Laurie Johnson

The Lost Sierra: the New Tahoe Wilderness

sierra buttes in the lost sierra

An area that has been attracting buyers as the ‘new’ Lake Tahoe is the Lost Sierra. It includes the area just north of Lake Tahoe on highway 89, through the northern side of the Sierra Nevada mountain Range. Portions are in the Tahoe National Forest and other areas are in the Plumas National Forest.

The valleys of this region have that Montana ‘big sky’ feel, while other communities are tucked within the rugged mountains and lakes of the North Sierra. The Yuba and Feather Rivers meander through the mountainside, and the region attracts hikers, bikers, kayakers and cross country skiers in the winter.

From 89, traveling south on Highway 49, Bassets Station and Sierra City sit at the foot of the majestic Sierra Buttes. This mountain range looks like the Matterhorn in the winter and the Grand Tetons in the summer. Beyond Bassets Station on highay 49, you will find Downieville, the hub of world class mountain biking.

Graeagle is the hub of the Lost Sierra to the north along highway 89.  You will find the golf communities of White Hawk and Graeagle, popular with retirees and golfers. Loyalton, Quincy and Lake Almanor are also part of the Lost Sierra.

World Class Mountain Biking

The trails throughout the northern Sierra are maintained for mountain bikers who come from all over the world to ride the Downieville Downhill and other mountain trails. Following waterfalls and the old mining camps, the Pacific Crest Trail winds in and out of these trails. The ability to hike and bike into an abundance of wilderness, away from the crowds is appealing to many.

The Lost Sierra is also known as the Plumas and Sierra County region, and is less developed and less crowded than Lake Tahoe. It's rugged terrain, pristine lakes, and abundant wildlife makes it popular for outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, gold panning and mountain biking.

Lake Tahoe is known for its large freshwater lake located on the California-Nevada border and is a popular tourist destination. The area offers a wide range of outdoor activities such as skiing, snowboarding, boating, hiking, and mountain biking, as well as indoor activities such as shopping, dining, and gambling. However, remote working has brought many full time residents into the region, and some buyers have begun to migrate north, away from the crowds.

Those who have grown weary of Lake Tahoe's increasing lack of affordability are discovering an opportunity to experience what the Tahoe basin was like centuries ago. The North Yuba and Feather Rivers feature many riverfront properties and Lake Almanor offers lakefront homes.

Gold Lakes Area

In the mountains above Graeagle, the Gold Lakes area is a scenic region, named for the many small, high-altitude lakes that are surrounded by stunning mountain scenery. The best part is that when you choose your daily hike, you won't encounter the crowds found in Lake Tahoe.

The Gold Lakes area is a popular destination for outdoor recreation, particularly fishing, hiking, and camping. The lakes and rivers are abundant in trout, and anglers come from all over to fish for rainbow, brook, and brown trout. There are also several hiking trails in the area, ranging from easy to challenging, that offer views of the lakes and surrounding mountains.

In addition to fishing and hiking, visitors to the Gold Lakes area can also enjoy kayaking, canoeing, and swimming in the lakes. There are several campgrounds in the area, as well as cabins and lodges for those who prefer a more comfortable stay. The Gold Lakes area is a hidden gem of the Sierra Nevada and is definitely worth a visit for those who love outdoor adventure and natural beauty.

In summary, while both the Lost Sierra and Lake Tahoe offer outdoor recreation opportunities, the Lost Sierra is more rugged and less developed, while Lake Tahoe is more well-known and popular with tourists. The Lost Sierra provides a ground floor opportunity to invest in a growing area.

I have a wonderful listing in Loyalton that offers an opportunity to invest in this growing region.

home for sale loyalton

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Contact me today for more information on available homes in the Lost Sierra and Lake Tahoe, or for a free property analysis of your home.



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