DISCOVER A RICH AND DIVERSE COMMUNITY INSPIRING OUTDOOR LIFESTYLES
The Carson valley is home to a vast area of open space and quick access to all types of outdoor lifestyles. Discover the history and wild places in one of the oldest settled regions of Nevada. Bordered by the grand rising Sierra Nevada on the West and south and a vast and expansive BLM open space of the pine nut mountains to the East The Carson Valley is often referred to as Homebase to adventure.
The Carson Valley, located in northern Nevada includes the towns of Gardnerville, Genoa, Minden, and Topaz Lake all located in Douglas County. It is world renowned as one of the top gliding spots in the world. The town of Minden hosts farmer’s markets, art shows, and the Show and Shine Car Show during the summer and well a Monthly Concert in the Park. The recent addition of the TJ’s Corral at the Carson Valley Inn provides great outdoor concerts seasonally. Directly adjacent to Minden, Gardnerville is a town of about 5600 residents. It offers a beautiful golf course alongside the Carson River, music in the parks, wine walks, and Carson Valley Days, an annual summer event that draws thousands. A tiny town with a huge history. The first settlement in the Nevada Territory, Genoa is a cute little town with 940 residents. Famous for its annual Candy Dance, where candy, food and crafts are plentiful. The Genoa rail system has some of the regions best riding and hiking opportunities and is part of the larger Carson Valley Trail Association which continues to grow and transform this country lifestyle location into a top mountain bike and hiking community. Visitors accessed the region by three main highways (U.S. Highway 395, and State Routes 88 or 207), they relish unspoiled views in Northern Nevada’s most scenic valley. A Valley which features the Eastern Slopes of the Sierra leading to Lake Tahoe and the Western slopes of the PineNut mountain range to the east, a high desert rugged country with direct ties to the old west.
- 12 miles west to Lake Tahoe, 12 miles north to Carson City, 45 miles to Reno, 140 miles west to Sacramento and 218 miles west to San Francisco
- 751 square miles of scenic territory
- Elevation 4,700+ feet at the valley floor
- Nearby Jobs Peak rises to 10,633 feet
- Minden Airport a 990-acre general aviation facility and host site for the 2018 Aviation Roundup Airshow, returns every few years.
A photographer’s dream location the Carson Valley is a place people move to after just one visit. The communities of Genoa, Minden & Gardnerville have a small town charm about them but are filled with culture and history. The local region embraces the outdoor lifestyle and the conservation of wild horses and open space. Local traditions such as the Eagles and Ag events or Candy dance draw crowds from hundreds of miles away.
Locals enjoy s a robust and growing trail system in the Carson valley as well as open access to BLM land to the east which is perfect for horseback riding, Motorbikes, OHV and hunting.
Quick access to Heavenly ski resort and South Lake Tahoe or a quick trip south to Markleville and Alpine County provide locals and visitors unlimited outdoor activities for all interests. And for watersport enthusiasts, Topaz lake, Lake Tahoe, and the Carson River provide fishing, boating, kayaking, and more.
For the golfer, the Carson Valley is home to the Divine Nine golf challenge. From the professionally developed and beautiful Genoa courses to the historic and beautiful country club river setting, there is a golf course for everyone in the Carson Valley.
Here are our Guides to a great outdoor lifestyle visit to the Carson Valley. The Place we call home.
The Carson Valley Trail system continues to grow and develop, but already has a well established Bike, Hike and Horse community trail system that is a regional favorite.
From the mountainside trails of Genoa trail system to the flats of the carson river on the Bently trail you will find a trail for all skill levels. Most of them are also dog friendly.
- Fay Luther Trail System – Both trailheads (Fay-Luther & Jobs Peak Ranch) begin with open terrain continuing gradually upward into a pine forest on the foothills of the Sierra. Be aware that parts of this trail system are very popular with equestrians.
- Genoa Trail System – includes three access points – Two Intense segments The genoa loop and Sierra Canyon trail and then one moderate to easy access at eagle Ridge location. This is a great rail network built on the side of the Mountain which features terrific scenic views.
- Clear Creek trail Network – Starting from the Jacks Valley Trailhead, the trail begins with hilly open terrain for the first 3 miles. Higher up you enter a pine forest as you climb to Knob Point (a great view of Carson Valley). Upper Clear Creek offers stunning views from Cliff Rock and a connection with the Tahoe Rim Trail at Spooner Summit Trailhead. Be aware that this trail is very popular with mountain bikers. Recently the Carson Valley trail association has added a few extra miles to the starting region of this trail, across the highway giving access further into town.
- Bently trail – a flat 5 mile trial circuit near the carson river into a wildlife preserve area. – No Dogs allowed
- Pinyon Trail – an Easy 5.2 mi round trip loop south of Gardnerville. this trail climbs easily up the side of a Pine Nut hill covered in Pinyon Pines and provides exceptional panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada to the West. This a great spring hike while the snow is still on the Sierra or fall season hike when the temperatures cool.
- River Fork Ranch trail – Flat hiking with panoramic views of the Carson Valley and wildlife that gathers along the Carson River.
- Genoa Vista Trail – 2.6 mile Fairly level paved trail between Genoa and Walley’s Hot Springs Resort.
Just up the mountain there is also Tahoe Rim trail Access that is in the same county. Kingsbury grade North to Spooner Summit trial is a great TRT segment and will also provide you Mountain Bike or hiking access back down to Genoa via the Sierra Canyon
CARSON VALLEY ANNUAL EVENTS
Eagles & Agriculture: Each January visitors can observe eagles and other raptors of all varieties, including Bald Eagles, migrating through Carson Valley during the calving season. Eagles and Ag feature exclusive access to ranches for viewing. Tours at multiple ranches give insights to this annual pilgrimage.
