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The Best Trails for Social Distancing

Here in Carson Valley we have over 54 miles of maintained trails, courtesy of the Carson Valley Trails Association and their army of volunteers. There are trails in all points of the compass, on public lands controlled by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to the east, and US Forest Service (USFS) to the west. From single track to 4×4/OHV trails there really is a little bit of something for everyone. 

Let’s get to the heart of the matter – some trails are just plain better for social distancing than others. So here they are….

mountain bikes on Pinyon Trail
Pinyon Trail photo courtesy of Carson Valley Trails Assn.

Pinyon Trail – There is always plenty of parking at the trailhead, and the trail is nice and wide, so you can give a friendly wave and step to the side when passing other hiking or biking parties. Dogs are allowed, and it’s a popular mountain biking trail, which means folks are used to moving out of the way. Remember, hikers step off the trail for bikers, and the bikers call out when they have more than one person so you know what to expect.  Click here for the Pinyon Trail Map.

There aren’t any water features, so if you bring your dog you may want to bring water for them and yourself as it gets pretty hot during the day. From the top of the loop the views of the Carson Range portion of the Eastern Sierra are spectacular, and the flora are much different from what you experience on the west side of the valley.

Bently Heritage Trailhead Kiosk.1
Bently Heritage Trail photo courtesy of Carson Valley Trail Assn.

Bently Heritage Trail – This trail is flat, allowing for ease when passing other hikers. When you set off from the trailhead, take the left curve to get to the river bank. Being able to walk along the river is a nice change of pace from some of the steeper trails. Dogs are not allowed on this trail as it is an easement on a working cattle ranch. Don’t be alarmed if you do see cattle, give a friendly moo and they will leave you alone. Click her for the Bently Heritage Trail Map.

You are likely to come across deer, which could be startling to both parties. Again, don’t be alarmed, they generally keep to themselves and run off. If you go in the late afternoon you could even spy some coyote.

Fay-Luther interpretive sign photo courtesy of Carson Valley Trails Assn.

Genoa Vista Trail – Connecting the town of Genoa and David Walley’s Hot Springs Resort, this paved trail is ideal for strollers. Although more commonly used, it is wide, allowing for ease of passing other groups.

There are other beautiful trails in the Genoa trail system, however due to the steep nature of the mountainous trails, it is harder to pass other hikers and bikers. It’s not impossible, but also, not ideal for social distancing. If you go to the trailhead, especially during the week, and don’t see many other cars, you’re probably good to safely hike. Click here for the Genoa Trail Map.

River Fork Ranch Muller Lane Trail Sign
River Fork Ranch photo courtesy of Carson Valley Trails Assn.

River Fork Ranch – This is another flat, wide trail, meandering along the banks of the Carson River. In addition to being a working cattle ranch, this is a bird migration spot, butterfly migration stop, and oh so much more. Turtles love the habitat here, as do muskrats, and all kinds of other fun critters. Stewarded by the Nature Conservancy, due to the abundance of wildlife, dogs are not allowed.

fay luther trail
Fay-Luther trail photo courtesy of Carson Valley Trails Assn.

Fay-Luther and Jobs Peak Trail System – Fay-Luther is a network of about 9-miles of trails and loops, which at one point connect to the Jobs Peak Trail. On the lower ground, the trails are wide and simple to step off when you encounter other people or horses. However, on the Jeffrey Pine Loop there is an elevation change, and the steep aspects of the trail are not conducive to easy separation. It’s not impossible, but also not easy. Dogs and horses are allowed on most of these trails, as are bikes, however, due to the sandy nature of the trail, bikers are rare. Click here for the Fay-Luther Map and Jobs Peak Ranch Map.

view from Hot springs mountain
View from Hot Springs Mountain

Pine Nut Mountain Range – Along the Pine Nuts there are plenty of trails to find and explore. Drive to the end of Johnson Lane, and you’ll find a kick-off point for ATV/OHV trails and roads. Drive out to Pine Nut Road and you’ll find dirt bikes and single track. Head north on Vicki Lane until you reach a dirt road, and voila! Another wealth of trails up Hot Springs Mountain or along the dirt. These trails all have plenty of room to spread your wings, and amazing views. 

The views from the south looking north from Hot Springs Mountain are really a sight to behold. It’s a perspective that isn’t captured very often, yet is truly spectacular.

Whatever you decide, make sure to keep yourself and those around you safe. Nevada is under a mandatory mask order if social distancing cannot be observed. A few common courtesies go a long way and importantly, let’s all help our businesses stay open. Hit us up on social media @CarsonValleyNevada, and use #WhyCV so we can follow along on your adventures.

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