When Visit Carson Valley reached out to us about visiting, we weren’t able to point it out on a map. We only knew of Carson City. After doing some research, we learned that although it’s close to Carson City, Carson Valley is the oldest region in Nevada. It even includes the first established town. After visiting, we can see why so many people fell in love with the area and never left. It’s a hidden gem for sure.
Carson Valley is made up of four communities: Gardnerville, Genoa, Minden, and Topaz Lake.
Gardnerville and Minden blend into each other. Some of the locals even call it Mindenville. These two towns are the heart of the area with delicious food spots, shops and boutiques, and all the convenient big box stores.
As you explore, you’ll notice the historic buildings, which I highly recommend asking about, and hear stories of their pasts while enjoying what they’ve become.
Genoa, the first non-native settlement in Nevada, felt like the quintessential small town. When we met up with local Sue Knight, it felt as if we were walking through the town of Stars Hollow from the Gilmore Girls. Everyone smiled and waved and Sue’s name was on every plaque in town. They also hold different festivals and celebrations throughout the year.
Topaz Lake was the one area we didn’t explore much (we’ll just save it for a future trip). It’s a beautiful area known for water sports and is also a great spot for camping.
On top of all of that, Carson Valley makes an amazing home base for other destinations. It’s only 30 minutes away from Lake Tahoe, less than an hour away from Reno, and only 2-3 hours away from Yosemite National Park, Mono Lake, and Bishop.