From the Carson Valley Visitor’s Authority:
Carson Valley rests at a crossroads of sorts. It sits at the transition between the Sierra Nevada range and the Great Basin, the West Coast and the Wild West, the high alpine and the high desert. The valley is guarded on the west by rugged 10,000-foot peaks, the same mountains that cradle Lake Tahoe. Northern Nevada’s most scenic valley is scattered with open space, golf courses, expansive farms and ranches, parks, shops and hotels. Your journey through the Carson Valley stretches from Genoa in the northwest through the towns of Gardnerville and Minden. The trip is paid off with the refreshing reward of Topaz Lake to the south.
As you travel any of the three main roads into Carson Valley (U.S. Highway 395, State Route 88, or U.S. Highway 50), you will enjoy unspoiled views of the valley – surrounded on the east and west by mountains that are sometimes snow-capped year-round. The weather is pleasant and the area enjoys four distinct seasons, with temperatures commonly in the 80’s and 90’s during the summer and, typically, several inches of snow falling over the course of the winter. Topaz Lake, a 20-minute drive from Gardnerville and 30 minutes from Minden, is known for great fishing, boating, water-skiing, and wake-boarding. The lake (a reservoir) lies east of U.S. Highway 395 on the Nevada-California border. The scenic Pine Nut Mountains form a backdrop to the lake and nearby Topaz Lake Park. The south shore of Lake Tahoe, one of the world’s most famous alpine lakes, is just a 20-minute drive from Carson Valley.