How to Fill Your Wellness Cup in Carson Valley

Living in the 21st century is awesome, what with all of the technology and gadgets at our disposal but it can also be, well, noisy. We know that the past couple of years have left us all feeling a little tired, slouchy, sometimes overwhelmed. The diagnosis is obvious, but the bigger question is – what’s the cure? The answer is simple: a wellness vacation! There is no better time to plan a trip to fill your cup, recharge those batteries and do a little healing with our specialized treatment plan. This is one prescription you shouldn’t wait to fill!

Let Momma Nature Give You a Big Ole’ Bear Hug

Is there anything more healing than nature? Whether you are seeking activity like hiking, biking, running or riding horses or you just simply yearn to be (yes, please!), Carson Valley has over 60 miles of trails that can be experienced year-round. According to several studies on the health effects of the great outdoors, being out in nature has proven to lower blood pressure, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase immune system function, to name a few. It is no wonder white noise machines used to lull you into sleep are tuned with nature noises!

Carson Valley nature is particularly good for your health because it can generally be accessed year-round and provides all four seasons of beauty, just what the doctor ordered.


First dose: One quiet walk along the Carson River. Starting at the River Fork Ranch Trailhead, meander your way on an out and back trail that is flat and great for all ages. Breathe in the fresh air, soaring wildlife and panoramic mountain views. Listen to the best playlist ever—the sound of nothing and everything at the same time.

Second dose: Spend time exploring other trails nearby including the Eagle Ridge Loop, Sierra Canyon Trail and Discovery Trail. Let nature wash over you and take in the captivating forest and valley views – trust us, they will enrich much more than your Instagram feed! Learn more about the Genoa trail system here. Afterward, visit the historical Genoa Bar – Nevada’s oldest Thirst Parlor, for a tall and refreshing glass of water (wink, wink).

Third dose: Carson Valley serves as the perfect centralized hub for the surrounding region. For this dose, turn on your favorite jams and take the short, beautiful drive to Hope Valley. Each season will treat you to spectacular beauty and activities. The famous fall colors, summer fishing and springtime blooming medley are all sure to satisfy the soul. This winter, check out Hope Valley Outdoor Outfitters and try your hand at snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Take a lesson or rent equipment for your use. Have you ever stood in the middle of the forest while the snow quietly falls around you? There is nothing more peaceful, a sure shot in the arm of mental and physical wellbeing.

Possible Side Effects: Can cause extreme cheerfulness and sunny disposition. Facial muscles may experience soreness due to increased smiling.

Schedule a Throttle Therapy Session

We may not know the exact science behind it, but we all know it’s true: there is something very healing and therapeutic when controlling the amount of power to an engine. The euphoria that accompanies off-road vehicles, or even particular on-road vehicles is next to none. Carson Valley is an absolute playground when it comes to OHV trails. Do some meditating to the sound of the engine, savor the wind in your hair and take the ride of your life. After all, there’s a reason they call them whoop-de-doos!


Dose: Rent a UTV from Full Access Tahoe and hit the dirt! 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 Come prepared by grabbing some takeout at the Taildragger Café and have yourself a high-octane picnic!

Getting out in the open can be the perfect medicine to get a little perspective and heaping serving of feel-goods.

Possible side effects: Dirt in places you wonder how you got dirt in.

Soak, Splurge, and Savor

Taking the time to really splurge on yourself can pay dividends not only immediately, but in the long term too. This prescription calls for taking the day to focus on yourself, ahhhing your way to blissful relaxation and capping it off with a treasure for your taste buds. Because, let’s face it, you deserve it!


First Dose: Slide into pure tranquility at David Walley’s Hot Springs, where the natural healing properties of the water collide with rich Nevada history. Founded in the 1850’s, the days of the famous Pony Express, David Walley’s water soothed the aches and pains of those along the Pony Express and stagecoach routes. Choose between a large, heated swimming pool and five separate mineral spas ranging from 98 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, all surrounded by views of the Sierra Nevada. The water naturally comes from the Earth’s mantle and contains minerals that are believed to have many health benefits including detoxification, increased immunity, lessening of arthritic and other joint pain, and soothing and healing skin problems.

“…These springs, without a doubt, have no equal on this coast for the cure of rheumatism and all afflictions that necessitate me visiting them. I now leave without crutch or cane, entirely well, not only relieved from pain but gained in spirit.” – Mark Twain, after having visited David Walley’s.

