Take a Reno-Tahoe Adventure Road Trip, by Travel Writers

By Margot Black

California’s Reno-Tahoe Territory is an eclectic mix of awe-inspiring contrasts and dramatic landscapes that range from pristine lakes to rugged mountains to vast desert valleys. An impressive array of activities and attractions can be found in this region, all within a short distance of each other, making for an unparalleled adventure trip.

In fact, some of Nevada’s best-kept travel gems lie between the shimmering shores of South Lake Tahoe and the sparkling lights of Reno. From kayaking on Lake Tahoe to gliding through the Carson Valley, there are plenty of ways to disconnect and refuel with outdoor adventure in some of Nevada’s best great outdoors.

As one of my favorite places on planet earth, South Lake Tahoe was a great start to our road trip. And to make the most of our time in this adventure playground, we headed straight for the lake. The clear kayak tour we booked through Tahoe Paddle Sports was heavenly, and we were able to take in the vibrant blue and green hues of the lake at every sunny turn. Our friendly guide, Marco, took us along the coast from Sand Harbor State Park to Bonsai Rock.

As we were traveling with a teenager, I wanted to inject some speed into the mix. Taking a Slingshot ride along the Tahoe shoreline delivered this in spades. Our rental from Rolling Freedom Motorcycles was next level—like a convertible on steroids. We walked through Incline Village with our son playing the DJ the whole way. After our wonderful drive, we had some time by the water to enjoy the sunset over the lake.

We certainly worked up an appetite after our busy day, and our dinner at Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen Restaurant was phenomenal, especially after watching every season of “MasterChef Junior.” Because we were traveling in the summer during high season and rooms were scarce, we ended up staying at the Hard Rock Hotel. I was nervous about staying in a casino; however, our teenage son loved the hotel’s musical history and we had easy access to everything we needed, including on-site dining at Alpine Union. The next morning we went for a hike around the beach. You can find plenty of hiking opportunities in this area, including Spooner Summit, Van Sickle Bi-State Park, and Rabe Meadow to Nevada Beach.

We hit the road again and drove 12 miles east to explore our next road trip destination, Carson Valley. This “land of legends” offers a gateway to the authentic American West, bringing a rustic adventure to experience in the city of Genoa. Although Carson Valley and Virginia City are often overlooked areas in Northwest Nevada, they are incredible destinations steeped in history and definitely worth a few days of exploring.

We couldn’t visit Nevada’s first settlement without stopping at the Genoa Saloon, Nevada’s oldest thirst saloon, where we met charming locals and soaked up the quaint splendor of old-fashioned Genoa. Then we picked up deli sandwiches for an idyllic afternoon picnic on the sprawling lawns of Mormon Station State Park. The charming little museum in the park which is full of artifacts from the pioneer era is only $1 and learns about the town’s early settlers.

We had an unforgettable dinner at the JT Basque restaurant in Gardnerville. Thanks to their generous portions, we didn’t leave this place hungry. Their menu has been the same since they opened over half a century ago, and it includes unusual dishes like pig’s trotters and beef tongue stew.

The next day in Minden, we had the chance to experience the Carson Valley from a new high angle aboard a soaring glider. Our pilot gave us the smoothest ride of our lives. After stepping into a tiny cockpit, a tug plane untied us and we glided into the quiet serenity of this engineless hovering plane. It was like flying in the safest toy plane there is, and it ticked all the boxes for an unmissable adventure.

We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring historic Virginia City, Nevada. Being in this colorful and bustling historic city was like taking a step back in history. We took an old-fashioned shot at Silver Sadie’s, bought some jerky from Virginia City Jerky Co., toured the Storey County Courthouse, and stopped for a refreshing drink at the Bucket of Blood Saloon before to get us to Reno.

The highlight here was our stay at the Whitney Peak Hotel, which had stunning decor, a wonderful on-site restaurant – Cafe Whitney – and a huge gym. It is home to the “world’s tallest artificial climbing wall”, designated by the Guinness Book of World Records. Our son had a blast almost 50 feet above the famous arch in Reno. This 164ft outdoor climbing wall was an unexpected and fascinating travel treat and a great way to end our memorable road trip adventure.

WHEN YOU GO

Reno-Tahoe: www.renotahoe.com

Visit Lake Tahoe: www.visitlaketahoe.com

Hard Rock South Lake Tahoe: www.hardrockcasinolaketahoe.com

Clear Kayak Tour: www.tahoepaddlesports.com

Slingshot ride: www.rolltahoe.com

Carson Valley: www.visitcarsonvalley.org

Genoa: www.genoanevada.org

JT Basque Bar and Dining Room: www.jtbasquenv.com

Glider ride: www.soaringnv.com

Visit Virginia City: www.visitvirginiacitynv.com

Whitney Peak Hotel: www.whitneypeakhotel.com

A mountain climber tries his luck in downtown Reno, Nevada. Photo courtesy of Margot Black.

    The author and his family tool around Lake Tahoe, California in their rental Slingshot.  Photo courtesy of Margot Black.

The author and his family tool around Lake Tahoe, California in their rental Slingshot. Photo courtesy of Margot Black.

    A glider plane waits for takeoff for a birds-eye view of Carson Valley, Nevada.  Photo courtesy of Margot Black.

A glider plane waits for takeoff for a birds-eye view of Carson Valley, Nevada. Photo courtesy of Margot Black.

Margot Black is a freelance writer. To read articles by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

A glider plane waits for takeoff for a birds-eye view of Carson Valley, Nevada. Photo courtesy of Margot Black.


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