Take a Walk Around Carson Valley

By Keith Rugg | Monday, January 20, 2020

The sugar rush of the holidays is wearing off and maybe you'd like to shed a few pounds before the sugar rush of Valentine's Day grabs you in its chocolatey little paws. It might also be nice to get out of the house and take in a little fresh air once in a while. I mean, if that groundhog can pop its head out of its burrow in a few weeks, then we ought to be able to muster up the energy for a brisk walk now and then, right?

For the really ambitious among us, there's snowshoeing and cross-country skiing out in Hope Valley. And every Saturday from now through the end of March, you can participate in a snowshoe walk up at Tahoe Meadows at the Mt. Rose summit. These outings are led by rangers from the Carson Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and are slated to be 3 miles of educational and moderately strenuous winter hiking (about two hours). Pre-registration is required; call (775) 722-3985 to get on the list or to get more information.

Photo: National Park Service

You don't have to head for the hills in order to log a few miles on the old Fitbit, that tyrannical little piece of technology that it is. We've got lots of wide-open space and plenty of trails around so that even the not-super-active of us can find someplace for a walk, even during the snow season. Here's a nice sampling of easy and low-impact hikes around the area. Click the name of the trail for a link.

Ambrose Carson River Natural Area

Parking for this open space is on Deer Run Road, just a bit more than a mile and a quarter south of the intersection with Highway 50. Depending upon how much snow is still sticking at any given time, it offers dirt-trail hiking near the Carson River.

Snow day in Genoa

Genoa Vista Trail

This is a part of the Genoa Trail System. This particular section is a fairly level paved path that runs for about a mile and a quarter between the town of Genoa and David Walley's Resort, making it perfect for either a one-way walk or an out-and-back stroll.

Photo: Town of Genoa, Facebook

Pinyon Trail

If you have a hankering to get out and away from it all just a little bit more than those first two trails will do, the trailhead for this one is way out on Pinenut Road, about 7 miles east of the intersection with Highway 395 and Riverview at the far southern end of Gardnerville. It's a nice scenic walk with a gentle slope and just a tad more than 5 miles long.

Bently Heritage Trail

Just south of Carson City proper in the Johnson Lane area is really nice trail that winds through ranchland along the Carson River. Access to the trailhead is on Stephanie Way, east off Highway 395 and then north on Heybourne Road. One thing to note about this trail: It sits smack dab in the middle of a working cattle ranch, so no horses, dogs or other animal friends are allowed in the area.

Bald eagle flyingSpeaking of smack dab in the middle of something, January 23 through 26 is the annual Eagles and Agriculture event in the Carson Valley. Between the fact that tons of bald and golden eagles winter here and the fact of the winter calving season that is a big draw for these huge raptors who aren't above scavenging their meals wherever they can get them, this is prime time for some incredible nature photography. So if you decide on a nice winter stroll on the Bently Heritage Trail, be sure to bring your camera along with you.

Photo: National Park Service

On all of these trails, be sure to use your best judgment as to whether the walking conditions are safe and, as always, please be a good neighbor to any other folk you may encounter who are also there to enjoy the outdoors. And if you've got your own favorite winter walk that you'd like to share in the comments below, don't be shy about it! My 10,000 steps a day aren't going to just walk themselves, you know!

About the Author Keith Rugg
R. Keith Rugg has worked on staff for a number of local publications, including Lake Tahoe Action Magazine, the Tahoe Daily Tribune and the Reno Gazette-Journal.