Minden and Gardnerville, Nevada

Updated on May 17, 2018
michelleonly3 profile image

M. D. Jackson has traveled and lived all over the Southwest/Northwest. She visits everything from tourist traps to National Monuments.

Carson River in Minden, Nevada
Carson River in Minden, Nevada | Source

The first thing I want to tell you is “do not go to Carson Valley.” Do not go there and see the sunset over a 10,000-foot peak, do not spend an evening dining alfresco at one of the local restaurants, and do not go hike one of the many trails in the area that lead to a waterfall. I tell you this because there are enough people here already, and although you will be welcomed, this place should stay exactly how it is today.

When people say Nevada, they think of Las Vegas, Reno, or just miles and miles of desert. Carson Valley is not that Nevada. From the air, Carson Valley is a bowl surrounded by mountains on every side. Though it is known for its bird population, this area is also home to cows, horses, goats, and chickens. In between the ranches are small neighborhoods where everyone knows everyone.

Minden and Gardnerville are sister towns in the quiet county of Douglas, Nevada. Nestled at the edge of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Minden and Gardnerville have stunning scenery not typical to other parts of Nevada. Visitors may enjoy the downtown areas of these sister towns as they are both nostalgic and welcoming to visitors. However, the beauty of this town comes from its lush foliage, mountain views, and wildlife. People come to this community to relax and enjoy the slower pace of things here.

Spring In Carson Valley
Spring In Carson Valley | Source

What to Do in Minden and Gardnerville

What should one do in Carson Valley? I made the joke recently that people in this area spend their time taking pictures of the area, and while that is true, there are lots of other things to do in the valley. We have the usual bowling alley, theater, and even small casinos; however, this area is also home to dozens of trails, historic buildings, and even a bald eagle or two.

On a warm day, people park on the edge of the road with binoculars in hand to catch a glimpse of the birds. In spring the birds are nesting in the trees, and the fields are filled with tall grass where the cows that calved in February watch over those calves. There is a peace here that only comes from being in the country. The photos would suggest that you are in a rural northern state, however, I assure you this is Nevada.

The Carson River
The Carson River | Source

Where to Eat

Having been a local in the area for five years I’m going to give you the rundown of my favorite places to eat. For a great down home breakfast in a country diner atmosphere try Cowboys Café. The folks there are friendly and the food is delicious. A bit of a warning: Cowboys Café has large portion sizes, so come with an appetite.

For lunch, try a burger at Minden Meat and Deli. This place gets pretty busy, so set aside some time. If you are in the mood for authentic Mexican food, Minden has two great places La Hacienda Del Sazon and Francisco’s. Both offer amazing shredded beef enchiladas and tacos. Lastly, if you are in the mood for some good barbecue brisket go to Jethro’s. Located in the Gardnerville Ranchos, Jethro’s has an outside smoker that you can smell for blocks. Say hi to Gretchen while you are there.

For pizza, try Chicago Mikes Pizza. These are delicious deep dish pie pizzas. It is the best pizza in town!

Ferris Wheel in Lampe Park
Ferris Wheel in Lampe Park | Source

Fun and Entertainment

These two towns constantly have events. Everything from concerts in the park to parades happen in this little community. The great thing about the area is that Lake Tahoe is only 20 minutes away, and Genoa, Carson City, and Reno are all close by. Before you leave, don’t miss the little town of Genoa, famous for its annual Candy Dance festival. Even California towns like Jackson, Truckee, and Placerville are just a day trip from the Carson Valley. This leaves endless possibilities for a vacation.

Minden, Nevada. Tumblewind is on the right.
Minden, Nevada. Tumblewind is on the right. | Source


What can you do in Minden/Gardnerville? The area has its fair share of antique stores. One my favorites if the Red Barn right on the highway. Even if you are not looking for something this shop has some fun antiques along with the area’s largest selection of reclaimed wood and a taxidermy surprise I will let you discover on your own. Another great place for antiques and collectibles is Tumblewind. Located in Minden’s old town business district Tumblewind has something for everyone. Before we knew the name of this shop, I called it the “one of everything store” and it does have one of everything from antiques to collectibles you are likely to find it here. Don’t let the storefront fool you, this place is huge!

Gardnerville’s old downtown is right on 395 and hosts a row of cute shops and art galleries. Everything from second-hand clothing to handmade items can be found in this adorable downtown area. The area’s largest antique store is also located in Gardnerville. Full of everything from high-end furniture to 1950’s linens, Cheshire Antiques is an adventure. Re-style clothing is the cutest little shop located in one of Gardnerville's historic buildings, this shop has great resale items. Don’t forget to ask these shop owners about the buildings, most of the shop owners know the history and are happy to share.

Sharkey's Casino

You may have noticed Sharkey’s casino as you drove through Gardnerville. This building was originally owned by local folk hero Milos S. “Sharkey” Begovich, or "Sharkey" as he was affectionately known by the locals. If you stick around long enough you will hear stories about this generous local who served Christmas dinners to the locals and was known for his eccentric nature. Many of the artifacts from the original casino are now encased in the bar top of the casino. This casino is still locally owned and operated.

Snow in the Carson Valley With a View of the Sierra Nevada Mountains From Gardnerville
Snow in the Carson Valley With a View of the Sierra Nevada Mountains From Gardnerville | Source

Weather in Minden and Gardnerville

Weather in the Carson Valley is unpredictable. The winter months can brutal. In 2016-17 the Carson Valley had seven months of snow and rain. I swear the sun didn't peak out forever. FEMA was actually camped out in Carson City waiting for the snow melt because we had an 85% chance of flooding. During that time, the roads iced over a lot. Local businesses suffered because people were not out and about. Even for those of us acclimated to the cold, it got to be a little much. The cows calved in the snow that year. Summer only lasts a few months in the valley. In 2011, the Lake Tahoe Fourth of July fireworks were canceled due to snow.

The summer temperatures can get just above 100 degrees. This is known as fire season. Almost every summer for five years, something was on fire. The year of the Yosemite fire we had to leave the area for a few days due to the smoke. So before you plan a trip, see what's on fire.

When the weather is mild, Minden/Gardnerville is heaven on earth. you wonder why people do not know about this place, why it's still this tiny area. Having lived there, I can tell you that it is beautiful year round. One snowy says the mountains are so beautiful it looks like a picture from a postcard. In the spring the rivers and streams reflect the mountains and grass leaving you with a sense that you are closer to nature. I loved living there and I hope you enjoy your visit to Minden and Gardnerville.

Questions & Answers

  • What is the cost of living in Carson City, Nevada?

    The entire area between Reno and Gardnerville is becoming comparable to living in California. The influx of people had jumped the rental costs. An example is that we were renting 1300sft place for $975, when we left in 2017 it was rented for $1350. Now a place that size can run you $1600. Many of the locals have moved to outlying areas. The other thing is that the entire area is prone to flooding. Any year the snow fall is high, areas flood and wash out. In other words be careful what area you move to.

© 2018 MD Jackson MSIOP


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 years ago from UK

      I really enjoyed reading this article. I've learned a lot and especially appreciated the photo of snow in the Carson Valley.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wanderwisdom.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)