Views of the Carson Valley from the Clear Creek Trail. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Mountain bikers tend to outnumber hikers when it comes to trails in the Jack’s Valley. Not a problem for those on foot, as those with pedals seem to always be courteous even when going fast downhill.

Even though hiking is not the first sport people think of when it’s winter in Tahoe, with the proximity to Carson City and Carson Valley there is plenty of dirt to play in year-round.

Dropping in elevation also offers a change of scenery. About 3,100 acres in this area is managed for winter deer range. Mule deer love the sagebrush. Bitterbrush is the other common vegetation growing here.

Rock formations are like pieces of artwork dropped into the desert. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

It doesn’t take long before views of fertile ranch lands as well as more developed civilization come into view. It’s a gradual, but distinct climb at the start. Then it tapers out a bit.

Seemingly around ever bend is another outcropping of rocks that look like they were planted there. Otherwise it is rather desolate on this stretch of trail. The rocks look like they would be fun to climb; though some would require skill and technical know-how.

While it would be possible to hike 15 miles to get to the Spooner Summit trailhead from Jack’s Valley, we only put in 4.1 miles on the Clear Creek Trail this particular day. It was more about an opportunity to stretch our legs. Getting a late start also didn’t work in our favor with the days so much shorter.

This is a good place to visit most times of the year except the middle of summer because of the heat, lack of shade, and no water. Though, had we gone farther, we would have eventually hit pine trees.

Mountain biking is more popular than hiking in this area. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

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