featured image Janice Keilor mountain biking on Tunnel Creek Road

Why Move to Nevada? The Best Hiking Trails in the West

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image Janice Keillor HeadshotAs a park and recreation program manager for the Nevada Division of State Parks and administrator of the Recreational Trails Program, Janice Keillor knows the best places to get back to nature. She’s also co-chair of the Eastern Sierra Trails Coalition, a member of the Nevada Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board, and an administrator of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. These diverse roles come with a thorough knowledge of Western Nevada’s varied landscapes and natural resources.

And Janice Keillor also understands how Nevada stacks up against other locations across the West Coast, having lived and worked in Arizona and New Mexico, and boasts a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries from the University of Arizona.

So, why move to Nevada? Read on to get Janice’s full dish on relocating to Nevada and why it’s one of the best places for outdoor activities.

A Way of Life

When it comes to outdoor fun, it’s a way of life for Janice. Before moving to Nevada, she worked for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish as a Conservation Officer and then as a Biologist for the U.S. Forest Service. She’s also volunteered with the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) as a mountain biking coach, which means she understands the importance of multi-use trails.

Living in a place with great access to a variety of outdoor activities proved a must for her. “I decided to move to Carson City because of the high desert, diversity of landscapes, and being able to live where it’s cooler or warmer depending on the season. I love the four seasons. Living in Western Nevada, I liked the diversity of the seasons, landscapes, and close proximity to outdoor recreation.”

Janice also had a family to consider. She wanted to live in a kid-friendly location with ready access to a variety of amenities for her growing family. This included finding a small-town ambiance yet close proximity to excellent schools. Carson City, Nevada, fit the bill perfectly: “It felt progressive, especially after living in rural New Mexico, yet still had a quaint atmosphere. It’s a great place for kids.”

Talking Trails

Discussing Nevada’s parks and trails system, Janice’s voice fills with noticeable pride. Of the recreational trails program, she explains, “This is the only grant program specifically dedicated to constructing and maintaining trails. No other funding source does what this program does. If you’re on a trail in Nevada, there’s a very high chance it was funded, at least in part, by the Recreational Trails Program, which has allowed nonprofits and local governments to build trails in their community.”

Besides the pleasure factor of getting outdoors, Janice points out other benefits of maintaining a great network of trails used by individuals from hikers to bikers, off-roaders to equestrians. “Trails help with economic diversity so that there’s not just one source of tourism base. Our efforts have helped put a lot of communities on the map.”

According to Janice, new trails can bolster a small town’s livelihood. This exposure can lead to tens of thousands of new visitors each season interested in getting back to nature. “For example, Caliente has gotten three grants for bike trails and been given about half a million dollars to build trails. It’s a great way for small towns to become more vibrant again and a resource that translates into a better quality of life and experience for locals and visitors alike.” Fortunately, Nevada offers a gorgeous diversity of landscapes, from high deserts to alpine lakes, that make for stunning trails.

Nevada’s Best Hikes and Bike Trails

image Janice Keillor Mountain Biking on Ash to Kings Trail
Ash to Kings Trail

What are Janice’s favorite hikes? That’s a tough question for someone so invested in the entire system. “I haven’t had a chance to ride all the Caliente trails yet. But my favorite trail would have to be Ash to Kings Trail out of Carson City and the new Tamarack Lake Trail. This trail goes right by Tamarack Lake. Hardly anybody knows this lake even exists because it remains hidden from the road. Interesting features along the trail include a glacial moraine and evidence of historic avalanches. We’re hoping to put up signs to let people know about the geologic history of the area and what to look for in the near future.”

Janice also looks for kid-friendly trails and dog-friendly trails to suit her family. “Some of the projects we’ve funded include Reno’s Sierra Vista Trail with two pump tracks. It’s great for kids and lets them do loops with features and jumps. That means your kids stay entertained in a contained area where they can ride their bikes without going too far.”

As for hiking trails, many involve elevation climbs that can make them a little less attractive to smaller children. But Janice recommends Bartley Ranch’s trail system as it involves three miles-worth of short loops, and families can park at the trailhead. Paved paths like the Tahoe-Pyramid Trail offer another family-friendly option. Connecting Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake, this route is fairly flat and contains many kid-accessible sections.

Why Move to Nevada?

From kid-friendly hikes to dog-friendly hikes, diverse landscapes to four beautiful seasons, Janice knows there are countless answers to the question, “Why move to Nevada?” In fact, Western Nevada proves a true hub for adventure, and provides plenty of opportunities to play in the mountains, rivers, lakes, and desert.

Are you ready to find your why? Contact us today to find out more about relocating to Northern Nevada.

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