Itching to travel and looking for a reason to gather your friends and head to the Sierra Nevada? Look no further than the charming town of Genoa, Nevada. It’s that time of year when the Sierra switches into festival season mode, and there’s no better way to kick it off than with the time-honored tradition of the Candy Dance Arts & Crafts Faire. But wait, there’s more! Genoa and the surrounding Carson Valley have some hidden gems and adventures you will want to take advantage of. So, grab your friends, pack your bags, and dive into the sweet tradition and exciting escapades awaiting you. Genoa offers so much more than this delectable event. In this article, we’ll explore why Genoa is the perfect destination for the fall festival season, and we’ll also delve into three unique outdoor adventures that you absolutely must try while in the Carson Valley.

Genoa: A Taste of History and Charm

Genoa, a quaint town dating back to the mid-1800s, exudes Old West charm with its historic buildings, tree-lined streets, and captivating mountain views. Its rich history is palpable as you stroll through the town center, past buildings that have witnessed the passage of time.

One of Genoa’s most celebrated events is the Candy Dance Arts & Crafts Faire, which takes place every September. This beloved festival is a sweet celebration of tradition and community spirit. Visitors from far and wide are drawn to Genoa not only for the delicious homemade candy, but also for the exceptional handmade arts and crafts created by local artisans. The event’s live music and entertainment, along with its charming small-town atmosphere, make it a memorable experience for all. The 2023 Festival is being held September 23 & 24th.

Three Unique Outdoor Adventures in Carson Valley

While the Candy Dance Faire is undoubtedly the star of the show, Genoa and the surrounding Carson Valley have even more to offer adventurous travelers. Here are three outdoor adventures that should be on your must-do list:

  1. Explore Lake Tahoe’s Backcountry: Just a short drive from Genoa, Lake Tahoe is a pristine alpine jewel that beckons outdoor enthusiasts year-round. In the fall, the crowds thin out, making it an ideal time to explore its rugged backcountry trails. Whether you’re a hiker, mountain biker, or nature lover, Lake Tahoe’s wilderness offers something for everyone. Be sure to check out the picturesque Marlette Lake, accessible via the Flume Trail, for breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding peaks.
  2. Discover the Rugged Wild West on Horseback: The Carson Valley was once the stomping grounds of cowboys and pioneers, and you can experience this history firsthand on a horseback riding adventure. Several local ranches offer guided horseback rides through the picturesque foothills and valleys. Ride through sagebrush-covered landscapes, cross crystal-clear streams, and take in panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s a true Western experience that will transport you back in time.
  3. Soar High with a Hot Air Balloon Ride: For a unique and unforgettable perspective of the Carson Valley, take to the skies in a hot air balloon. Imagine floating gently above the valley floor as the first rays of sunlight illuminate the rugged terrain and the town of Genoa below. Hot air balloon rides are not only a serene way to experience the beauty of the area but also a fantastic opportunity for stunning photographs.

After a day of adventure, you can return to Genoa to unwind. Enjoy a leisurely meal at one of the town’s charming eateries, such as the Genoa Bar & Saloon, which claims to be the oldest thirst parlor in Nevada. The rustic atmosphere and friendly locals make it a great place to relax and share stories from your outdoor escapades.

The annual Genoa Candy Dance draws visitors from all over the country. 

Hope Valley is a short 20 minute drive from Genoa and well worth the visit in the fall.

Take in the Scenic Byways

To make your journey to Genoa, Nevada, even more enjoyable, consider the seasonal value of two breathtaking scenic drives that will bring you right to our doorstep. If you’re coming from the west, Highway 50, often called the “Loneliest Road in America,” will take you on an awe-inspiring journey through Nevada’s wide-open spaces, providing a true taste of the Wild West. As you approach Genoa, the lush, rolling hills and towering Sierra Nevada peaks will greet you with their grandeur. Alternatively, if you’re arriving from the south, Highway 88, also known as the Carson Pass Highway, offers a scenic drive through the pristine wilderness and into the Carson Valley. In the fall, this route transforms into a mosaic of vibrant autumn colors, with the aspens and cottonwoods painting the landscape with hues of gold and red. 

For those traveling from the north, taking Highway 395 from Reno offers yet another picturesque route to reach Genoa. This route showcases the rugged beauty of the Sierra Nevada from a different perspective. As you head south on Highway 395, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the snow-capped peaks and expansive valleys that define this region. Along the way, you can also stop at several charming towns and scenic viewpoints, including the historic town of Minden, where you can explore quaint shops and soak in the local atmosphere.

Whichever route you choose, these scenic drives will not only get you to Genoa but also immerse you in the natural beauty of the Sierra Nevada, making your journey here as memorable as the destination itself.

Where to Stay in the Carson Valley

Fortunately, the local area offers plenty of options for visitors to find a place to stay. Check out these Genoa Lodgings options & information and Carson Valley area options.

Genoa, Nevada, is the perfect destination for the fall festival season, with the Candy Dance Arts & Crafts Faire serving as the sweet centerpiece of the experience. However, this charming town and its surrounding Carson Valley have so much more to offer, including historic charm, outdoor adventures, and breathtaking natural beauty. So, pack your bags, bring your sweet tooth, and get ready to savor the sweetness of fall in Genoa, Nevada—it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.

Featured image: Candy Dance – Photo by Cathleen Allison courtesy of



Publisher of Sierra Rec Magazine. An avid hiker and explorer of mountain lifestyle and adventure. I love to discover new trails, hike along rivers and hang a hammock along the shores of a mountain lake. I often great people on the trail and have found some of my favorite places from the advice of people I meet in the Wilderness. I love the sierra and just like sharing what I know.

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