Explore Nevada: The Trails of Thomas Creek
Galena Foothills – Thomas Creek
There is a time in every families history where everyone has to pack up and face the wild. Therefore we found ourselves losing the comfort of a rental in Pleasant Valley, around 2010, that provided for son and birth of daughter. Due to the sudden nature of move and pregnant with another we did not have a lot of money for a new rental.
Stress mounted as we searched high and low and found only small two bedroom apartments in not very nice areas around the city of Reno, Nevada.
A whole generation of Northern Nevadans are raised near the foothills of Mt. Rose in Galena. Generations owned homes nestled in sagebrush only a stones throw from pine. First, during the height of our worry, we found an ad for a rental in the foothill region close to what we were prepared to pay.
Second, the owner, who knew most families from the region, showed interest in lowering rent based on income. The home, a small three bedroom worn to bone, stood walking distance from In Laws and Thomas Creek Trailhead Galena Nevada.
Galena, a collection of housing developments, started as a mining property in 1860. First after the discovery of silver in the Eastern Sierra Nevada’s lumber from Mount Rose brought profit to the region. Second by 1862 the Galena area became an important lumber center. Therefore by 1863 a sawmill started operations in Galena.
Due to the new sawmill the towns streets became the height of commercial activity. According to Stanley W. Paher in “Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps” Galena overflowed with lumberjacks, millers, bullwhackers and teamsters.
Living in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada’s in Galena was not all fun and games. Intense winters, coyotes, difficult dirt roads, and severe weather made the stay not only challenging for the workers of the 1860’s but to our family.
Yet, with support of In Laws a walk away, we survived a third child and saved up enough money to buy a home in Washoe Valley the following year.
Humboldt National Forest – Thomas Creek
When not working, and feeling up to a journey, we would throw dog and kids into our Explorer and head up a few miles to the foot of mountains where Humboldt National Forest Land begins.
Within this forest lies Thomas Creek Campground and Trailhead. Children are raised on these trails where Grandma would bring five dogs to run through trees. Grandpa would put on his running shoes and run the trails into the mountains every morning.
Upper Thomas Creek Trail is a 14.7 mile well used out and back trail that offers a moderate hike near a river. Children and dogs both climb on boulders that create pools large enough to swim. During each hike a decent amount of time is spent soaking feet in the river.
Due to heavy traffic of horseback riders and mountain bikes the solitude of whispering aspen groves are broken by friendly greetings.
Even on the most crowded of Saturdays there still is nothing that compares to the peace and solitude found within old pine forest as you walk slowly on trails from one Aspen grove to next.
II Thomas Creek Trailhead
Every autumn the family would trek up to the Thomas Creek Trailhead to search for perfect fall leaves to decorate our home and every spring we would search for fields of mountain flowers.
Humboldt National Forest is located in Northern, our neck of the woods, and Eastern Nevada. First this forest does not resemble other National forests due to the large area of land scattered across most of Nevada and Eastern California. Second Humboldt moves from areas of snow capped peaks, like Mount Rose, to the sage steppes of Nevada’s deserts.
The wide range of land holds an amazing diversity of habitat’s from wide open deserts, to Ponderosa Pine forest, or Alpine Tundra. Therefore this forest lies in Elko, White Pine, Humboldt, Nye, and Lincoln counties and covers about 43.5% of total area listed above.
Humboldt National Forest Ranger District Offices are located in Ely, Elko, Wells, and Winnemucca Nevada.
The trails at Thomas Creek examine what Northern Nevada’s Humboldt National Forest Land offers: A wide variety of hiking that can be explored everyday throughout ones lifetime.
Foothills of Mount Rose
Many romantic encounters occur looking out over the lights of Reno from the summit of Mount Rose. A quick half hour drive from the city and a couple can enjoy the company of their significant other as they absorb the scenic evening.
Mount Rose, the tallest mountain in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, peers down upon Reno Nevada and shares its daily majesty. The mountain is a part of Reno’s yearly rituals whether hiking in summer or skiing in winter.
Trails of Thomas Creek take hikers deep into Mount Rose Wilderness and eventually bring hikers to the Mount Rose Summit. Miles of trails lead up onto the mountain. Therefore a family could investigate every mile and still have miles to go as the years pass.
Our home, located in the shade of these mountains, felt the hard weather one experiences when one lives in a sparse sagebrush filled tundra located a short walk below Mount Rose.
Mount Rose is located in the Mount Rose Wilderness east of the California-Nevada border and a part of the Carson Range of the Sierra’s.
First an extinct volcano and the highest point in Washoe County. Second from the top one can see Lake Tahoe, Reno, and the Washoe Valley.
Mount Rose provided the lumber to the Galena Sawmill in the 1800’s and provides hiking and skiing to a new generation of the Galena Community.
Dr. James Edward Church established America’s first high-altitude meteorological observatories, the Mount Rose Observatory in 1905, where he created the science of snow surveying.
Therefore families enjoy the drive up the mountain in winter and spring where the view is always spectacular.
Skiing at Mt. Rose Ski Resort
The chairlift squeaked for a moment as the wind picked up. Washoe Valley could be seen from where the three teens sat on the chair lift. One of the teens teased an other who held tightly due a fear of heights.
A few snow flakes started to fill the sky. The faces of the teens stung as the wind built a light flurry as they rode to the top. Once on top the teens met to ski down to a Slalom Course set up for the days races. Today they would sit and wait for the “go” and push themselves to beat their previous times on the course.
Many Northern Nevadan’s learn to ski and enjoy the sport throughout their lives. Children race on High School Ski Teams like the skiers from the Douglas High School Ski Team from Gardnerville Nevada, my School Team.
Reno’s High School Ski Teams and Teams from neighboring areas compete at Mount Rose Ski Resort.
Mount Rose Ski Resort is located 30 miles south of Reno at the summit of the Mount Rose Highway. Base elevation of the resort is around 8,260 ft. and the summit is 9,700 ft. The resort is around 1,200 acres of great groomed trails and tree skiing opportunities.
Saturday morning’s were always filled with the sounds of ski boot buckles latching and ski pole fights between the youngest of us. These memories of Saturday ski days linger into the week and smiles can still be seen well into Thursday of the following week.
The resort opened in 1953, called the “Reno Ski Bowl,” and opened as the Mount Rose Ski Resort in 1964.
A new lodge, a recent addition, called Winters Creek Lodge can hold 200 indoor guests. This new lodge has a 7,623 square foot deck that can hold up to 400 skiers.
Mount Rose Ski Resort is a local favorite and provides a perfect family meeting environment to gather with fellow Reno residents.
So at Thomas Creek Galena we find great hiking during the hiking months and great skiing at Mt. Rose Ski Resort during winter.
This does not include Lake Tahoe, over the summit, one the biggest clear water lakes on the west coast.
- Wikipedia. 2020. Galena, Washoe County, Nevada.
- Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. www.fs.gov/main/htmnf/about-forest
- Smallwood, Tom. 2016. Mount Rose. The Armchair Mountaineer. 19 PintMedia Lt.