Saturday, May 2, 2015

Valley View Loop Trail with Carson Valley vistas

Valley View Loophead of Fay-Luther/Jobs trail network

A Fay-Luther/Jobs Peak Ranch Trail sideways trip

Looking at the above picture, you may conclude that the Valley View Loop closes its loop just behind the trees. This is not the case. The Valley View Loop is a one-mile-and-a-half-long round-trip trail through open pine forest and foothill steppe. It is connected with the bi-state Fay-Luther Trail System in the Carson Range foothills southwest of Minden/Gardnerville, Douglas County, Nevada.

Multi-trail-junction post
The loop trail itself is also located in Nevada; just so. As you are starting your trip from the Fay-Luther Trailhead next to the Foothill Road (Nevada State Route 206), 1.7 miles west of Highway 88 and a few miles south of Genoa and the base of Kingsbury Grade, you soon will cross the clearly marked California-Nevada state line—about half-way between the trailhead and the multi-trail junction (see shown trailpost) 0.3 miles southwest of the trailhead. From this junction, a 0.3-miles-long trail section of the Fay-Luther/Jobs Peak Ranch Trail takes you to the junction with the Lonesome Trail, followed by a 0.4-miles-long section that gets you to the beginning of the Valley View Loop Trail. After about a quarter mile you will arrive at the Valley View Loophead shown above.

Deer “trapped” in the loop through sagebrush steppe
Most of the loop travels through sagebrush/bitterbrush steppe, similar to the landscape experienced further north alongside sections of the Clear Creek Trail. Big sagebrush, bitterbrush and rabbitbrush dominates the gentle slopes below timberline at the bottom of the Carson Range. Deer likes to browse these areas. One creek is intersecting the loop. Alongside the creek you will find riparian vegetation, including white alder and black cottonwood, sharply contrasting the steppe zonation through which the water flows downhill into the Carson Valley marshlands. Various points along the loop trail offer views of the marshlands, ranches, and private properties in the park neighborhood. More distant, the Pine Nut Mountains and the Flowery and Virginia Ranges define the horizon.

View of  Carson Valley's Minden/Gardnerville area 
The Fay-Luther Trailhead/Valley View Loop round trip is about four miles long. Alternatively, there is the two-miles-longer alternative from the Jobs Peak Ranch Trailhead. Either way you will not find much shade except for the upper trail sections with Jeffrey pines, singleleaf pinyon and mountain mahagony. The north-side part of the Jobs Peak Ranch Trail leads mostly through private land, while most other trail sections lay in forest-service land.

Map inset showing Valley View Loop Trail
Both trail options are open for pedestrian use and dogs, but only the Fay-Luther side of the Jobs Peak Ranch Trail allows also equestrian and bicycle use. The Fay-Luther and Jobs Peak Ranch Trailheads are 3.5 miles apart [1,2]. The bicycle-open sections of the foothill trails do not feature steep tracks, but the sandy trail conditions can be a challenge to mountain-bike riders.

Note: You may also find the spelling Faye-Luther instead of Fay-Luther.

Trail map and selected references
[1] Fay-Luther/Jobs Peak Ranch Trail Map:
[2] Fay-Luther/Jobs Peak Ranch Trail System:
[3] Sierra Nevada Geotourism. Fay-Luther Trail System:
[4] Jobs Peak Ranch Trail near Minden/Gardnerville: