Carrie Stevens Walter was born in Savannah, Missouri, and as a child went with her pioneer family to California. Her father Josiah Everett Stevens became a highly successful farmer.
At age 21, she married William Walter, who had come to California as a prospector and settled in Santa Clara county, where he bought a ranch. They had four children. She wrote poems and articles for western periodicals, and in 1893, founded a monthly magazine named Santa Clara, devoted to short stories and literature. She also worked with Andrew Hill on the surveying committee that would help create Big Basin Redwoods State Park.