Hiking & Biking

For hiking, biking, or horseback riding on scenic trails, Carson Valley is unsurpassed.  There are trails for the both the neophyte and the serious hiker, biker, or rider.  Hiking opportunities range from flat trails bordering the valley’s Carson River to alpine trails topping 10,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada to the west.  Easy trails of two to three miles in length such as Spooner Lake, Curtz/Summit Lakes, and Hot Springs Mountain beckon the recreational hiker.  For the more advanced, there are seven to ten mile trails like Marlette Lake, Horse Thief Canyon to Willow Creek, and Burnside Lake to Charity Valley.  Serious hikers will want to try longer or more strenuous trails such as Job’s Peak, Mount Ralston Peak, or the Five Lakes Trek.  And hikers can travel all or portions of the breathtaking 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail.  There are also hiking events such as the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge that takes place each year on the Saturday nearest the summer solstice.  Completing this 34-mile one-day endurance hike on the primitive Rachel Carson Trail is a badge of honor for hikers.

Cycling opportunities abound in the Carson Valley and surrounding area.  Road riders can choose a number of century (100 mile) rides, including the Carson Valley Century that features 5,500 feet of climbing and travels over Kingsbury Grade, along Foothill Road, to Diamond Valley, Turtle Rock, Jacks Valley, and the Pine Nut mountains.  You can also take any of the loop rides that comprise this century, from the relatively flat East Valley Road to the up and down Emigrant Trail/Diamond Valley trainer.  A bit farther afield, rides like the 85 mile Lemond loop that includes 8500 feet of climbing challenge even the most experienced road rider. Mountain bike aficionados will also find both easy and challenging trails in and around Carson Valley.  A loop from Spooner Summit along Lake Tahoe’s eastern ridge to Marlette Lake and Incline village is one of the more famous trails, and the Pine Nut mountains on the eastern side of Carson Valley offer miles of lesser-known but highly enjoyable winding bike trails.  The 13-mile McClellan Peak climb challenges cyclists’ endurance, while the Carson River and V&T railroad line loops provide more relaxed riding experiences.

Traveling the Carson Valley and environs on horseback is a tradition that stretches back over 150 years.  You can transport yourself back to the days of “Bonanza” and picture yourself riding alongside Ben, Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe Cartwright on the valley’s many equestrian trails.  Carson Valley horseback riding ranges from short organized trail rides to horse camping on rides that last a week or more.  To the west, you can ride portions of the Tahoe Rim Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, or the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail.  To the east, the Pine Nut mountains beckon, with opportunities to ride along sand washes, explore old mining trails and jeep trails, or head out cross-country.  Sheep Camp and any number of small valleys provide water and grazing, and camping is free on BLM land.  However, it is advisable to carry a GPS for cross-country riding, and take care not to trespass on posted private land parcels.  You can find stables in Carson Valley, Carson City, and Zephyr Cove that conduct trail rides and riding lessons.

Alta Alpina Cycling Club

The Alta Alpina Cycling Club(AACC) is a road and mountain bike club in the Carson City, Gardnerville and Lake Tahoe area whose primary focus is to promote cycling and to create an environment in which cyclists of all ages and abilities can enjoy the sport and socialize with other riders.  There are many activities for all ability levels. For the recreational riders there are organized rides most every weekend both mountain bike and road. For the more competitive riders there is a spring race series with categories for beginners as well as for the more experienced riders.

Club rides are open to non-club members. We encourage you to join us.

Bently-Kirman Tract Trail Bently-Kirman Trail

Explore 3.8 miles of hiking trail at Kirman Field in the Carson Valley.  The Nature Conservancy has partnered with the Carson Valley Trails Association, local Eagle Scouts, area businesses and the property owner to construct the hiking trail system.  At Kirman Field, the Carson River winds its way in braided channels, supporting willows and wetlands that sustain many animals and migratory birds.  The trail provides visitors with access to these natural areas and the amazing panoramic views that Kirman Field has to offer.  The Nature Conservancy has been working at Kirman Field since 2005, when a conservation easement was acquired with funding from Question 1 and the Nevada Department of Wildlife to preserve the incredible floodplain lands that surround the 4 miles of Carson River that flow through the property.  In establishing the conservation easement at Kirman Field, the property owner, Mr. Donald Bently, and the Conservancy envisioned a place where conservation would benefit both nature and people; demonstrating that habitat protection, cattle ranching, and public access can coexist. The Kirman Trail fulfills that vision.  Because Kirman Field is both a natural area and a working cattle ranch, the trail is open to hikers only with no horses, bikes, or dogs allowed.  

