(The following Article is written for when we CAN travel again and inspirational purposes. Plan now to Getaway later. Until then, stay safe, stay healthy, and dream big. Thank you.)

Sierra safely and step back centuries.

By Natasha Bourlin

Being homebound is getting tiresome. But hey, there are plenty of ways to get out and enjoy the epic Sierra peaks without exposing yourself to the pandemic. Wide-open areas to keep socially distanced are abundant in the High Sierra. Pack a mask, check out the Sierra Safely Trail, and you’re getaway ready. So, if you need a day trip or just to dream about future journeys, here are some ideas to Sierra Safely.

If you need a day trip or just to dream about future journeys, here are some ideas to Sierra Safely.

Vast verdant expanses encompassed by craggy alpine peaks greet visitors to stunning Carson Valley. Atop this masterpiece of Mother Nature is yet another, Carson Valley’s crown jewel, so-to-speak … Lake Tahoe, just a short drive away. 

It’s easy to see why early pioneers settled here. 

In 1851, John Reese settled Nevada’s first town, Genoa. Hugged by the Sierra in an exquisite valley, others eventually settled in the soon-thriving area including the quaint town of Gardnerville. 

Sierra Safely Carson Valley and Lake Tahoe
View from Castle Rock Loop Trail (Sierra Safely in Carson Valley and Lake Tahoe)

Exploding with opportunity, Carson Valley was home to a multitude of businesses; many offering the utmost in hospitality to guests, including local restaurants, lodging properties and bars; and was ideally located near forests, mining, and the V & T Railway. 

Lake Tahoe was known as a picturesque escape for the Bay Area elite. Just above Carson Valley, its snowmelt helps craft the colorful natural canvas below.

Today, a two-day (or heck, as many as you can take!) getaway to the region will let you immerse yourself in the past while getting a flavor for how it’s evolved. 

Day One

Book a room at the historic David Walley’s Resort in Genoa. It features rustic, well-appointed accommodations surrounding hot springs used by travelers and residents since the 1800s. Settle in, then wander to the nearby Overland Restaurant and Pub for some locally inspired grub and perhaps a pint served in the historic 1902 building that still maintains its early-20th century character. (Click here to find more great places to stay)

1862 David Walley's Resort and Hot Springs
David Walley’s Resort and Hot Springs (Sierra Safely in Carson Valley and Lake Tahoe)


Kick back and bask in the stunning scenery. 

Day Two

You’re clamoring to lay eyes on Tahoe. Head over Kingsbury Grade and take the Castle Rock Loop Trail near Stateline. Views of both Carson Valley and Lake Tahoe from the hiking trail are extraordinary, as are all of the other natural sights you’ll see along the easy trek. 

While in South Lake Tahoe, delve into more history and explore the monuments along the legendary Pony Express Trail, part of which passed through the area. The former route is found on a trail near Sierra-at-Tahoe, with relay station markers found at a commemorative statue next to Harrah’s, as well as in Meyers, west of South Lake Tahoe. 

Lake Tahoe Cruises
Lake Tahoe Cruises (Sierra Safely in Carson Valley and Lake Tahoe)

Afterward, land at the historic Zephyr Cove Resort. The property was established in the early 1900s, with rustic cabins, a marina, restaurant and plenty of room to play on its private beach. A pinnacle of the year-round Zephyr Cove experience is taking the M.S. Dixie paddlewheel boat across the lake to exquisite (and also long-established) Emerald Bay.  

Grab a bite at their restaurant with its charming log-laden interior and grand fireplace, while gazing across the azure lake. Then, take a short drive to Cave Rock, an ancient volcanic relic that is still considered sacred to the Washoe Indian tribe. 

From the water, the grand rock appears to be a woman looking over Tahoe and is therefore dubbed the “Lady of the Lake.” 

Motor back to your home base while taking in the views. 

Day Three

After checking out, take a short trip to charming Genoa. Here, grab a picnic lunch at The Pink House, which boasts scrumptious soups, salads, small plates, cheeses, charcuterie and much more. The quaint, pink-hued property was built in 1855 and was one of the first residences in Genoa. 

After nibbling on your treats in the Mormon Station State Historic Park across the street, step back in time yet again at “Nevada’s Oldest Thirst Parlor,” the Genoa Bar, established in 1853. Not much has changed over the years, but the bar’s ceiling and walls show off centuries of visitors and the mementos left behind. Behind the family owned bar, libations pour freely, including many distilled or brewed in the area. Oh yeah, it’s also purportedly haunted. 

Go see for yourself. 

And now, you’re officially fueled up for a treasure hunt. 

Download the Carson Valley Arts and Antiques Trail Map, and begin your history-hunting, treasure-finding adventure meandering through Gardnerville, Minden and the Carson Valley’s most eclectic, fun and funky shops and galleries. 

Much talent resides in the valley — and has for generations. Mark Twain and many other legends spent time here, using the area as inspiration. The trend has continued. 

Photographers and artists moved by their tranquil, spectacular surroundings craft extraordinary pieces to share with visitors and locals alike. 

Art Gallery at Prism
Art Gallery at Prism (Sierra Safely in Carson Valley and Lake Tahoe)

On the map, you’ll find an abundance of fascinating destinations. Places like the Art Gallery at Prism in Minden feature award-winning area artists, while Red Barn Antiques offers antiques and time-worn treasures from Carson Valley’s rich agricultural history. 

In Gardnerville, find a perfect picture for your home at the East Fork Gallery, then have it framed close by at Custom Framing and Design. Try to take in as many places as you can, the finds flourish the farther you go. 

Filled with newfound knowledge of, and firsthand experiences with Carson Valley’s history, return home, gleefully ready to plan your next adventure through the area. 

Disclaimer: Please follow all Government and CDC guidelines regarding local and regional travel.   Getaway Reno/Tahoe supports social distancing and safe practices promoting the health of our community. Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, digital and print content is updated to the best of our knowledge. Please keep in mind, many photos featured in our publication and online platform were taken before the pandemic and may not reflect current conditions. As you navigate your Reno/Tahoe adventure, be sure to visit the corresponding event URL or business page to check cancellations, closings, or postponements.