Lake Tahoe Balloons Carson Valley
Hot Air Ballooning in Carson Valley

Autumn is the season for relaxing. The summer rush to get outside and burn off that winter energy winds down as school starts up again. The cooler days usher us into the slow slide back into the usual schedule of weekends made for fun. Tahoe-Reno area locals know fall is the best time to explore their backyards, and visitors are treated to a spectacular visual light show, when the trees give off one last hurrah before dropping their leaves for winter.

The Sierra region has a plethora of choices for getting away from it all, with options aplenty within driving distance. Carson Valley, Nevada is a place that makes you feel welcome, with an air of something you can’t quite put your finger on. Maybe it’s that Nevadans have never been afraid to embrace their weird side. Perhaps it’s the cool breeze rustling the trees while you hike or fly fish on the river, gently reminding you to slow down and unplug. It’s quite possibly the stranger who’s friendly wave, lifts your smile a little more at the edges.

Fall in Carson Valley, which includes Gardnerville, Genoa, Minden and Topaz Lake, gives you everything to look forward to. The small town coffee shops with their twists on the traditional pumpkin spice latte, bright golden trees making for the perfect photo background, the ideal temperature for a family hike in the afternoon. For a reason to get away for a day, or a weekend, check out these suggestions and come unplug in Carson Valley.

Let’s start with some great ways to enjoy time with family, outdoors: Golf. Boasting four golf courses in one valley, Carson Valley Golf Course, Genoa Lakes, and Genoa Ranch Golf Club, and Sunridge Golf and Recreations, there are plenty of ways to hone your swing. The thin air at altitude, helps us all bring out our best in ‘distancing’.

15th green Carson Valley Golf
15th Green at Carson Valley Golf Course

For a truly western day, be sure to visit the local museums, Mormon Station State Park, Genoa Courthouse Museum, and the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center. The Douglas County Historical Society recently opened its newest addition in Gardnerville, the Edwin L. Wiegand Ranching & Agricultural Heritage Exhibit. Between Genoa and Gardnerville there are plenty of opportunities to peruse several classic antique stores.

Take to the skies, and depending on your adrenaline level, have a hair raising experience skydiving or soar like an eagle in an engineless glider. Both give you views of Lake Tahoe and Carson Valley that will make your jaw drop, it’s just the landings that differ.

Bookend your day with stops along the tasty trail on the foodie frontier. This one will definitely take a return trip. You’re going to need breakfast that sticks to the ribs, and there’s no better place for a big breakfast than at the Cowboy Cafe in Minden. In Genoa, stop into The Pink House for gourmet lunch in a pink housing oozing with historic charm. Then mosey over to Sierra Chef for a delectable dessert along the lines of homemade gelato or a delightful cannoli. Saunter over to Nevada’s oldest saloon for a cocktail or two.

When those hunger pains strike after a long day exploring, Minden’s CV Steak is the best place to take a load off. This Nevada style steak-house will have you licking your chops (pun intended). Located inside valley stalwart Carson Valley Inn and Casino, you won’t believe how much is on your plate for a great price.

Carson Valley Inn CV Steak
CV Steak at Carson Valley Inn

Or try the Carson Valley Country Club’s traditional Basque fare, and be sure to kick-off your meal with the classic Basque-American cocktail – the Picon Punch.

Whether you venture out for a day of discovery, or a nearby overnight ‘staycation’, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy your backyard. Carson Valley welcomes you. Get all the information about everything outlined here, and even more ideas at our website VisitCarsonValley.org, or call the visitors center at 775-782-8145.

Genoa Fall First Track Productions
Fall in Genoa, First Track Productions

There’s more!

  • Use this LINK to estimate the best time to catch the fall foliage in all its splendor
  • Fly fishing the Carson River
  • Hiking and biking the many trails
  • Foodie paradise across the valley
  • Scenic motorcycle rides
  • Glider soaring
  • Corely Ranch Pumpkin Patch, weekends in October
  • Cemetery walks hosted by the Douglas County Historical Society
  • Hot air balloon rides start in the valley in November

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