Nevada’s capital charms as a year-round gateway to outdoor adventure.
The capital city of Nevada, Carson City offers plenty of history and culture, a charming downtown, and is a good base for exploring nearby attractions like Reno, Virginia City, and Lake Tahoe. Situated in Eagle Valley at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Carson City is also a year-round gateway to outdoor adventures spanning hiking, mountain biking, railbiking, off-roading, fishing, golf, and winter sports like skiing and snowboarding. Several RV parks in town offer full hookups and amenities, while plenty of scenic campgrounds can be found nearby, particularly for those who enjoy camping in the high desert, near a lake, or in the forest.
Just north of Carson City in Washoe Valley, Washoe Lake State Park offers outdoor activities like water sports, hiking, biking, and horseback riding, along with wildlife that can include a herd of wild horses. Year-round camping options can be found around the lake at Washoe Lake Campground and at Davis Creek Campground. Or head west from Carson City and find three primitive campgrounds and two backcountry cabins in the Spooner Backcountry at Spooner Summit.
Under 20 miles west of Carson City, Lake Tahoe is the country’s largest alpine lake, complete with 72 miles of shoreline and plenty of beaches, trails, and charming towns along its shore. Camping options are plentiful, and include lakeside campgrounds like Nevada Beach and Zephyr Cove on the Nevada side and both private and public RV and tent camping options on the California side, including in South Lake Tahoe.
Highway 50 may be the Loneliest Road in America but there are plenty of attractions east of Carson City worth exploring, including mining history and wildlife at Dayton State Park and frontier history at Fort Churchill State Park, along with year-round campgrounds at both parks. Further east, Lahontan State Recreation Area offers fishing, boating, water skiing, wildlife viewing, and both a developed campground and primitive beach and high desert camping.
The Carson Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest stretches north and south of Carson City and offers seven developed campgrounds and three wilderness areas for backcountry camping. Further southwest, the Eldorado National Forest offers additional developed and dispersed camping options, and rugged terrain for outdoor recreation.
Summer is the busiest time to visit Carson City, with many visitors also visiting nearby Lake Tahoe. Summer temperatures can soar, making water activities particularly pleasant. Numerous events and festivals are also held over the summer. Spring offers good weather for outdoor activities. Visit in October for fall colors and the Nevada Day Celebration and over the winter to hit the ski slopes around Tahoe.