Carson Valley Color and The Perfect Pumpkin

Want a peaceful outing in the country not too far from Reno? Carson Valley and its towns of Minden, Gardnerville, and Genoa are just what you’re looking for. We happen to live here, so we know firsthand how beautiful it is in the fall. 

Right now, the maples are painting the valley red. They’re At Peak so the color probably won’t be around for much longer, but hopefully they’ll hang in there at least through this coming weekend. 

The cottonwoods are starting to turn yellow and are in the Getting Better stage at around 35%. They’re ready to take over where the maples leave off—or maybe we should say leaf off. Lots of other trees in the area are also Near Peak.   

Carson Valley Fall Color
Carson River at Cradlebaugh Bridge, 10-14-2018, Patrick Wilkes

Carson Valley Hikes to Get Above the Fall Foliage

A good way to get above all the color is to hike either the Faye Luther/Job’s Peak Ranch Trail or any of the trails near Genoa. The Carson Valley Trails Association has done a spectacular job of building and maintaining these trails.

The Faye Luther Trail departs to the south from the trailhead at the base of the Sierra in Gardnerville. This portion of the trail crosses over the border into California. 

You’ll have some great views of the valley as you ascend. Willows and other deciduous trees also put on a fall show next to the stream.

If you take the Job’s Peak Ranch trail to the north, you’ll stay in Nevada. The trail is flatter than the Faye Luther (although it does have some ups and downs) and affords some good views of the Carson Valley.

Genoa, Nevada Hiking Trails and Easy Walks

Genoa is a picturesque town in the Carson Valley. As the oldest town in Nevada, it has some beautiful historic buildings. You can walk through the town to appreciate its fall color. Browse the shops, dine at one of the restaurants, or get a to-go meal and have a picnic. 

One choice for hiking near Genoa is the Genoa Canyon Trail. A lot of interesting deciduous vegetation I haven’t seen in other places grows along the stream at the beginning of the trail. Huff and puff your way up the path past the stream and there’s a great view of the Carson Valley and the colorful cottonwoods and other trees. 

In the mood for an easy stroll? River Fork Ranch near Genoa is a great option. Walk down to the Carson River for reflections of willows in the water. 

Carson Valley Fall Color
Carson River, 10-23-2018, Patrick Wilkes

Pumpkins and More Fun For the Family 

If you have kids or grandkids in tow, you won’t want to miss Corley Ranch on the south end of Gardnerville on Highway 395. Every October they have a Harvest Festival that includes a pumpkin patch. Searching for the perfect pumpkin? This is your place to find one in a fun environment. 

Depending on whether you’re there on the weekend or weekdays, the festival also includes a hay slide, straw maze, corn maze, farm animals, miniature golf, pig races, a giant sling shot, and hay wagon rides.  

Carson Valley Fall Colors Report

Maples: At Peak (100%)

Cottonwoods: Getting Better (35%)

Other Trees: Near Peak (60%)

Send In Your Own Nevada Fall Color Report. You Could Win A $50 Amazon Gift Card

If you’re out and about this fall, remember to send us your own fall color report with photo(s). From all the fall color reports submitted, professional photographer Patrick Wilkes will choose the best photo of the season and your photo could be it. The winner gets a $50 Amazon gift card and a write-up in our blog. Here’s the info you’ll need to send us a report and photo(s).

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