel pretty distant from everyone and everything otherwise. As the trail nears the Thomas Creek Trailhead, the sagebrush is replaced by pine trees and the trail can be muddy or snowy much later than at its lower elevations.

There are a few parking spots on the shoulder of Arrowcreek Parkway just before the security gate, otherwise there are a handful of spots inside Arrowcreek Park. However, the park gate remains closed and locked from 5pm-9pm nightly. There are trash cans, covered picnic benches and water at Arrowcreek Park. 

The Thomas Creek Trailhead is open 24 hours, with a few dirt parking spots immediately beside the trailhead, and a sizable parking lot and vault toilet about 200 yards further down Timberline Drive.

Summer hikers be aware that there is almost no shade for the majority of the hike.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Not Required

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Beautiful views. Solitude.

Cons

Surrounding housing development. Trail can be muddy.

Trailhead Elevation

5,215.00 ft (1,589.53 m)

Highest point

5,945.00 ft (1,812.04 m)

Features

Wildlife
Horseback riding
Big vistas
Family friendly
Potable water

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Biking
Horseback

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Comments

Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.

You May Also Enjoy