Second Dose: Get your Zen on at the Genoa Spa. Choose from a variety of different services including massages, facials, body wraps, and even the energy healing technique known as Reiki. Massages are great for relieving tension and stress (who doesn’t have some of that!), improving circulation, managing pain, reducing anxiety and depression, and restoring mind/body balance. The specialists at the Genoa Spa use all natural products and know just how to revitalize and rejuvenate!

 Third Dose: Treat yourself to the newest restaurant in town, Daniel’s! A fine dining, Country – French cuisine experience, Daniel’s is the place to end the perfect wellness day. Located in the heart of historic Genoa, they happily serve up delectable dishes, craft cocktails and a quaint and relaxing ambiance. Be sure to make a reservation here.

Possible side effects: Highly addictive. Once you have had a taste, you may feel the need to bask in such luxury daily which may result in financial side effects.

Do Something You’ve Never Done Before

When you think of a wellness vacation, you may not automatically jump to the idea of new adventures. However, research shows that experiences lead to positive feelings that are sustained much longer than material possessions. We aren’t implying that you have to jump out of a perfectly good airplane (although that is certainly an option), but seeing or doing something new will create a lifelong memory. Here are just a few to get you started!


First Dose: Get to feeling all sorts of Wild West by taking a wild horse/wildlife tour.  Our local experts know the range like the back of their hand and are darn near part of the horses’ bands themselves. There truly is nothing like spending a day on a dirt road, hearing the stories of each unique band and hoping to catch sight of the majestic Nevada mustangs. If you prefer to go it alone, be sure to read these tips and tricks.

Second Dose: Don’t just eat at, but rather experience, the iconic JT Basque Bar & Dining Room. Trust us, once you’ve been there you will know what we mean. The building itself was schlepped over from Virginia City way back in 1896 (Can you imagine? Happened all the time back then!). Some 64 years later two Basque sheepherder brothers, Pete and Jean Lekumberry, purchased the JT and it has been a place of tradition, family and incredible food ever since. Everything about the JT is vibrant, happy, and bustling.

Be sure to add your dollar to the celling for good luck, taste every dish that comes out (we recommend wearing loose fitting pants, there are a lot of dishes!), try the famous Picon Punch, leave room for coffee and ice cream, and when asked: always add garlic. You will soon discover that the Basque have an innate way of making you feel like family. It’s a warm and fuzzy that will last long after the Picon has worn off.

Third Dose: Watch the sunrise and sunset in the same day. This seems somewhat rudimentary but truly, how often do you take the time to appreciate both? And we don’t mean during the drive to and from work. Maybe you have already done this before but not in Cason Valley, or maybe it just bears repeating. Either way, it is an exercise in perspective and the panoramas here are second to none. There are several options for an amazing sunrise, but one of our favorites is a particular bench between Genoa Lane and Mueller Lane along the River Fork Ranch Trail. This is an excellent spot to watch the sunlight wash over Jobs Peak. Another beautiful vantage is from the turnouts coming down Kingsbury Grade. Greet the day as the sun peaks over the Pinenut Mountains and floods into the valley below you.

As for sunset, take the short drive south to Topaz Lake. We recommend positioning yourself on the east shore of the lake so that you can watch the show both in the sky and reflection of the water. The intentionality of taking time to simply witness the bookends to a day is truly the best remedy.

Possible side effects: Mood booster to the degree of annoyance of those around you.

Additional doses to include:

Floating the skies in a hot air balloon.

Checking out the state’s first pair of Levi’s at the historic Dangberg Ranch.

Summertime concerts. Vibrant yet quaint.

Guided fishing trips with Angler’s Edge.

Repeat the process until your mental (and physical) wellness cup runneth over.

When you think about it, we spend most of our lives in what can be referred to as “maintenance mode”: the state of getting the necessary things in life done, kept up, staying afloat. Do we do the same for our mental and physical wellness? Perhaps not, as 768 million American worker’s vacation days went unused in 2018! Carson Valley has what you need to rejuvenate, fill your cup, take a deep breath and be intentional about prioritizing your wellbeing.

Like Mary Poppins says, “a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.” Well, Carson Valley is both the sugar and the medicine that you won’t mind taking again and again!

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