Reno's Urban Oasis

The Oxbow Nature Study Area, on the Truckee River one mile from downtown Reno, is home to a bounty of wildlife.

Reno's Oxbow Nature Study Area

A hummingbird nests on a riverside perch.

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Mention Reno and thoughts turn to neon and slot machines. But for the city’s more enduring attractions, you can’t beat the Oxbow Nature Study Area. Just one mile from downtown, this 30-acre urban nature park is home to wildlife including mule deer, beavers, and coyotes. "The park represents what the Reno area looked like more than 100 years ago," says Adrienne Forbes, Oxbow’s wildlife education coordinator. "It’s an absolutely beautiful, pristine area."

Opened in 1990, the park was developed on the Truckee River around an oxbow—a former river channel that has been sealed off by silt so that it becomes a pond. Today, the water is home to rainbow trout, tadpoles, frogs, turtles, and snakes. During the annual fall migration in September and October, more than 100 species of birds—including American dippers, ruby-crowned kinglets, red-shafted flickers, and green herons—stop by.

The park features a one-third-mile interpretive nature trail, a visitor center, and a two-story observation tower. Hands-on aquatic and wildlife education programs, as well as bird-watching opportunities, are available for groups; book these in advance. information: (775) 334-3808.

Photography by Tim Stach

This article was first published in March 2006. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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