Have Horse Will Travel: Carson City, NV

Welcome to the great state of Nevada – home to Las Vegas, hot springs, aliens…and, of course, wild horses!

The wild wild west saw its official end when the last of the western territories were admitted to the Union as states. Nevada was one of those territories, a part of the frontier west of the Mississippi, gaining its statehood in 1864.

Kit Carson Statue, Carson City, NV. (Noah_Loverbear/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Mining was a major part of Nevada's colorful history with silver, gold, cinnabar, and salt extracted from its earth with camels transporting some of the goods mined.  Nevada was once covered by ocean water, and when the water disappeared, the salt remained, covering 30,000 acres on the Utah-Nevada border.

Of course, Las Vegas is a premier destination in Nevada; for many, Vegas – with its gambling and many casinos, celebrity status, and entertainment – is Nevada.

But even with all its glam and glitter, Las Vegas is only a small piece of a very diverse landscape. Nevada features a wealth of opportunities for travel and adventure. Breathtaking scenery, history, and cultural settings where one can create memories while reveling in the past, and enjoying a true Nevada experience.

Located about 20 miles from Lake Tahoe on the eastern edge of the Carson Range (part of the Sierra Nevada range), Carson City was named after mountain man Kit Carson. Once a layover for California-destined immigrants, its population increased upon the Comstock Lode silver strike. The layover quickly became a city, and then the capital of Nevada with statehood in 1864.

Take a train ride from Carson to Virginia City, via the V&T Railway for a taste of how railways and travel changed the west.  Visit the Nevada State Railway Museum and immerse yourself in the local history of the railway, its beginnings, and how it transformed the region.

© Marcello Rostagni / V&T Railway

While you are there you can visit the Nevada State Capitol Building; it was completed 150 years ago, and came to fruition about the same time as the railway.  Silver strikes brought prosperity and economic wealth, along with population growth in large numbers.

While certainly not the mega-resorts of its larger counterpart, Carson also has plenty of gambling houses with fine dining and entertainment, some with lodging! Carson Nugget Casino and Hotel is a landmark institution, having  60 years and more of existence in this locale.  Over time it has evolved with new ownership and renovations, updating its appearance and dining experience.  The Nugget is now home to Carson Comedy Club, which features a lineup of familiar faces in the comedic world.

Enjoy the theatre? Wild Horse Productions is a non-profit organization formed in 2007 with the mission of enhancing and enriching the community through performing arts classes, high-quality live theater, outreach programs in the community, and other educational programs in the theatrical arts. Wild Horse Productions is compromised of two theatrical divisions: Wild Horse Children’s Theater for youth audiences and Wild Horse Stage Company (previously known as Wild Horse Theater Company) for adults and young adults. Wild Horse Productions is the resident company at the Brewery Arts Center in Carson City, NV.

Speaking of wild horses…Nevada is home to a large portion of the USA’s wild horse population, with over 300 horses in the Carson Valley, in the vicinity of Pine Nuts Mountain, less than an hour's ride from Carson City.

Craig Downer – an ecologist, environmentalist, and wild horse advocate – is eager to educate the public on Nevada’s wild horses.  A native of Nevada, Downer is familiar with more than just the landscape – he has more than 40 years of professional experience in ecological research, education, activism, public speaking and more, meaning that Craig’s wild horse safaris are not only an adventure into the wilds of Nevada but also an educational experience.

The wild horses and burros of this state are the subject of environmental and political debate. Downer can give you a professional view of these horses and the land on which they depend for survival.  As an ecologist, he has dedicated his life to saving the environment as well as being a wild horse advocate.

Contact Craig Downer at  ccdowner@aol.com to request a wild horse safari or check out his website The Wild Horse Conspiracy for more information.

So if you are looking for a travel destination that is an educational and heartwarming adventure, look no further. The state of Nevada and its capital Carson City is home to many adventures with something for everyone whether it's outdoor activities, historical destinations, or cultural events; see Visit Carson City for more information.

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Barb currently resides in Central Florida with her three horses; when she’s not writing or riding for HRL, she loves to read and travel. horseandriderliving@gmail.com