Find Back Road Bliss in Carson Valley
There are few things in life as soul quenching as a day spent traversing high desert landscape atop 1000 cc’s of pure freedom, catching killer panoramas that unfold as soon as the dust settles. Such are days often found in Carson Valley; an adventurer’s playground and one of Nevada’s hidden treasures. Located at the base of the Sierra Nevada – the very same mountains that cradle the infamous Lake Tahoe – the area is known for its sweeping views and wide open space: the perfect formula for an off-roader’s paradise. Unassuming, raw and untamed, Carson Valley is the gateway to more than 70,000 miles of off-highway routes/trails throughout the entire state.
The Mountains are Calling, and I Must Rev
The Pine Nut Mountain range offers an extensive network of trails at various difficulty levels and can be accessed at several points, all of which can be found at CVohv.com.
Ken Ingram, Outreach Coordinator of the Pine Nut Mountains Trail Association, describes the Pine Nuts as “offering up something for everyone”. Both single and double track routes carve in and out of the high desert landscape and into more forested pinyon and juniper areas.
“You could spend months on these trails and never run out of new places to see; amazing views, old historical sites, wild horses. You name it, it’s here,” says Ken. Riders can tackle the highest peak in the range, Mt. Siegel, to check out the view from 9,400 feet. The varied terrain, everything from sand dunes to rock crawling, makes this area a smorgasbord for multiple vehicle types, including four-wheel drive trucks, jeeps, dirt bikes and the like.
Good Times Begin Where the Pavement Ends
Local OHV enthusiasts, Ray and Toni Van Winkle, know this universal truth well and love to spend their days chasing the horizon side by side in their, well, side-by-side. Bouncing down the backroads, the Van Winkles explore Carson Valley and surrounding areas with gusto, never growing tired of their menu of options. “There is so much variation to the rides you can take here,” Ray says. “Alongside rivers and hot springs, high desert and valley floor. If it is hot down low, you simply climb up into the mountains where there is often a ten-degree difference and a great view.” Much of the routes can be accessed year-round, so if you have warm clothes and a six pack of gumption, you can witness the beauty of all four seasons in Carson Valley.
No Toys, No Problem
If you haven’t gotten bitten by the dirt bug enough yet to own an off-road vehicle, not to worry! Full Access Tahoe operates out of Carson Valley and offers rentals of their large, new-each-year fleet of Polaris RZRs. Users can check out the latest and greatest model from Polaris, which come fully loaded with GPS navigation preprogrammed for a self-guided adventure. Whether you’re a throttle jockey or a Sunday slow roller, this option gives freedom to go at your own pace. Rentals can be booked April – November at fullaccesstahoe.com.
Dirt Road Code: Tips and Tricks to Ridin’ the Valley
Nevada recognizes all off highway vehicles that are registered in their home state, so no extra licensing is required to bring your toys on over. Check out ohv.nv.gov, the ultimate hub for all the rules, regs and extensive trail maps. It goes without saying but don’t be that guy and be sure to use leave no trace principles, keeping Carson Valley OHV what it is for everyone: wide-open and ready for the taking.