Trail difficulty
Green
Elevation Gain
120.00 ft (36.58 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
14.40 mi (23.17 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 Steamboat Ditch Trail, Caughlin-Skyline Segment, traces a winding route in the hills on Reno's west side between Skyline Blvd and the Caughlin Ranch development, following the course of the seasonal water route.

Reno's Steamboat Ditch was constructed in the 1870's as a way to carry water from the Truckee River to the ranches and agricultural land in the southern part reaches of the city. Today the ditch flows beneath neighborhood streets and through tunnels built to allow the water flow to bypass the roads that make up a much busier city. The hard-packed trail remains open for hikers and cyclists, winding along hillsides and hairpin turns, alternating between open city views and tight areas just a few feet from homes.

Following a gradual grade with the highest portion in Caughlin Ranch and the lowest around Skyline, the trail is generally flat-seeming and good for cyclists looking for nearby trails through the city's hilly west side that avoids much of those hill slopes. The trail is 7.2 miles from one end to the other, however it can easily be modified to create a large loop by using any of the streets it crosses along the way.

While there are many access points where the path crosses city streets, some are easier to access and provide parking while others do not. In the Caughlin Ranch area, there is shoulder parking and easy access at a large visible entrance point on Bitteroot Road. In the Skyline neighborhood, there is ample parking available at Washoe Horsemen's Park (the trail heads across Skyline Blvd, heading up a nondescript driveway immediately across the crosswalk.)

There are a few confusing areas where the route crosses follows driveways that adjacent homeowners have built which aren't signed very well, as well as points where the trail ends and visitors must follow a street for a couple blocks before rejoining it. It is best to have an idea of the route map with you along your hike or ride.

The trail is open to hikers and cyclists, however the route is the ditch access road for the Steamboat Ditch Company with access granted to the public, so please be respectful and keep dogs leashed. 

Aside from a few trash cans, there are no amenities along the route or at the trailheads.

Another portion of the trail west of the Caughlin Ranch development remains open to hikers and cyclists, which stretches out to the unique Hole-In-The-Wall formation.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

City views. Many access points.

Cons

Trail location appears confusing at points.

Pets allowed

Allowed with Restrictions

Trailhead Elevation

4,920.00 ft (1,499.62 m)

Highest point

4,920.00 ft (1,499.62 m)

Features

Family friendly
Big vistas

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Hiking

Route Characteristics

Trail

Location

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California

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