Gardnerville sits along US 395 close to the East Fork Carson River, adjoining the slightly larger town of Minden. The steep slopes of the Sierra Nevada rise up just a few miles west, separated by a belt of irrigated, agricultural land, while to the east, the terrain quickly becomes arid and empty, sloping more gradually towards the Pine Nut Mountains. The center of Gardnerville is 20 miles from Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park on the east shore of Lake Tahoe, and a similar distance from Topaz Lake, to the south, location of a couple of hotels. All other facilities are in the downtown area. Besides Lake Tahoe, the hotels are also within 70 miles of such places as Mono Lake, the ghost town of Bodie and the east entrance to Yosemite National Park.
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Although its address mentions Gardnerville, the Best Western Topaz Lake Inn is actually 20 miles south of the town along US 395, 1 mile from the Nevada/California border. The hotel occupies an elevated position on the shores of Topaz Lake; all rooms look out east over the lake, half a mile away, and on towards distant mountain ranges, while views to the west are spectacular too, with the Sierra Nevada range rising just a few miles away. The lake is popular for swimming, water skiing, fishing and boating, and the lakeshore village includes a casino/restaurant/lounge for evening entertainment. Free continental breakfast, a fitness center, hot tub and free wi-fi are the main amenities.