Explore all Carson Valley and Lake Tahoe have to offer.

By Natasha Bourlin

Lake Tahoe (Jeramie Lu)
Lake Tahoe (Jeramie Lu)

It feels as if everything has changed. With one exception: businesses and activities around Douglas County are still welcoming visitors with a smile … it’s just hidden under a mask right now.

During these tenuous times, when a global pandemic is driving everyone indoors to keep healthy, Douglas County — encompassing the picturesque Carson Valley, inspiring South Lake Tahoe and lovely Topaz Lake — invites you, when you’re ready, to Sierra Safely and explore endless activities and extraordinary scenery confidently.

It feels as if everything has changed. With one exception: businesses and activities around Carson Valley and Lake Tahoe are still welcoming visitors with a smile … it’s just hidden under a mask right now.

Vast expanses of verdant ranch and farmland, plus two enticing liquid jewels, are embraced by towering, often snow-capped Sierra peaks and offer the ability to easily keep six feet apart.

Outdoor recreation is abundant, also allowing for distancing. Shops, lodging properties and eateries here are ultra-cautious about keeping their guests healthy, ensuring masks are worn, distances are maintained, and hand sanitizer is at the ready.

Plus, the area’s incredible past is one constant in these times of perpetual change, and ready to be revealed to history buffs.

Douglas County’s new Sierra Safely Experience Trail lists area establishments and adventures that instill confidence in explorers. On sierrasafely.com, easily accessible on mobile devices, find your perfect accommodations, and plan an adventure for your taste buds, eyes and ears, while replenishing your spirit.

Here’s how.

Where to Stay

Check out the accommodations on the Sierra Safely Expedia site. All options are well-appointed and surrounded by breathtaking scenery. If you prefer to stay in your own rolling hotel, park it at the centrally located Carson Valley Inn Casino’s RV Resort.

Get Active

What’s your flavor of outdoor fun? Skiing, tubing, hiking and biking are spectacular in this scenic region. And there’s so much more.

Coursing down a snow-covered hill on a tube is so exhilarating. Let Tahoe Snowmobiling provide the tube and let you loose on their Zephyr Cove hill. After that, head to Edgewood Resort and grab some snowshoes as a professional guide leads you across their snow-covered golf course trails to the Champagne Chalet for a glass of Veuve Clicquot.

Golfers find their happy place here, too. You can tee off year-round at the stunning and challenging Carson Valley Golf Course and the championship Genoa Lakes Golf Club Lakes Course.

Carson Valley Golf Course / Photo by Marcello Rostagni
Carson Valley Golf Course / Photo by Marcello Rostagni

Does water sound wonderful? Rent a clear-bottom kayak at Clearly Tahoe for an exciting new perspective of the legendary lake. Perhaps even follow the Lake Tahoe Water Trail and look for educational interpretive signs and other interesting features along the lake’s 72-mile circumference.

Get your big-fish story ready after snagging a rainbow trout, mackinaw or Kokanee salmon with the help of Tahoe Sport Fishing. To really get away from it all, head to Topaz Lake, about a 30-minute drive from Carson Valley, and hunt for the trophy trout Topaz is renowned for.

History Haven

Douglas County’s history is extensive and fascinating. For the full low down, head to the Douglas County Historical Society, plus the Tahoe South and Carson Valley Visitors Centers.

Docents at the Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park, which dates back to the mid-1800s, can share age-old tales from the ranch and the structures that still illustrate them.

Then, step back even further in time at the Mormon Station State Historic Park. The site of the first non-native settlement in Nevada, Mormon Station, is in Genoa, the state’s oldest town, which is still thriving today, and a highlight to any Sierra trip.

Photo by Brian Walker Photography
Tahoe Rim Trail (Brian Walker)
Whet Your Appetite

Whether you’re hungry for comfort food, fine dining or can simply survive off of mouthwatering chocolate, the Sierra Safely Trail will guide your appetite to what you want.

For instance, a touch of romance, exceptional cuisine and stunning views of Tahoe can be found at Edgewood Tahoe Resort Bistro Restaurant, while the heartiest of appetites can brave the Menu Burger Challenge nearby at Fox and Hound.

No one goes hungry while exploring the Sierra Safely Trail.

Just Relax

Indeed, you don’t need to be active to enjoy the area. Douglas County specializes in safe relaxation as well. Peruse the Art Gallery at Prism, the tome-packed shelves of Shelby’s Book Shoppe, or let Borges Family Sleigh and Carriage Rides’ beautiful Belgian horses tour you through Tahoe. And these are just a few ways to utterly relax while taking in the Sierra.

Things have changed greatly since the pandemic, but the urge to explore has not. Thanks to the local businesses and wide-open spaces in Douglas County, adventurers can indulge their travel bug while maintaining proper distancing, washing hands often, sanitizing and wearing a mask in public.

Snowshoeing the Sierra (Jeramie Lu)
Snowshoeing the Sierra (Jeramie Lu)

To preserve the environment, Sierra Safely also encourages visitors to leave only footprints and take only photos, plus bring a water bottle to try the cleanest, freshest water anywhere.

Plan your trip to Douglas County today and remember how incredible a getaway can feel.

Disclaimer: 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. Stay safe, stay healthy. Thank you.