Click here to view and print the Bently-Kirman Trail Map

Directions: Driving north on Highway 395 from Minden, turn right at Stephanie Way.  Take Stephanie Way 1 mile, turn left on Heybourne Road for 0.5 mile, then turn left at the Bently-Kirman trailhead. 

Big Meadow Trailhead - East Trail Big Meadow Trailhead - East Trail
Lake TahoeNV89448

This part of the trail is open to hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians.  Follow the paved road for 100 yards before going right onto the trail.  The next 2 miles you will climb gently with switchbacks through a mostly thick forest of predominantly Jeffrey pine and Red Fir.  Here you junction with the Grass Lake Trail so be sure to watch for Tahoe Rim Trail signs.  From here as you continue your journey you will pass through several small meadows with many wildflowers and two rock outcroppings that make great viewing spots.  From these you can see the northwest area of Lake Tahoe and mountains to the east and south.  After a total of 4.4 miles you will reach Saxon Creek Trail (aka "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride).  For an added challenge you can go on an extra mile (2 round trip) to Freel Meadows for more open views and wildflower viewing; otherwise find a nice spot for lunch and some relaxation before returning to your car.

Classification: Medium

Distance: 8.8 miles round trip

Low/High Elevations: 7300' to 8030'

Highlights: Views of the entire southern Sierras and great wild flower displays and you also have the privilege to hike on the first Tahoe Rim Trail section ever completed.

Location: The Big Meadow trailhead is on the north side of Highway 89 approximately five miles south of US 50

Click here for map

Big Meadow Trailhead to Big Meadow Trail
Lake TahoeNV89448

A trail leads 200 yards from the end of the lot to Hwy 89-cross with caution and look for a trail marker on the south side of the highway.  You will begin by following the trail to the south on rocky terrain.  As you climb the moderately steep trail you will be enjoying a thicker forest of Jeffrey pine, western white pine and fir.  After 0.2 miles you will pass to the left of Big Meadow Creek, a large bed filled with huge granite boulders and lined with aspen trees.  Another 0.1 mile and the trail becomes more moderate.  As you walk close to a stream on level ground, your legs get a rest. When you reach the junction, be sure to continue straight ahead on the TRT. Soon you will reach Big Meadow, with great views of the surrounding mountains it’s a wonderful place for lunch.  

Classification: Easy

Distance: 1.4 miles round trip 

Low/High Elevations: 7300' to 7520' 

Highlights: Large open meadow with potential to see some of the most stunning wildflower displays the Tahoe Rim Trail has to offer.

Location: The Big Meadow trailhead is on the north side of Highway 89 approximately five miles south of US 50.

Users: This part of the trail is open to hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians.  Mountain bikers should note that the Tahoe Rim Trail joins the Pacific Crest Trail in 4.9 miles and bikes are not allowed on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Bike The West P.O. Box 5123
Bike the West has been producing quality bicycling events since 1989 in around the Lake Tahoe area Northern California and in the State of Nevada. The Comstock Silver Century premiered in 1989 followed by America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride and Oatbran in 1991.  Our other popular events include Tour de Tahoe which is an early fall bike ride around Lake Tahoe, along with Tour of the Carson Valley which is our newest ride.  All Bike the West bicycling events are fully supported with Welcome Packet / Goodie Bags, Event T-shirts, Event Water Bottles & other premium items, Rest Stops with Food & Beverage including lunch and after ride meal, First Aid, Tech Support and SAG Transport Services.
Carson Valley Trails Association PO Box 222
The Carson Valley Trails Association is a nonprofit volunteer-based organization working with partners to provide access to public lands through a recreational trail system for present and future generations to enjoy.  Copies of CVTA's free Local Trails Guide and Genoa Trail System brochure are available at the Carson Valley Visitors Authority, 1477 Highway 395, Suite A, Gardnerville.  Trail maps also can be downloaded at carsonvalleytrails.org. 
Clear Creek Trail Clear Creek Trail
The Clear Creek Trail is almost 10.5 miles long and is open to hikers, mountain bikes, equestrians and dogs.  The trail has no exit and is currently 21 miles round-trip.  The trail begins next to Jacks Valley Elementary School at the Jacks Valley Trailhead and ends about 1,000 feet southwest of the Highway 50/Tahoe Golf Club Drive interchange  .Jacks Valley Trailhead has plenty of room for autos and horse trailers.  A secondary parking option for autos is available about a half mile further west of here along Jacks Valley Road where the trail crosses the road.
The trail is open year-round with snow preventing access during much of the winter on the upper half, especially past Knob Point.  The first three miles of trail from the Jacks Valley Trailhead usually melts relatively quickly and is more accessible during the winter months. This area of the trail is lower in elevation, receives less snow and is more sun exposed as it travels through rabbi tbrush, bitterbrush and sagebrush  .This trail section is on public lands with the opportunity for a couple short loops by using a combination of the Clear Creek Trail and old roads back to the trailhead.  After the first three miles, the trail travels mostly on private land through a mix of Jeffrey Pines and White firs, with some incense cedar, sugar pine and aspen.

