Sparks Marina Park is one of the biggest and most well-known parks in Sparks, Nevada. The park provides a wide variety of recreational opportunities to residents of Sparks and the entire Truckee Meadows region. The centerpiece of the park is the 77 acre Sparks Marina Lake, providing one of the best public swimming holes in the area during the hot summer months. The entire park is 81 acres.
Day Use Activities
Sparks Marina Park offers residents and visitors alike with many recreation facilities. Whether you want to host a big family picnic or birthday party, take the kids swimming, visit the dog park with Bowser, stroll the path around the lake, or just relax on the grass, you can do these and more at Sparks Marina Park. Facilities available at the park:
- Two beaches
- Picnic areas
- Public fishing pier
- Two-mile walking path around the lake
- Two volleyball courts
- Two playgrounds
- Concession stand (summer only)
- Restrooms and showers
- Shade canopies
- Dog park
For information about renting a group day-use area, call Sparks Parks and Recreation at (775) 353-2376.
Other popular activities at Sparks Marina Park include scuba diving and boating (only electric motors are allowed). You must have a Nevada license to fish. Fishing is prohibited in swimming areas and the daily possession limit is three.
Sparks Marina Park is the site for several special events in Sparks. The combination of land facilities and Sparks Marina Lake makes the park an ideal setting for community activities. Events held at Sparks Marina Park include:
- Kids Free Fishing Day—late spring
- Mark Wellman's Adventure Day—June
- Scheels Kids Triathlon—July
- Scheels Turkey Trot—Thanksgiving Day
Other special events have included sand volleyball tournaments and wakeboarding competitions.
Getting to the Park
The parking area and main facilities at Sparks Marina Park are located at 300 Howard Drive in Sparks, Nevada. The park and lake are on the north side of Interstate 80 and between N. McCarran Boulevard on the west and the big Scheels store in The Legends shopping center on the east. The easiest way to reach the parking lot is from N. McCarran on either Nichols Boulevard or East Lincoln Way.
About Sparks Marina Lake
The hole in the ground that holds Sparks Marina Lake used to be an industrial area known as Helms gravel pit. Over the years, enough tons of rock were scooped from the pit for road construction projects that it became about 100 feet deep.
Plans to turn the area into a park with a modest lake were in the works when the big Truckee River flood of 1997 hit. Literally, overnight, the Helms pit filled with around a billion gallons of water, creating Sparks Marina Lake.
An underground spring constantly adds an estimated 2 million gallons a day to the lake, so the excess is discharged into the Truckee River in order to maintain the lake level. This keeps the lake fresh and clean for recreational use. For more on the history of the Helms pit, refer to The Gravel Pit That Became a Lake by Rich Moreno.