3 Under-the-Radar Hiking Areas in Carson City Guaranteed to ‘Peak’ Your Interest

 Nevada’s state capital is well-known for its storied history and outdoor recreation opportunities, including convenient access to Lake Tahoe. While some may venture to the popular and often crowded trails surrounding the lake, those in the know get their adventure-on in Carson City where there are a wide-variety of scenic hiking trails with fewer crowds and plenty of variety.

Here are a few paths less traveled.

Prison Hill Recreation Area

Just east of Downtown Carson City lies Prison Hill Recreation Area. With stunning views of the Sierra Nevada mountains, this area features a locals favor, the North Loop, a 5.5 mile trail and as one All Trails user stated, “(It’s a )Great hike for a 40-70 degree day. Amazing views.” While the North Loop does have a steep incline for the first mile or so, it includes gorgeous views of Carson Valley though it has limited shade, making it ideal for early season or early mornings during hot summer days. This trail is most often frequented from March through September.

View and download the full non-motorized Prison Hill Recreation Area Map


Riverview Park

Get lost in the soothing sounds of the river as you explore 109-acre Riverview Park, extending from the Korean War Veterans Park to the banks of the Carson River. The park features wetlands and a network of trails which extend and connect with the Mexican Ditch and Empire Ranch Trails.

The Mexican Ditch Loop Trail is one of the longest and easiest trails in Carson City and it is accessible year-round. The irrigation waterway was created for Silver Saddle Ranch and the trail itself is referred to as the backbone for the southeastern part of Carson City. Interpretive signs sharing the history of Silver Saddle Ranch and the Mexican Ditch trail can be found in the area and a number of trails connect directly into it including Buzzy’s Ranch Trail, Riverview Park, the Carson River Trail and Prison Hill Trail East. The Empire Ranch Trail is a 1.8-mile trail hike traveling along the Carson River and turning west along the south side of Empire Ranch Golf Course. Both trails are great choices for exploring when accessing them through Riverview Park.

Back at Riverview Park, there are many paved trails traversing the area, including a 1.6 mile course and an additional .4 mile nature trail, making it a popular local venue for walk/run events. Dog lovers frequent this trail since dogs are allowed to be off leash so long as they are not in the wetlands and under control of their owners.


Kings Canyon Trail System

Those looking to get in their cardio, should check out Kings Canyon to Ash Canyon Road, a 6.9-mile trail rated as moderate. Described as “miles of twists, turns, smiles and views of Eagle, Washoe and Carson Valleys,” this trail is best accessed from Ash Canyon Road.

Also, hidden in the hills, just a short, five-minute drive west of Downtown Carson City on King Street is the Kings Canyon Trailhead. This trailhead is set to reopen in late spring and leads to a 25-foot waterfall, often cascading in the spring, though, beautiful to see year round. From the trailhead, it’s a short .25-mile hike to the falls, making it the perfect outing for those wanting to stretch their legs but not wanting to make a day of it. Hikers ready for a slightly longer adventure can extend the trail by taking the three-mile loop.

Download the map for the Kings Canyon Trail System.


Added Incentive

 While most visitors would think picturesque, uncrowded trails are incentive enough, Visit Carson City has sweetened its outdoor experiences with its Hungry Hikers & Bikers Pass. Now, hikers get rewarded just by taking in the incredible views from one of the aforementioned trail systems.

Simply check-in at each trailhead listed in the pass to be entered to win the ultimate Carson City Weekend Getaway. Filled with attraction passes, gift cards, hotel stays, and more, this is the perfect opportunity to experience Carson City. Each trail check-in gets you an additional entry into the drawing! Drawings will be done quarterly. The first drawing will be held March 31st and the winner will be contacted by April 8, 2022.

The pass is FREE for locals and visitors and easily delivered by email and text. Get it today!

See you on the trails!