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Historic Adventures Await you!


The Sierra Adventures region is filled with Adventures of pioneers, American Indians, Gold Rush Days and 49ers, Historic Longboard, Downhill Skiing and purses. Saloons, Iron Railroads, Logging and old Mill Towns, Cowboys, 


The Sierra Adventures region covers 30,000 square miles and includes the counties of Modoc, Lassen, Plumas, Sierra, Nevada and Placer in California and Ormsby and Washoe in Nevada.  Although you may not know what county you are in, if you do you can click on the county link and learn more about the history, people, towns, events, and things to do tjere.

Carson City, NV

Brief History of Carson City, Nevada


Wikipedia Carson City Link

Nevada Counties Info Link

Carson City is located in what was first known as Eagle Valley named by the early emigrants.  Here is where Kit Carson halted while guiding Fremont to beautiful Lake Tahoe and the Golden West, located south of Carson City through Woodford’s Canyon in 1843-44.  Carson City was named by Major Ormsby in honor of Kit Carson and became the county seat of Carson County. 


Carson City and Ormsby County (renamed after Major Ormsby) are the gateway north to the Sierra Adventures territory offering today’s visitors a glimpse into the history of the area.  

Sierra Adventures covers the towns and hamlets from Carson City north to the Oregon border and from the Crest of the Sierra Nevada mountains east to the east side of Reno/Sparks.  Through the Sierra Adventure's History Adventures webpages, we offer visitors to the region a glimpse into daily life that our ancestors experienced.

In 1859, Congress created the Utah Territory which included the present State of Utah, most of Nevada, parts of Colorado and Wyoming. Under Abraham Lincoln,  Nevada was admitted to the Union October 31, 1865 and in 1869 the Legislature provided funds for the State Capitol to be built.  On January 1st, 1871 the capitol was ready for the Fifth Session of the Legislature. 


The Nevada Capitol is situated at the base of the Sierra Mountains.  The land and lay out of the building was donated by founder Abraham "Abe" Curry in 1858.  He also donated the block upon which Carson City Branch of the United States Mint, now the Nevada State Museum, stands.  In 1879, the branch of the US Mint in Carson City was established to strike coins from the Comstock Silver Lode.

The first route over the mountains to Lake Tahoe was the King’s Canyon Road over which the supplies, provisions and machinery for the Comstock Mines was hauled by teams, and for Carson City, Dayton, Silver City, Empire and Virginia City, and also the mills along the Carson River. 

In 1870, the Virginia & Truckee, Queen of the Short-Line Railroads, was competed between Virginia City and Carson City.  They transported the rich silver ore from the mines.  The last train between the two cities was closed down in 1939.  Today, the V & T line is being reconnected to draw visitors to the region.  The Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City houses many restored trains of the famous historic line.

Carson City is the center of many points of interest, the State Capitol Building, the Stewart Indian Reservation, the State Prison, Courthouse, National Guard Armories, Supreme Court Building, State Law Library, Governor’s mansion, and the Nevada State Museum, and Highway Grounds and Building and many other notable State buildings.

Carson City's historic residential district dates back to the 1860's and is the largest historical home district in Nevada.  Some 59 historic buildings and sites are identified along the blue line known in the Kit Carson Trail. The historic Governor's Mansion is located in the heart of the historic district.


Twelve miles over highway 395 to the South is beautiful Carson Valley, Mono Lake and the mining town of Bodie, California.  Over Highway 95 to the South, one rides through beautiful Smith and Mason Valleys in Lyon County to Yerington, where the large Anaconda copper pit resides, thence to Hawthorne, Tononpah, Goldfield and Las Vegas. 

Sixteen miles distant over the Clear Creek Highway, U. S. Route 50 visitors will encounter magnificent Lake Tahoe with its emerald waters and towering snowcapped mountains.  Lake Tahoe is partly in Nevada and partly in California and the Sierra Adventures’ region offers to the area plenty of information on places to stay, things to do and history of the emigrants and pioneers that discovered the area.

Lake Tahoe Basin

Facts and History of Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe sits at an elevation of 6,229 feet and holds some 122 million acre feet of water. Lake Tahoe is 22 miles long by 12 miles wide.  Its surface area covers some 193 square miles with 85,200 acres in California and 37,000 acres in Nevada.  The shoreline encompasses 71 miles with 42 miles in California and 29 miles in Nevada.  If one includes the watershed area, Lake Tahoe is approximately 519 square miles of water and mountain side.  The maximum depth of Lake Tahoe is 1,645 feet with an average depth of 989 feet. The off-shore surface water temperature is between 41 degrees and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. 


