The little town of Genoa, Nevada’s oldest settlement, is tucked up tight against the Carson Range, just east of Lake Tahoe. I’ve often headed through Genoa on a road bike ride. You can ride on lightly traveled roads from Jack’s Valley Road, just south of Carson City, all the way to Woodfords, along State Route 88.
Clear Creek Trail is an enjoyable winding ascent into the mountains, followed by
a thrilling roll back down.
As you head south on the highway, to your right you will view some of the highest peaks around Lake Tahoe, while to the left you will see the wide-open expanses of ranch country with lovely homes and barns and lots of cows, sheep, horses and an alpaca or two. After one of my recent rides, I decided to find out what else this tiny burg has going for it. Turns out, Genoa has a lot going for it.
The great thing about a quick overnight to Genoa is it really is quick. At just an hour from North Tahoe and even closer from South Tahoe, you can get right to the fun instead of spending too much time driving. Bring your bike, your hiking shoes, a hearty appetite and enjoy the many environments in and around the town. Or just come to get away for a lovely weekend.
Western Heritage Celebration
April 28 | Genoa | visitcarsonvalley.org
Genoa is a one-stop-sign kinda town made up of a lot of great places to eat, shop and explore. The Pink House is a beautiful Victorian house, painted pink, of course, that offers delicious quiches, chicken pot pie and deluxe grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s like fine lunching in your friend’s living room.
Be sure to stop in Petersunn Antiques, which sells unique antique guns and classic cowboy books and decoys, and Mormon Station State Historic Park, the site of the first permanent non-native settlement in Nevada. Don’t miss the statue of Snowshoe Thompson on skis. His famous ski trips carrying mail over the Sierra between 1856 and 1876 began in Genoa. Considered the father of skiing in California, he homesteaded land in nearby Diamond Valley and is buried in the Genoa Cemetery, which is worth a stroll through.
We stayed on Main Street at the Genoa Country Inn, which has large, modern rooms overlooking the park and town.
Road biking | From Genoa, there are several road options that all involve heading along the edge of the mountain range. A ride to Kingsbury Grade and back is about 12 miles.
Ready for a climb? Head up the grade as far as you want. There is a nice bike lane and the views just keep getting better as you ascend. Or you can keep going along Foothill Road to Fredericksburg Road. Turn around here and you are in for a 20 miles roundtrip.
Have more time and energy? My favorite place to ride in the area starts at Fredericksburg Road, heading back into California and across State Route 88 to Diamond Valley Road. Here you can wind through Washoe lands and the pastoral beauty of Diamond Valley to Woodfords and Carson River Road. This fun downhill along its namesake river back to State Route 88 and Fredericksburg Road is the highlight of the trip.
Do the whole thing from Genoa and it runs 43 miles with about 2,000 feet of climbing.
Hiking | Carson Valley Trails Association has built and maintained an elaborate network of hiking and equestrian trails heading into the Carson Range above Genoa. The longest trail, the Sierra Canyon Trail, reaches the Tahoe Rim Trail high above in 10 miles, but there are a variety of loops that take you above the valley for excellent views. I enjoyed experiencing the changes in ecosystems as we climbed from the semi-desert into the forest and mountains. For maps of the trails, visit carsonvalleytrails.org.
Mountain biking | About 5 miles from Genoa, close to the Jacks Valley Elementary School, is the Clear Creek Trail. It’s a recently built and instantly popular mountain-biking trail that is a spring-time favorite because the snow disappears from the trail quickly.
The ride is an enjoyable winding ascent into the mountains, followed by a thrilling roll back down. Get there early to beat the crowds.
For more information, visit genoanevada.org.