Snowshoe Hotspots Around Carson City

By Dan Bablinskas | Monday, February 12, 2024

As a little mountain town with easy access to Lake Tahoe, Carson City has a lot to offer the adventuring snowshoer. Whether you want to go up into the mountains or stay near town, there is a huge number of options for snowshoeing in Carson City — almost too many to list.

Western Nevada College / Ash Canyon

When snow is plentiful close to town, the trails west of Western Nevada College are an excellent space to dust off your snowshoes and get the kinks out of your legs. You can set off from the Jack C Davis Observatory (by the solar panel array) or even from the Ash Canyon Trailhead to explore the sparse, hilly terrain. This area is not especially steep or remote, which makes it an easy-going, family-friendly place to snowshoe — without having to venture far up slick mountain passes. 

The trails crisscross this hilly terrain, and there are multiple ways to loop back to where you started while still maintaining a view of your location and starting place. You will also have some decent views of Carson City from the hillside.

Photo: Snowshoeing up Kings Canyon

Kings Canyon

Another option right near town is Kings Canyon Waterfalls. You can start from the parking lot and take the trails that zigzag up to the waterfalls, which should be gushing in winter.

This hike will be more intensive than the trails around Western Nevada College, but it also offers more greenery, more interesting terrain and better views. If you are feeling adventurous and fit, you can shoot for the Upper Kings Canyon Trail, though be mindful of the snow and weather conditions as you get farther into the mountains.

Photo: Spooner Lake covered in snow.

Spooner Summit and Surrounding Areas

If you really want to get into deep snow and have spectacular views of Lake Tahoe, then you will have to drive up Highway 50 a bit, but the trek is worth it — assuming the weather and roads are clear.

One great area to snowshoe along Highway 50 is Spooner Summit. From there, you can take the Tahoe Rim Trail up the mountain ranges south or you can cross the road and head north. In either case, you will get great views of the lake and be fully immersed in the Alpine surroundings.

Alternatively, you can snowshoe around Spooner Lake itself, starting at the Spooner Lake Trailhead. The lake may be covered in snow, making a beautiful snowy plain.

There are multiple other trails around Spooner Lake that you can explore, but as you get more into the mountains and more remote, you will want to have someone who knows the area help guide you to the best snowshoeing locations. 

Tips and Safety Precautions

Snowshoeing can be a lot more physically demanding than you would think, especially at high elevations. Even if you are physically fit, be prepared for a strenuous workout. Take plenty of water, snacks, a cell phone and lots of layers. Bring along a companion and be mindful of where you are walking, taking care not to step too deeply into fresh snow.

All that said, it’s definitely worth the trouble — so get out there and enjoy some snowshoeing while winter is in full swing.

Carson City has an abundance of amazing snowshoe areas right in its backyard that rival some of the areas that are more typically known for winter sports. If you live in the region or are just visiting, take advantage!

Photo at top: Aaron Huber, Unsplash

About the Author Dan Bablinskas
Dan Bablinskas is a relentlessly curious person with a passion for travel, foreign languages, affordable food and lodgings, well-fashioned cappuccinos and refreshing craft brews. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in creative writing, he traveled through Europe and South America while working as an English teacher and travel blogger. After trying a number of different careers, he settled into technical and content writing for his day job. In his spare time, he enjoys exploring the Reno-Tahoe area by foot, car, bike and ski. He lives in Reno with his wife and two kids.