Trails & Vistas connects people, art & nature

By Kirstin Guinn


Trails & Vistas Art Hikes
Sept. 12 | Spooner Lake State Park
Sept. 19 | Donner Ski Ranch

World Concert
Sept. 12 | Sand Harbor State Park


“It allows us to do something we have mostly forgotten to do – to recognize nature, honor the earth we live on, and especially to take time to listen to the songs of the Earth.”



[dropcap1]C[/dropcap1]ombining visual and performance art installations along a path through local landscapes, the Trails & Vistas Art Hikes invite attendees to get close, to see with new eyes and to breathe the mountain air more deeply.

The experience is all about fostering connection – to a place, to the earth and to people’s lives.

This year’s hikes will take place at Spooner Lake State Park on Sept. 12 and at Donner Ski Ranch on Sept. 19. Each hike showcases 12 art installations including dance, storytelling, live music and visual art. Each of the 24 collaborating artists relishes in the opportunity to perform directly in nature, creating the art installations specifically for the Trails & Vistas Art Hikes.

Angelique Benecio, a performance artist and sculptor who has created an original piece each year for Trails & Vistas, describes her installation for this year, “It is a purely visual tale, meant to communicate with viewers on a more childlike, visceral level. It’s all
about life’s twists and turns, the unpredictable experiences are often the ones that change us most profoundly. Our bravest adventures, no matter how difficult they seem at the time, end up being our most beautiful life moments.”

For the participant, the experience is so much more than going to a gallery or taking a hike.


The Art Hikes don’t simply combine the two, each experience elevates the other.

Participants find themselves slowly disengaging from the rush of their normal lives, recalibrating their senses to feel the wind, and smelling the sage while experiencing the rich, heartfelt and powerfully uplifting performances.

“It allows us to do something we have mostly forgotten to do – to recognize nature, honor the earth we live on, and especially to take time to listen to the songs of the Earth,” says Molly Shem, who has attended the Art Hike each year since its inception.
Highlights of this year’s Art Hike performances include Benecio, John Muir storyteller Garth Gilchrist, violinist Scarlet Rivera, Grammy Award-winning musicians of Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Tahoe’s Peter Joseph Burtt, jazz harpist Motoshi Kosako, Ian Ethan, Tahoe Flow Arts, InnerRhythms Dance, environmental artist Jane Jenny, and more.

New this year, the Sept. 19 Art Hike on Donner Summit will be followed by an after-party on the deck of Donner Ski Ranch, host sponsor of the Donner Summit Art Hike. The after-party is open to all hike participants and will feature additional performances by double-neck guitarist Ethan and one of the world’s most prominent and versatile violinists, Scarlet Rivera.




Barta | Courtsey Trails & Vista


Young hikers send out paper boats on an alpine lake. | Courtsey Trails & Vista

Benefit World Concert at Sand Harbor

In addition to the Art Hikes, Trails & Vistas presents the World Concert on Sept. 12 as the final installment of the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Encore Series. The World Concert is a benefit for the Trails & Vistas Art in Nature Field Trips for 400 local, third-grade students with co-sponsor, Sand Harbor Nevada State Park.

“The Art in Nature field trips inspire to improve our student’s quality of life. They encourage greater creative activity through interaction between art and environment and foster a stronger community identity through direct interaction with the arts, poetry writing and environmental studies,” says Nancy Tieken Lopez, executive director of the nonprofit Trails & Vistas.

Headlining the World Concert is the Grammy-winning Latin big band Pacific Mambo Orchestra from San Francisco, whose contemporary vitality is anchored in the mambo tradition of the 1950s.

Opening the World Concert will be many of the musicians from the Spooner Lake Art Hike including Ethan, whose rare prowess on the double-necked guitar, along with his multi-layered compositions, has begun to establish the instrument’s musical validity perhaps more so than the work of any other artist. Other performances include the soulful blues of Peter Joseph Burtt, explosive power of Tsurunokai Taiko, violinist Rivera, Angelika Healing Music, bagpiper Sean Cummings and jazz harpist Motoshi Kosako. Susie Alexander, a performance painter, will be creating several works inspired by the music on the stage, which will be auctioned during intermission.


– This article was submitted by Trails & Vistas


Tickets to the Art Hikes are $45 for adults and $12 for children ages 4 to 10 years. Tickets for the World Concert range from $23 to $68. Volunteers are welcome for the Art Hikes on Sept. 12 and 19. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit