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Spring in the Sierra: Crystal Peak Park

Crystal Peak Park comes alive as temperatures rise.

Ponderosa and Jeffrey pines in Crystal Peak Park.

Courtesy Washoe County

With Sierra snowmelt swelling the Truckee River and plants and animals stirring, spring is the ideal time to head west of Reno to Crystal Peak Park, a 51-acre preserve in Verdi, Nevada. More than 150 years ago, the old lumber town was a humming crossroads where the new transcontinental railroad met the California Trail. Now, it’s a peaceful spot to appreciate the region's history and natural beauty.

Grab a pastrami sandwich at Outlaw Coffee Shop; then, armed with a fishing permit, drop a line into the park’s Verdi Pond and wait for a Lahontan cutthroat trout to bite. Overhead, a red-tailed hawk might circle, searching for its own lunch while rabbles of young quail may scamper by your feet.

The park feels quiet today, but it was once abuzz with activity. Relive the glory days on the half-mile Crystal Peak Park Interpretive Trail. Warm up later at nearby Verdi Local Distillery, where the gin is infused with locally foraged aromatics and the walls bear vintage images of Nevada. You can toast the past while drinking in the spirit of the present.