What happens when a golf course shuts down?
Well apparently, it can make for beautiful hiking trails.
The Northgate Golf Course in a sprawling residential northwest suburb of Reno, Nevada closed down during the "Great Recession" in 2009. While many golf courses during this time were able to squeeze through and get by, some hit the chopping block. Northgate was one of them.
This golf course, set among brushy high-desert chaparral, in the foothills on the edge of town, had a hidden gem; . . . views.
After 10 years, the natural desert landscape has slowly reconquered it's previous domain, and all that is left is a clubhouse and paths. In fact, the paths, both paved, and unpaved, have been kept in good condition, from all the human activity of hiking, walking, jogging and biking. Currently the entire course is slated for use as a new public park in the future.1.
Recently, on New Year's Eve, we walked into the course, to explore. We were doing our family tradition of catching the last sunset of the year. We could vaguely see evidence of knolls, putting areas and sand pits. Yet it was almost fully engulfed in the surrounding wilderness, and the local vegetation, and even animals scurried by.
What we were not expecting was incredible views of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range, and its surrounding valleys in an area known as the Truckee Meadows. On top of that, we caught the sunset, with a gorgeous array of sky colors. Just a 15 minute drive from downtown Reno led us to this beautiful open space that is sure to attract more hikers, mountain bikers, and joggers in the future.
Is there an abandoned golf course near you? Go explore the hidden gem you might be missing.
Mike Cutler is an avid hiker in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. Product tester for Earth Trek Gear, and active blogger, he enjoys the outdoors with his family in Reno, Nevada.