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Carson Valley, Nevada, Brings the Old West to Life for Kids

by Barbara Rogers

Sep 13, 2022

© Gettysburg | Dreamstime.com

Kids

Learning about the pioneers and America’s westward expansion in school doesn’t make nearly the impression on kids as seeing it for themselves. That’s what they can do if you make Nevada’s Carson Valley part of your family’s travel plans.

 

A good place to begin is Dangberg Ranch, home to generations of one of the region’s first settler families. Preserved to show what life was like in the early ranching days, the 1857 home is furnished as it was and displays clothing, household utensils, children’s toys and other artifacts of a ranch family in the 1800s.

 

Pioneers making their way west stopped to reprovision at the trading post at Mormon Station before crossing the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This was Nevada’s first permanent non-native settlement, built in 1851 to serve travelers along the Carson Route of the California Trail. Kids can see pioneer artifacts in the reconstruction of the trading post (the original burned down more than a century ago).

 

Mormon Station is in Genoa, a town that looks like the film set for a western movie. But Carson Valley isn’t all about history; families can take guided wildlife tours to see bands of Nevada’s wild horses roaming free. On one of these off-road tours, you might see some of the raptors and birds of prey living here.

 

To explore the great outdoors on your own, head to River Fork Ranch, an 800-acre preserve of the Nature Conservancy with trails along the Carson River. This is a good place to spot bald eagles and other wildlife. You can find information on more trails for hiking and biking from Carson Valley Trails Association.

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