Your day trip begins as you depart South Lake Tahoe with your driver/guide by minibus, with seats that recline and large windows that provide views of the mountain scenery during the approximate 90-minute drive across the state line to Virginia City, Nevada.
During the drive, which passes through Carson City, Nevada’s state capital, listen to commentary from your guide about the area’s local animal life, plant life, geology and mining history during the days of the Wild West. Travel along a portion of the old Pony Express, the route from the 1860s that transported mail across the United States, before arriving in Virginia City, which began when the country’s first major silver deposit was discovered.
Hop off the minibus at the Virginia & Truckee Railroad station for your 6.5-mile (10.5-km) round-trip train ride that takes you to the town of Gold Hill and back. During the journey, learn about the history of the railroad, which dates back to 1869. After your train ride, you have about 2.5 hours of free time in Virginia City to spend at your leisure. Explore the historic district, listed on the US National Register of Historic Places, and admire 19th-century buildings that line Main Street like the opera house and historical saloons. Perhaps check out a museum or two, such as the Firemen’s Museum or Mark Twain Museum, or have lunch at a local eatery. (All entrance fees, food and drinks are at your own expense.)
At the end of your free time, re-board the minibus for the return drive to South Lake Tahoe, where your day trip ends.