Carson City adventures | Waterfalls & hot springs

Sometimes a girl just needs some time in the dirt. After a winter of seemingly endless snow days and many days out enjoying the winter wonders of fresh powder, I was ready to give my skis a break and dig out the hiking boots, heading down to Carson City for a respite from the snow.

I took a day off from work with my sister, Michelle Allen, my dog, Sierra, and Allen’s dog, Copper, for a hike to King Canyon Waterfall, only 5 minutes from downtown Carson City.

The spring day was bright and warm as we embarked from the trailhead at the end of Kingsview Way. We started with the .03-mile trail to the cool, raging waters of the waterfall. A group of about a dozen toddlers and young children and 4 to 5 moms were frolicking in the cool pool at the bottom of the falls.

With then double backed down a short section of trail to pick up the Upper Falls trail that climbed up the canyon. We passed various groups of the kids along the trail, enjoying views of Carson City and the Virginia Range as we made our way up the switchbacks. The trail climbs up and into the fire-scared canyon before crossing Kings Canyon Creek and looping back to the other side of the falls. The views are breathtaking of Carson City, the Carson Range to either side of us, open meadows, and the brilliant purples, golds and greens of spring.

The trail descends down a dirt road that has many spots washed out from the heavy floods over the past winter. The loop trail is 1.8 miles and is moderate; most of the toddlers finished the loop trail about 20 minutes after us. You may also connect to other, longer trail systems from the trailhead.

After a great lunch at Thai Basil in downtown and a few errands, we headed to historic Carson Hot Springs for a relaxing and long soak in a private hot springs room and several laps in the hot springs-fed pool.

Carson City adventures, Part II
Snowstorms continued to bring fresh powder after my first trip and while I enjoyed a little more cross-country skiing, I was ready to call an end to my winter season and we made a return trip to Carson City several weeks later. This time, we brought my 4-year-old nephew, Anikin. I decided on the Riverview Park along the Carson River for a nice walk with the dogs and my sister where Anikin could also ride his bike.

The park offers a number of easy trails of varying lengths that are suitable for anyone. We encountered walkers for all ages and many small children and dogs enjoying another beautiful day. We headed to one of the trails to the Carson River, where we marveled at how swiftly the river was moving and were careful to keep the dogs only on the banks.

We settled in for a spell on a downed tree next to the river while Anikin built sand castles and the dogs relaxed. We then headed back to the car for a return trip to Carson Hot Springs. We relaxed in the hot springs, swam in the pool and even spent time under The Hammer – a hot springs spout elevated more than 20 feet over the pool that really does hammer you when it hits you. Great for tired, achy muscles.

The hot springs is family friendly and is a great spot to unwind and relax. And, you’ll want to try out the brews next door at Shoe Tree Brewing, which opened in March.

The Carson City Visitors Bureau has information and directions to local hiking and mountain biking trails at, including Kings Canyon Waterfall and Riverside Park. For more information on Carson Hot Springs, visit