What You ‘Autumn’ Know About Carson Valley

This weather is un-be-leafable.

Much like the spring wildflowers, fall in the valley is a spectacular light show, this time made up of golden hues, dusty reds, and the orange of pumpkins displayed on front stoops up and down main street. It’s the season to slow down from the rush to fit everything into summer, take a breath, and get back into the weekend warrior pace. Local restaurants serve seasonal specials, and your favorite coffee spot puts their own twist on the traditional welcome to fall: the pumpkin spice latte. 

Gardnerville NV
Photo by Vivian Powers

While the leaves changing colors are notoriously hard to predict, this link is a great place to begin when looking for the perfect fall foliage timing. Keep your eyes on the temperatures overnight as well, as that is a key indicator. Colder nights and shorter days trigger the change. Use the slider to find the perfect dates to visit and catch the colors.  

The morning chill begins it’s slow slide into sweater weather, and we start to see scarecrows pop up around town. The Annual Scarecrow Festival, held for over 30 years, continues its tradition on October 3, from 9am-3pm in Heritage Park. Artists from the local East Fork Gallery provide scarecrow making kits and are on hand to help families create their new addition. 

Weekends in October, plan to visit the annual Corley Ranch pumpkin patch. This working cattle ranch is known as the best place around to pick your own pumpkin, and there are other activities to keep your family entertained. 

In November, Lake Tahoe Balloons begins to launch their balloons from Lampe Park. One of three ways to take to the skies, it’s certainly a bucket list event. Looking for more adrenaline in your bucket list activities? Try Skydive Lake Tahoe or soaring in an engineless glider with SoaringNV. They both promise spectacular views of the valley and Lake Tahoe, it’s the landing that’s a bit different. 

lake tahoe balloon photo by melissa blosser
Photo by Melissa Blosser

Take in the western atmosphere with a trip through three valley museums. Mormon Station State Park and Courthouse Museum in Genoa, and the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center in Gardnerville all provide views into the early European settlers, and the two museums operated by the Douglas County Historical Society include information on the first people in the region, the Washoe Tribe. The new Edwin L. Wiegand Ranching & Agricultural Heritage Exhibit in Gardnerville, boasts a tribute to the industry that shaped today’s valley. Get a peek into the amazing early machinery and tools used to transform the water rich arid desert landscape into the green open space we all enjoy today.

Photo by First Tracks Productions

Meander through Genoa, with a lunch stop at The Pink House, a historic institution known throughout the valley. Then pop into Sierra Chef for a cannoli or gelato for dessert, and belly up to the bar at Nevada’s oldest saloon, Genoa Bar. They serve locally produced spirits, as well as one heck of a Bloody Mary.

There are myriad ways to enjoy the outdoors throughout the year, but there is something special about getting outside to golf or hike in the fall. Four unique courses each offer each offer spectacular views and a diverse set of hole by hole challenges from tee to green. Play like a hero, as your ball flies farther at altitude. Carson Valley Golf Course boasts magnificent trees along the banks of the Carson River, so you’ll feel enveloped in fall. Hiking at all points of the compass provides views so varied, it’s hard to choose a favorite spot. Get up close to the conifers on the west side of the valley in Genoa or along the Fay-Luther Trail, then check out the views from the east side of the valley amongst the Pinyon Juniper at the Pinyon Trailhead. 

Photo by Mark Breedan

The list of reasons to visit Carson Valley, whether for a day or a getaway, are numerous. Explore this website for more ideas, and if that’s not enough here’s a list of a few more. When you visit, be sure to tag us on social with #WhyCV so we can follow along with you.

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