Carson Valley Days: This annual festival and celebration of summer is typically the week after high school graduation ithe area and features parades, carnival, community BBQs, contests, live music, and more. A celebration of mountain lifestyles in the Carson valley communities of Minden, Gardnerville and Genoa.
Aviation Roundup: The Minden-Tahoe Airport plays host to the Aviation Roundup Air Show in October 2022. The Air Show is dedicated to veterans as a way to honor and thank the many fine men and women who have served or are serving our country. This family-friendly event brings national and international performers, military jet
performances, warbirds, static aircraft displays and vintage aircraft. There’s also the opportunity to purchase once-in-a-lifetime airborne experiences such as flights in historic war birds.
Genoa Candy Dance: The Candy Dance Arts and Crafts Faire dates back to 1919 when it began as a fundraiser for
the city’s street lights. Today, the event is a fundraiser for the town and a mainstay in the life of the Genoa community. Held annually on the last full weekend of September, thousands flock to this community to enjoy over 300 craft and food vendors, live music and, of course, the world-famous candy. 2019 celebrated 100 years for this must-see event.
Summer Concerts: Throughout the summer, Minden Park hosts an outdoor concert series for the whole family. Nearby, the Carson Valley Inn’s summer concerts at TJ’s Corral feature known entertainers and up-and-comers. A more laid-back concert experience can be had at the Dangberg Ranch Historic Park in Minden. Or, head out to Genoa for their Concerts on the Green. Select a venue, choose your spot to drop your blanket and take in a concert while the sun dips behind the Sierra.
Hot August Nights Poker Run: Hundreds of classic cars participate each year in the Hot August Nights Poker Run
held the first week of August annually. Minden Park offers the backdrop for the valley and is the official lunch
stop for the poker run contestants.
Home to Mormon Station State Historical Park which commemorates the first settlement of Nevada in 1851, when the first permanent trading post was established by a group of Mormon traders from Salt Lake City.
Historic Genoa, Nevada is nestled at the base of the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Range, just 25 minutes east of beautiful Lake Tahoe and one hour south of Reno.
Genoa’s natural beauty, historic charms, and local wildlife still beckon travelers today. It is not unusual to spot mule deer as they come down from the forested area on the west side of Genoa and cross local roads to graze on vegetation or fields along the Carson River Valley to the east of Genoa.
The small town boasts many local amenities and shops, and welcomes visitors for a day trip or longer, restful stay. Stop by the Genoa Cemetery or the infamous Hanging Tree. Stroll through a variety of shops, and be sure to make time for a leisurely lunch or dinner.
At the south end of Douglas County, where California greets Nevada, you can find “Topaz Lake … Home of the Trophy Trout.”
It’s easy to feel like a winner at Topaz Lake simply by spending a day fishing, sailing or exploring the lake and its 25 miles of shoreline. Or you can hit the Topaz Lodge Resort and Casino overlooking the lake and try your luck there.
Besides the option for gambling, there are a couple other things that make Topaz Lake unique. The manmade lake is in both California and Nevada, making a fishing license from either state valid. The other is that Topaz Lake is actually at its best in the winter and early spring, when most bodies of water in the Eastern Sierra are frozen or buried under snow. Topaz Lodge even runs an annual winter fishing derby, offering anglers a nice outdoor fix in the midst of the chilly winter months.
CARSON VALLEY MUSEUMS
The Carson Valley is rich in the history of the Great American West. Its communities honor those roots today through their
museums and many historic sites. In Gardnerville, the Museum and Cultural Center is a marvelous place to spend an
afternoon exploring exhibits on Nevada’s Basque and Native American heritage and its modern-day wild mustangs.
Learn more about early life in Carson Valley at the Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park, founded by a family that was
here when Nevada began. Take in a guided tour of the ranch house or explore the ranch on foot and through the lens of
your camera. In Genoa, the Courthouse Museum offers another rich look back in history.
Carson Valley boasts the oldest permanent settlement in Nevada – Genoa, which was settled by John Reese in 1851.
Within the main town square is the Mormon Station State Historic Park, the Courthouse Museum of Genoa and the
Oldest Bar in Nevada, a popular watering hole to this day. Boutique shops, a general store, restaurants, and an art
gallery are all found within this quiet, peaceful small town.
Gardnerville got its start in 1879 when Lawrence Gilman purchased the Kent House and had it moved from its location
south of Genoa to a seven-acre parcel of land on the east fork of the Carson River. There, near the site of what is today
the J.T. Basque Bar and Dining Room, the building was converted to a hotel. A blacksmith shop and saloon were later
added. The hotel was the center of the hay and grain producing community that became Gardnerville, named for
Gilman’s friend John Gardner.
H.F. Dangberg, Jr. established Minden in 1905 to fulfill his vision of a European-style planned community designed
around a town square, Minden Park. Minden was named after a German town near the birthplace of Dangberg’s father,
H.F. Dangberg, Sr., a pioneer in Carson Valley and founder of the Dangberg Land and Livestock Company. The V&T
Railroad’s extension of a rail line to Carson Valley, with Minden as the terminus, was key to Dangberg’s plans for the
town’s future. The railroad spurred the growth of Carson Valley into a hub of agriculture. Located in the heart of Douglas
County, Carson Valley has evolved from a small farming community to a must-see on any bucket list.
Carson Valley has 12 lodging properties with one sure to suit any visitor’s preference – representing more than 800 hotel
rooms. Choices include a casino resort, bed and breakfast establishments, and several hotel and motel options from all suite to those for the budget-conscious. There are five gaming casinos in Carson Valley. Five different RV resorts provide full services to the campers at heart.