37 Things To Do In Carson Valley: Part 2

sam okamoto jacks valley

Last month we kicked off the list of 37 not to miss things to do in Carson Valley with the first 18. You can catch up here. Now for the final serving…

19. Dine on delectable cheese and charcuterie at The Pink House – Another of Genoa’s culinary gems, The Pink House oozes historic charm with a tasty flare all its own. Be sure to make reservations though, as this little restaurant tends to fill up fast with the limitations on restaurant dining. Be sure to ask about the wine that would best pair with your meal.

20. Hike Eagle Ridge Loop or bike Clear Creek Trail – Eagle Ridge Loop trail in Genoa is one of those trails that has a little something for everyone. Set your alarm to catch the sunrise over the Pine Nut Mountain Range while sipping your coffee, then get down to business. There are some steep places, but the winding trail brings you through trees, over small creeks, and delivers on spectacular views of the valley from the north west. Clear Creek Trail is just as magical, with a different take. Starting at the north end of the valley this trail winds its way up to Spooner Summit. You’ll earn your dinner on this one, or you can shuttle to the top of Spooner and ride down to enjoy a drink at Genoa Bar to sooth your dusty throat.

21. Music in the Park – In the ‘before times’ when we could all get together and be merry, there were outdoor concerts in the park in Minden, Genoa, and Gardnerville. We know things are different now, but these stay on the list because nothing says small town charm like a rock band playing in the gazebo in Minden Park on a summer evening. Genoa’s Concert on the Green harkens back to a time when the kids could run around, while the parents set up a picnic with the neighbors. Those times will be back, and we will celebrate together as a community.

22. See the deer in Genoa – this is the easy part. The famed Genoa deer are basically, well, every residents’ pets. They are even the cause of most of the traffic jams you’ll see as they cross the road to munch on what remains of orchards planted by early European settlers.

23. Soak in healing hot springs – Another of Genoa’s claims to fame are the nearby hot springs,  David Walley’s Hot Springs. Developed in 1864 by David and Harriet Walley, the springs have been used for healing and soothing ever since. Mark Twain even visited them and waxed poetic about the healing nature of the tubs. A few minutes down the road, tucked into the trees of the Sierra Nevada is Grover’s Hot Springs in Markleeville, CA. Enjoy a beautiful hike along the nearby creek, and then relax in the hot pools (check for current resort policies or reservation requirements).

24. Take a Cruise (4×4, truck, dirt bike or atv) in the Pine Nut Mountains – The Pine Nuts boast hundreds of miles of public lands trails used by motor powered vehicles. Whatever your 4×4 looks like, you can find places to twist your grips on a dirt bike, bump along in a side by side, or jump in your off road vehicle. Any day is a great day out on the range with the wind in your face, and the bugs in your teeth from all the smiling.

25. Art Gallery at Prism – From pictures created with dyed silk, to museum quality gourd art, to photos and fine art, the gallery directors and coordinators jury artists from around the region for each show. The themed shows run for two months all year long, completely turning over to reflect changing seasons and updated themes. Be sure to stop in when you have some time to really take in the stunning art.

26. Lampe Park – This county gem is a hotbed of activity in the middle of town. Pickleball and Tennis courts hug the west edge, ball fields and playgrounds in the middle, a fishing creek to the east, and to the south are a killer skatepark and a community center with just about anything you could think of. Think climbing walls, gym, track, a senior center, seriously it has it all. Whether you’re dropping in for a yoga class, or signing up for ceramics class, or just want to walk on the paths through the park, Lampe is the place to go. And it’s in very close proximity to Yogurt Beach.

27. Heritage Park Gardens Labyrinth – The stone labyrinth at Heritage Park is a great place to quietly reflect, and unplug. Grab some takeout, enjoy lunch, and maybe take a couple of laps around the park. Bring the family and play a rousing game of bocce ball or life size chess or checkers.

28. Fishing at Topaz Lake – Fishing season kicks in on New Year’s Day, and there is nothing that will keep the die hard anglers off the chilly water. Stocked with Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Cutbow, Lahontan Cutthroat, Tiger Trout, there is great fishing from the shore or a boat.

29. Fly fish the East Carson – Check out this blog post for more in depth info, but just know the scenic river that flows from Alpine County through the valley all the way out to Fallon, is more than just a pretty face. Fly fishing is doable in just about any weather, although the water is quite chilly even during the summer.

30. Same day golf and ski – The not so well kept secret about the valley is that it’s possible to complete two vastly different sports in one day. Dubbed ‘Iced Tee’ it’s possible to golf in the morning, and ski in the afternoon. The trifecta is getting out on Lake Tahoe for a kayak or paddle board, then a few turns on the mountain, then swinging the clubs. Caution: serious fun will be had.

31. River Fork Ranch – This 800-acre reserve owned and operated by the Nature Conservancy is a haven of migratory birds, basking in the flat lands in the middle of the valley. Wander along the Carson River, and try to spy as many different species as you can. From turtles and birds, to muskrats and cattle, really take it all in from this fantastic location.

32. Hike to Jobs Peak – There is a Jobs Peak Trailhead, but you won’t find a maintained trail to the top of the actual peak from the valley. For this you need to take the long way round, through Hope Valley and connect to the Tahoe Rim Trail. It is possible for experienced hikers and outdoorsmen to climb up the mountain from the valley, but we don’t recommend it. Try the three peak challenge – Freel, Jobs and Jobs Sister, and catch a stunning shot of the valley and Lake Tahoe from the top.

33. Splash pad in Minden Park – Summer fun in the valley wouldn’t be complete without the sound of children giggling and frolicking in the cool water at Minden Park. Set up a blanket in the shade of the gazebo, and watch the kiddies run and splash. Minden Park is dog friends, so even your furry best friend can beat the heat.

34. Drive along Jacks Valley Road – A drive along Foothill and Jacks Valley Road, hugging the base of the Sierra, is a visual feast. The ranches provide open space for viewing critters of all kinds. The flora ranges from scrub to cottonwoods, and the views never disappoint (but I’d suggest making time in the spring and October for the best color show).

35. Kingsbury Grade, aka Nevada State Route 207 from Minden to Tahoe – Several turn-outs offer spectacular views of the Carson Valley, and in the next few years we hope to see the old Pony Express Trail come alive.

36. Woodettes for breakfast and lunch is a destination in itself. Offering great food like the Kitchen Sink omelet, generous servings, moderate prices, and friendly staff, this family owned location has outdoor dining during good weather.

37. Pine Nuts Disc Golf – Last but certainly not least, is the newish-ist (yes, that’s now a word, take note Oxford) disc golf course in the area. The seemingly innocuous dirt road immediately past the Fairgrounds, opens up to a grand entry of designer metal signage, 18 super cool holes/baskets, and plenty of hole variety with both open areas and playing through trees. Make sure to bring plenty of water, and pack in what you pack out.

There you have it, 37 reasons to get out and enjoy a meal, an experience, and hopefully a few destinations you may have never heard of before. While you’re out exploring tag us in your photos on social with #WhyCV. Now, go get some!


Top featured image by Sam Okamoto, taken from Jacks Valley Road.