Fay-Luther/Job's Peak Ranch Trail System Southwest of Minden

The Fay-Luther/Job's Peak Ranch Trail System offers a family-friendly, 8.8 mile network of linear and loop trails, including an Interpretive Loop with signage highlighting the history, geography, geology, flora and fauna of the Carson Valley region.  These trails are open to mountain bikers and equestrians, except for the trail section between Valley View Loop and the Job's Peak Ranch trailhead.  The Fay-Luther/Job's Peak Ranch Trail connects both trailheads.  Dogs are allowed year-round, but must be leashed at all times for the first 1.6 miles from Job's Peak Ranch trailhead and everywhere from Nov. 15th - March 30th.  

Directions: From the intersection of Hwys. 395 and SR-88 in Minden, drive south on Highway 88 for 2 miles and turn right on Mottsville Lane.  When you reach Foothill Road, turn left.  The Job's Peak Ranch trailhead is 2.5 miles and the Fay-Luther trailhead is another 2 miles further, both on the right side of the road. 

Click here to view and print the Fay-Luther Trail Map

Genoa Trail System

The Genoa Trail System is 16 miles of non-motorized trails in the Genoa area open to hikers, equestrians, mountain bikes and dogs.  Trail segments include the Genoa Loop, Eagle Ridge Loop, Sierra Canyon Trail and Discovery Trail.  The Discovery Trail follows the upper section of the Genoa and Eagle Ridge Loops. Bikers and equestrians are not recommended on the lower portion of the Genoa Loop in Genoa Canyon.  Here, the trail narrows in challenging terrain with tight switchbacks and steep drop-offs.  Sierra Canyon Trail is a long hike with substantial elevation gain/loss.  It is 9.6 miles one way just to the Tahoe Rim Trail.  The best view of Lake Tahoe is still another mile north on the Tahoe Rim Trail.  Allow a full day if you plan on a round-trip hike.  An alternative is to shuttle a vehicle and start or end your trip from either the Kingsbury North or Spooner Summit on the Tahoe Rim Trail.  Formal parking areas for the Genoa Trail System are available at the Eagle Ridge, Sierra Canyon and Genoa Canyon access points.  Public parking also is available within the Town of Genoa.  Please remember to drive slowly in residential areas.

Directions: From Highway 395, go west on Genoa Lane into the Town of Genoa.  The Eagle Ridge Trailhead is located near the green water tank 1.8 miles north of Genoa off of Jacks Valley Road on Adams Ranch Road.  The Sierra Canyon trailhead is located 0.5 mile north of Genoa, and then left on Centennial Drive for 0.3 mile to the junction of Snowshoe Lane.  The Genoa Canyon trailhead is located at the end of Carson Street in Genoa.



Book Now Grover Hot Springs State Park 3415 Hot Springs Road
Phone: (530) 694-2248 or (530) 694-2249

Only 35 minutes from Gardnerville, the 700-acre park lies in Hot Springs Valley at an elevation of nearly 6,000 feet, with mountains rising abruptly on three sides.  Hawkins Peak, at 10,023 feet, is three miles northwest of the valley, and Markleeville Peak 9,417 feet, lies four miles to the southwest.  
• One-mile self-guided loop trail, with descriptions of the area's natural history begins at the Campground Bridge.  
• Charity Valley Trail - an additional hike is from the extra vehicle parking area where you can access the Charity Valley Trail.  There are three options:  either to the water falls (1.5 miles), to Burnside Lake (5 miles) or Charity Valley (6 miles).  Trail markers identify the three trails available.
One of the park's two concrete pools is fed by the runoff from six mineral springs with an average temperature between 102 and 104 degrees F.  The park has 76 sites equipped with fire pits and grills, cupboards, bear-proof lockers and tables.  Two of the 76 sites are designed specifically for wheelchair use.  Campsites may be reserved by calling 1-800-444-7275.

