Yesterday afternoon (Sunday, Oct. 5th), my wife Ricki and I decided to check out one of the new trails in the Genoa Trail System by hiking partway up the Sierra Canyon Trail to the intersection with the Discovery Trail (about 2 miles one way). We weren't really expecting much in birds but on the way back down, we encountered a covey of 17 Mountain Quail and listened to the hooting of a Northern Pygmy Owl for several minutes in the same area. This area is about 1.5 miles up the trail from the trail head. This may be a much easier area to try to observe Mountain Quail versus up in the Pine Nut Mountains where I typically see them, as Brunswick Canyon Road can be rough on your vehicle and its tires (I blew one up there earlier yesterday morning).
The trail head is accessed off of Centennial Drive which is just south of the Genoa Cemetery off of Jacks Valley Road just north of Genoa. The trail switchbacks up for the most part in the two miles up to the Discovery Trail and at times, is adjacent to a deep ravine with a stream running down it (which is where the Owl was heard). Once one reaches the Discovery Trail, there are 4 options: 1. come back down as we did, 2. continue another 7.6 miles up the canyon until the trail intersects the Tahoe Rim Trail (9.6 miles one way), 3. go north on the Discovery Trail another 4.2 miles to complete the Eagle Ridge Loop (6.2 miles total) back to where you parked, or 4. go south on the Discovery Trail another 6.2 miles to complete the Genoa Loop (8.2 miles total) back to where you parked. The little bit of the Sierra Canyon Trail that we did was very beautiful and was not that strenuous. We definitely plan on coming back and hiking more of the trails in the system.
A link to info on the trail system on the Carson Valley Trails Association web site is at : http://www.carsonvalleytrails.org/Trails-Genoa.html