Reno’s “N”: The letter on the side of the mountain signifies the University of Nevada. Many of the towns throughout Nevada have a letter of their own. Photo by Heather Lara.Two of my friends and I decided to do something that was amazing, yet challenging. We decided to hike to the N. You know, the N that is painted on the side of the mountain that is behind the University of Nevada, Reno and overlooks Reno. I have to admit that it was my idea. One of my friends had been up there before and told me that the view was amazing and I wanted to experience that for myself. So we planned out the day to do it and got prepared. We started from Rancho San Rafael. There are two ways you can get up there. You can start at Rancho San Rafael or the trail can start from the Sports Complex a little bit more north on Virginia Street. The hike from the park takes longer but you get to enjoy the scenery of the trees and the meadows. Armed with water bottles, we began the trek. First mistake, we started in the afternoon. We were already hot and sweaty before we made it out of the park. However, we (meaning I) was determined to do the hike, so we pushed forward. The hike through Rancho San Rafael was not bad. A flat, dirt trail took us from one end of the park to the other. At the end of the park, there is a tunnel that goes under McCarran Boulevard that we went through to get to the other side. From there the trail gets a little bit more complicated. Unless you have hiked to the N before, figuring out which trail to take could be a risk. Luckily for us, our friend who was with us remembered the way to go. One of the neat things we saw during the hike was a large basque statue. Unfortunately it had graffiti on it, but it still brought a sense of history to the Reno area. The further down the trail we got, the more unsteady the road became. Some parts were muddy, others had rocks and the closer to the N that we got, the more uphill the trail went. Our saving grace was water and rather frequent breaks. We reached the N an hour or so after we started. The view was amazing. We could see all of Reno and Sparks. It gave me the feeling as if nothing bad could happen up there. All the problems of the world were down there. It was a completely relaxing, exhausting, perfect moment. Also, for those wondering, the N is made up of a ton of rocks spray painted white. I can't even begin to fathom how long it took to do that. The hike back down went a lot faster but we had to be careful because there were times when the rocks would slide out from under us. But overall, the experience was wonderful. That hike showed us a part of Reno that we never realized was there before. That it could be considered beautiful. Just don't forget the water. View Larger Map