Tubing time

Warm weather fun on the river

Photo/Chad Baker/Jason Reed/Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock

For more information about water fun with Sierra Adventures, visit www.wildsierra.com/water.htm.

When it gets warm in Reno, people flock to the water, and the Truckee River is a great place for plenty of adventure with activities like tubing, rafting and kayaking.

Jim Bell of Sierra Adventures, a company specializing in outdoor fun and rentals in the Reno/Tahoe area, thinks that rafting is the best for families with young children and kayaking is great for families with teens or more athletic families. And as for river tubing, there's more of a party vibe to it because there's a lot of college students, but it's also good for families. These activities also draw crowds from different areas, too.

“River tubing is more popular for locals,” Bell said. “But for people coming into town, rafting is probably our biggest interest as far as tourists go. The kayaking hasn't been that popular these last couple years for some reason.”

Bell said his company typically starts the tubers up at Crissy Caughlin Park for an approximately two-hour float to the downtown Whitewater Park. Rafters have a longer run.

“For the rafting, we go further up river to Mayberry Park, and that's about a seven-mile run,” Bell said. “In spring time, like conditions right now, we sometimes run it all the way up to Verdi to Crystal Peak Park. That's about 13 miles, but as the summer goes on, the water drops so we can only run the Mayberry to the Whitewater Park run.”

Sierra Adventures is busiest from June to August typically, but Bell said the best time to get out on the river for tubing, kayaking or rafting will be in the next month or so because the river is “already up to spring flow.”

Bell also said that some people seem to think that the river flow is much less than it is and has been in the last few years and hopes this won't affect the popularity of these activities and his business.

“There's a lot of misinformation given out every year,” Bell said. “There's a website you can go to, it's dreamflows.com. You can see the river flows. It has a five-year window, a one-year window, and it has a day-to-day graph where you can see where the water's going to be for the whole summer. That's a good way for you to tell.”

He said that river flow was great for these activities last year and is expected to be for the remainder of this year as well.

“Reno is one of the best places to do rafting or tubing or anything like that because in some rivers, they cut back the water—it's based on dam releases,” Bell said. “Reno doesn't have a dam. They have reservoirs, but no dams. So the water flow is constant through the whole summer, so you don't have to stop going. You have a pretty good chance of the water being good all through the summer.”