Great places to hike in Carson Valley |

Great places to hike in Carson Valley

by John Hefner

How are you all holding up during the stay at home orders? I sincerely hope you and your family are doing well and existing in your best space at the time. It can be very stressful living in close quarters 24/7. If anyone is having problems please reach out to family or other community resources for assistance. There is a lot available out there to help you get through this.

We have been doing a lot of walking/hiking. Well a lot for us. So this issue I would like to give you some locations to go take a hike. First one is the River Fork Ranch hike. You can access it either off Genoa Lane or Muller lane. The hike is really flat and is 2 miles one way. A total distance of 4 miles. If you walk slow like me schedule about an hour and a half. Jack rabbits can do it in half the time. It runs along the river, there are some duck families, geese etc. Beware though because it can be a bit wet if you go after a storm. It dries out quickly. If you have a youngster you will likely want a large wheel stroller. Sorry no dogs are allowed.

The Bently Heritage trail is my next recommendation. It is longer with various loops to it. I believe you can do well over 4.6 miles on that trail if you like. You access it by heading north on Heybourne Road from Stephanie. This hike again takes you to the river banks of the Carson. There are various sand bars that make it almost like a beach. Be careful though because as the run off increases the Carson River can get pretty fast. I do not recommend you jump into the water, specially without a lifesaving device. Again, there are no dogs allowed. This trail and the River Fork Ranch hike are managed by The Nature Conservancy. They don’t allow dogs because dogs will disturb the wildlife’s habitat.

Stephanie Steeps will take you up to the top of Hot Springs Mountain. The east ridge is the home of the Cross. You can access this hike by heading north on East Valley all the way to Lindsey which is runs east and west and is the terminal point. I recommend you park up on BLM land which is to the east and not on Lindsey. We want to be mindful of our neighbors. This hike is a hard one. It is not level at all and in fact is a steep incline up to the top. If you are not conditioned you will get winded easily. Take a walking stick and lots of water. If you are not in good health, I do not recommend this hike. It is a great way to get into condition though. Once at the top where the Cross is you will have wonderful vistas of the valley. They are quite stunning and it is worth the pain in your chest that you will experience. There is a bench at the top for you to rest. You can bring your dogs just make sure you bring treats and water for them as well. It has been a while since I made that trek but be prepared to take 10 steps and rest. Walk backward 5 steps rest. Repeat this and you will eventually get to the top without having to be air lifted to Renown.

Another recommendation is the Tahoe East Shore Trail. This one is not local so keep that in mind. You access the East Shore Trail by going up to to Sand Harbor visitors’ station and head north. It is a very improved trail with pavers and walk ways. There are some inclines. It is approximately 2.6 miles one direction. You end up where the old Ponderosa Ranch was located. You can bring your dog but beware there are a lot of bicycle riders on this one and it can get crowded. But the last time we did this one was prior to the stay at home order. I am not sure how busy it is at the moment. This is perhaps the most beautiful trail on the entire west coast. It is gorgeous. You can read more about it here:

That leads me to my next set of recommendations of There is an app you can download to your phone to help make your trips easier. There are actually a lot more in the immediate vicinity then I have spoken about here. You can also visit Carson Valley Trails at https://carson There is a page where you can sign in and even become a volunteer if you like. If you are homebound take a virtual tour and check out the sights.

I hope you are being safe and staying healthy.

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