Peoples of Lake Tahoe Basin

The Washoe First People of the Lake

Washoe Indians made Lake Tahoe and some 10,000 square miles of land surrounding the Lake their home as the First People to inhabit the area over two thousand years ago.  In their native language they call Lake Tahoe simply, "The Lake."  It remained thier own until around 1848 to 1863 when pioneers and "the white people" encroached and the Washoe tribes officially lost all of its lands to miners, settlers and others.

Today only 1500 members remain scattered in the Reno, Carson Valeey and Gardnerville areas.


The Basques of Europe

The Basque people from Spain and France were among the first arrivals to the Lake Tahoe region contributing their language, culture and epertise.  They became synomomous with sheep herding and passed long lonely days of summer in the "high country" tending their herds.  They carved their stories on Aspen trees, called Arborglyphs and very few remain prior to 1900 yet they shed light on roughly one hundred years of American Western History.


The Chinese Experience

The Chinese called Calfornia "Gold Mountain."   It was named for the gold strike of 1849. Because of intense economic and political turmoil in China in the 1800's, it drove many Chinese from their homeland to the American West for jobs in mining and building the  transcontinental  railroad.  Most came from the southwestern provinces of China. They were known for their skill and endurance.  They brought with them their language, culture and ethnic food, medicines and other items. Chinese tea imported to the new World was dumped into the harbor during the Boston Tea Party rebellion. They traded genseng root and procelain.

In the Tahoe Basin, 1870-1890, Chinese laborers, organized by Chinese middlemen from Carson city, dominated the cord wood cutting and flume tending industries.  "Green Gold" timber of the Sierras was used to brace shafts, for fuel and building materials.  Glenbrook held the largest known group of Chinese in the Lake Tahoe basin tending gardens of fresh vegetables.

Many Chinese men left their families in China to strike it rich in America.  At that time US Immigration laws in 1880's prevented familes and frobade interracial marriages.  Men banded together for protection and companionship forming bachelor households in logging camps.

Opium was widely used in both Europe and the U.S. in the 1800s. Upper class women preferred their opium in liquid medicines, while the Chinese preferred to smoke it.

For More Information about Chinese Heritage
Hertiage Resource Manager
U.S.D.A. Forest Service
Lake Tahoe Basin

Graeagle, CA

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Truckee & Old Town

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Railroad Museums

Nevada State Railroad Museums

Carson City, NV



Portola Railroad Museum

Western Pacific

Portola, CA



Recreatopm - Beauty - History -Scenic Wonder


Hwy 70 from Oroville, CA to I-395 25 miles north of Reno is one of the most stunning mountain drives in the country.  You'll follow the Feather River Railroad line, find tunnels through stone m ountains and train and road bridges that were built in the early 1900s.

Virginia City, NV

Virginia City and the Comstock Lode

In the 1850's through 1857, emigrants on their way to California, following the Carson River to what they named at that time Hall’s Station (which was later renamed Mineral Rapids and later China Town, and is now the town of Dayton) prospected for gold in the streams and canyons west of Dayton.  There arose Gold Canyon, Silver City, then the town of  Devil’s Gate and Gold Hill.



Brothers Allen and Josea Gosh in 1857 and 1858 discovered silver in the lower part of Gold Hill.  They both died in the winters of 1857 and 1858, and the secret of their discovery was not known until many years afterwards, from letters they had written to relatives back East.   


In the meantime, James Finnemore also known as James Finny and nicknamed “Old Virginia,” he too found silver ore at the head of Gold Canyon near Gold Hill in 1858 and 1859.  Patrick McLaughlin and Patty O’Riley prospected nearby in the Six Mile Canyon. 



These early pioneers are woven into the history of the Comstock Lode.  Famous mines include the Gold and Curry, the Savage, the Con Virginia, the Crown Point, and many others. By 1869 the real rush was on.


Thousands of people poured into Virginia City.  From 1876 to 1877, a short period of only two years over $75 million was produced.  From 1859 to 1882 over $320 million was produced and another $56 million followed until 1919 making a grand total of some $375 million accounted for.  Some historians estimate that the output was more than $500 million.



Today Virginia City is a lively ghost town where thousands of tourists come annually to experience the gold and silver rush days and to view the many historical places and listen to the stories of the gold camp.  Visitors can learn about the many self-made millionaires from the Mac Kay’s, the Floods, the Fairs, the O’Brien’s, Senator Sharon and others.  From this historic, wonderful gold camp of Virginia City flowed the wealth that helped build the grand city of San Francisco, its Palace and Fairmont Hotels, Wells Fargo Bank and the Bank of California.  The history of the railroad and steam engine can also be experienced here. 


Visitors must take a full day to wander the streets of Virginia City, take in the stories of the people who fearlessly settled the wild, beautiful and desolate territories.  We invite you to return again and again as our website is updated and grows with with more fascinating tapestries that will have you coming back again and again to the Sierra Adventure’s region.

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