Driving Directions: Take SR-88 South to Woodfords.  Turn left onto SR-89 to Markleeville.  In the middle of Markleeville, take the paved road west for about four miles to the park.  Parking fee.
Kingsbury Grade North Trail Kingsbury Grade North Trail
Lake TahoeNV89449

This trail rolls up and down along short stretches.  You will wander through an open forest of Jeffrey pine and White Fir while enjoying the smell of tobacco brush and the brilliant green of Manzanita.  After 0.5 miles of hiking you will come to a marked vista spot.  Follow this spur trail for some nice views of castle rock and the west shore of Lake Tahoe.

Classification: Easy

Distance: 1 mile round trip

Low/High Elevations: 7780' to 7860'

Highlights: Views of castle rock, Emerald Bay & Mt. Tallac

Location: The Kingsbury Grade North trailhead at the end of Andria Drive.  To get there take Highway 207, Kingsbury Grade, toward the pass (i.e., north from Carson Valley). 0.3 miles north of Daggett pass turn (right from Carson Valley) onto North Benjamin Drive.  This road becomes Andria Drive.  Go 1.9 miles to the end of the road.

Users: This trail is open to hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians.

Mitch Park BMX Track 1379-1461 Topaz Lane (Mitch Drive)
Gardnerville RanchosNV89460
Phone: 775-265-2048

Mitch Park offers a series of BMX pump tracks, Advance trqack, Intermediate track, and two beginner tracks.  Mitch Park can be accerssed off of Mitch Driveor Topaz Lane in the Gardnervilkle Ranchos.  Full fenced-in playground, tennis courts, picnic areas, stocked fishing pond, walking paths, and bicycle tracks. 

Pinyon Trail

The trailhead is located 6.7 miles east of Gardnerville, starting from the Hwy 395 traffic light intersection, at Riverview Drive and Muller Parkway (next to the 7-11 convenience store).  From this intersection, set your odometer to: (Note- The first 4.4 miles are paved and the last 2.3 miles are gravel)

0.0 mile- Head east on Muller Parkway

0.2 miles- Turn right at the round-a-bout, which becomes Pinenut Road- stay on the main road, as it veers slightly to the right.

2.4 miles- Turn left on Pinenut Road 2.  You will pass the Ruhenstroth and Single Tree OHV Access areas.

4.4 miles-Y-junction, where the paved road goes left and becomes Out-R-Way Road.  Take a right on the graveled portion of Pinenut Road 2.

6.7 miles- Turn left at the sign Pinyon Trailhead.

Click here to view and print the Pinyon Trail Map

River Fork Ranch/Whit Hall Interpretive Center 381 Genoa Lane
Phone: Duane Petite, Carson River Project Director at (775) 781-3505

An 800-acre preserve operated by The Nature Conservancy, the ranch encourages sustainable agriculture and ranching, preservation and education.  A network of trails allows visitors to explore the river and discover the natural Carson Valley. 

Spooner Summit Snow Valley Peak Trail
Lake TahoeNV89450

Beginning at the Spooner Summit north trailhead you will follow the Tahoe Rim Trail uphill.  Though the trail starts off steeply it soon becomes gentler, as you pass through a Jeffrey Pine forest.  After 2.25 miles you will see a vista sign, follow this 100 yard spur trail for rewarding views.  Continuing through the mostly shady forest you will find occasional filtered views during the next 1.4 miles.  At that point you will pass the trail for North Canyon campground (one of two required campsites on this section of trail).  As you continue on another 1.05 miles you may notice the change from white fir to red fir and the change of scenery to Eagle Valley with its sprawling Carson City.  Your final climb is one mile on an exposed west facing ridge with sagebrush, tobacco brush, plenty of granite boulders and a few stunted white-bark pines.  During this final mile you will finally be able to enjoy full open views of Lake Tahoe.  Best of all, you are rewarded with views of Marlette Lake.  Seeing these two lakes side by side is truly spectacular.  This is a great spot to have lunch before turning around for your next 6.2 miles back.

Classification: Hard

Distance: 12.4 miles round trip

Low/High Elevations: 7150' to 9214'

Highlights: Marlette Lake, gentle shaded uphill and full views of all sides of Lake Tahoe.

Location: The Spooner Summit North trailhead is on the north side of highway 50, ½ mile east of the junction with Highway 28.

Users: This part of the trail is open to hikers and equestrians.  Due to State Park regulations this section of trail is closed to mountain bikers.  It is recommended that mountain bikers interested in this area try riding the flume trail.

Click here for map

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