WHAT TO EXPECT Located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada west of Reno, the town of Verdi (VUR-dye) is surrounded by a variety of habitats including riparian, meadow, aspen, pine forest, and upland shrub. Although considerable development has occurred here, Verdi still offers plenty of opportunities to view and enjoy wildlife.
Best time of year: April through October
Notable species: Spotted Towhee, Mountain Chickadee, Steller's Jay, woodpeckers, and sapsuckers are readily seen. Golden-crowned Sparrow may occur in winter. Watch for Mountain and Western Bluebirds in open, brushy areas and for migrating songbirds in riparian areas. American Dipper is possible along the Truckee River.
HOW TO GET THERE From the I-80 & US 395 interchange, travel approximately 10 miles west on I-80 to Exit 5 East Verdi. Follow the road to Verdi. From I-80 Exit 5 East Verdi, travel 2.5 miles on 3rd Street (unsigned) to Bridge Street.
POPULAR BIRDING ROUTE Turn right (north) on Bridge Street. Check the trees around the fire station on the left for woodpeckers and migrating songbirds. The entrance and parking for Verdi Nature Trail is at 0.2 mile on the right just past Verdi Elementary School. (Side Trip A) Proceed 0.2 mile past the school to the first bridge. Parking is available only on the right shoulder. The Truckee River can be accessed by a rough trail beginning on the right near a rock bearing a plaque commemorating Crystal Peak Toll Bridge. The trail follows the south bank of the Truckee River along the northern edge of a golf course. Birding is also good on the bridge and on foot for the next 0.7 mile along Bridge Street.
From the bridge, drive the short distance to Dog Valley Road and turn right (northwest). Check the old cemetery on the right on Dog Valley Road at 0.2 mile after the turn. At 0.7 mile (Side Trip B) turn left onto the dirt road heading southeast, an extension of Hill Lane (unsigned). Bird along this road for 0.6 mile to the intersection with Sylvan Circle. Bear right (south) and continue 1.0 mile to the end of Hill Lane, watching for Mountain Bluebird on the right.
Turn left onto Trelease Road for 0.1 mile to the main road, 3rd Street. Turn left (north) onto 3rd Street and proceed 0.5 mile to the Truckee River. Cross the river and turn right into the entrance to Crystal Peak Park (restrooms). After leaving Crystal Peak Park, turn right (northeast) on 3rd Street and continue to retrace your route 2.8 miles to I-80 to return to Reno.
OPTIONAL SIDE TRIPS Side Trip A Verdi Nature Trail: This 0.5-mile loop trail provides good birding. The trail begins in upland shrub, goes through pine forest edge, then into open meadow, and back to upland shrub.
Side Trip B Toiyabe National Forest: Continue on Dog Valley Road into the Toiyabe National Forest. The pavement ends at 1.0 mile from the intersection of Bridge Street and Dog Valley Road and becomes Sierra County Route 860. This dirt road continues approximately 7 miles to Stampede Reservoir.