Basecamp to the Lost Sierra

Just 45 minutes from Truckee-Tahoe and Reno, the Lost Sierra is a world away… but not far. The vast forests, towering peaks and shimmering lakes of the Lost Sierra not only hold a lifetime’s worth of outdoor adventures, but are home to charming small towns that play host to exciting annual cultural events. We like to think that the Lost Sierra is as much a state of mind as a place on the map.

Brewing Lair

Tucked away in the woods near Blairsden you’ll discover the Brewing Lair, Eastern Plumas County’s first microbrewery. Known for their wide variety of hoppy beers, the Brewing Lair is also popular for its super casual outdoor setting, terraced decks, disc golf course, frolicking kids and dogs. Bring your own food to pair with your brews or order from the food truck. Look for a dirt driveway about 1,000 feet east of the Highway 70/89 junction in Blairsden on the north side of Highway 70 and you’re there. Hours vary so call 530-394-0940 to confirm.


Graeagle (pronounced Gray Eagle) is a quaint stop for shopping in the town’s signature red buildings and a bite to eat at a variety of restaurants. Once a company town centered around logging, hence the little red houses, Graeagle now comes to life in the summer around outdoor recreation. The town’s population of less than a thousand and more than 500, swells for the Fourth of July fireworks and parade in the center of town. A focal point of Graeagle is the Mill Pond with family friendly fun like fishing, swimming, BBQing, and playing on the large lawn next to the water.


With five high-caliber 18-hole golf courses within a 20-minute drive of each other, the Lost Sierra around Nakoma is a golfer’s paradise. Each course offers something a little different, including scenery, ease of play and cost. Why not stay at the Inn at Nakoma and play all five courses over a long weekend!?

Nakoma Resort: 7,015 yards
Grizzly Ranch: 7,400 yards
Whitehawk Ranch: 6,940 yards
Plumas Pines: 6,293 yards
Graeagle Meadows: 6,668 yards

Want an easier day on the links? Try the nine-hole course at Feather River Park Resort.


Located about a 10-minute drive from Nakoma, the Lakes Basin Recreation Area offers rugged mountain peaks surrounding more than 20 glacially carved, crystal-clear alpine lakes, most of which are accessible by more than 30 miles of trails — including a stretch of the famed Pacific Crest Trail. The Lakes Basin is an outdoor lover’s dream come true with plenty of camping, fishing, boating, hunting, mountain biking, horseback riding, picnicking, hiking, backpacking, swimming and paddlng. Boat launching facilities are available at Gold Lake. Five campgrounds and three rustic Sierra lodges are options to staying at the Inn at Nakoma.
In the winter visitors can snowmobile, cross-country ski and snowshoe under the soaring Sierra Buttes, Elwell and Eureka Peaks, all with easy access off Gold Lake Highway. But remember, once the snow starts falling, Gold Lake Highway is not plowed!

Smith Lake

Smith Lake is a great destination for a couple of reasons. First, it’s an ideal hike for those with children who are able to hike a short distance — with some uphill effort — and then appreciate the payoff — a shimmering Sierra lake. The hike from Smith Lake trailhead to the lake itself is just shy of two miles one way, but there is a portion of the trail that does go steeply uphill. The positive side is that it’s downhill back to the trailhead! In the summer Smith Lake is a great place for a picnic and swim. Smith Lake trailhead is easy to locate, as it is four miles from the Highway 89-Gold Lake Highway intersection. Turn right at Gray Eagle Lodge sign, drive down a dirt road toward Smith Lake Trail. The trailhead is at the northwest end of the parking area. There is a vault toilet at the parking lot.

Mills Peak Fire Lookout

The views from the Mills Peak fire lookout are fantastic and worth the trip up the mountain. Sitting atop mills peak at 7,340 feet is an active fire look out staffed by the U.S. Forest Serivce during the fire season. From the top of the peak on clear days the views of the Mohawk Valley, Beckwourth Peak, Sierra Valley, Sierra Buttes and all the way to Mt. Lassen are nothing short of spectacular. The best way to get those views you can drive up from the Gold Lake Highway or mountain bike on the Mills Peak Trail. Top to bottom, this 9-mile predominantly singletrack trail is a beast to ride up and a difficult, yet fun trail to descend. You’ll wind through the pines and have fabulous views from many points.

Plumas Eureka State Park

Plumas-Eureka State Park is a hidden gem in the California State Park system. The park is about a 15- to 20-minute drive from Nakoma and is an ideal trip for history buffs, hikers and cyclists. The park was established in 1959, and details California Gold Rush history as well as a kickoff point for day hikes or backpacking trips up the Jamison Creek Trail to several outstanding lakes. The mountain biking and gravel cycling from the park is also superb. The focal point of the park is the museum building and well-preserved historic gold mining area surrounding it. During the summer, tours of the buildings and blacksmithing demonstrations are available.

Plumas National Forest

Nakoma Resort is surrounded by the vast Plumas Naitonal Forest, in the Beckwourth Ranger District. The overall forest is 1,146,000 acres, which means it falls somewhere between Rhode Island and Delaware in size. The Plumas Naitonal Forest was established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905 and is named after its primary watershed, the Rio de las Plumas, or Feather River. Whatever your outdoor pursuit, you’ll find it year around in and on the forest’smany streams and lakes, canyons, valleys, meadows, and peaks.


As far as population centers go in Plumas County, Quincy is it. The town is the county seat and the hub for shopping and groceries, although those can also be had in Graeagle and Portola as well. In 2017, Quincy was named #7 on the list of The Most Beautiful, Charming Small Towns in Northern California by Only in Your State The annual High Sierra Music Festival held over the Fouth of July weekend is one of Quincy’s claims to fame. The Feather River Natural Food Co-op and Quintopia Brewing are excellent places to get a feel for Quincy’s vibe.

Sierra Valley

The vast Sierra Valley is one of North America’s largest alpine valleys. In fact, back in the day — way, way back — the valley formed the bottom of a lake larger than Lake Tahoe. Things have, obviously, changed since the dinosaur days, but the Sierra Valley is nonetheless spectacular today. Along with great road cycling and visiting generational ranches and farms during the Sierra Valley Art & Ag Trail, the valley hosts the greatest diversity of birds in the entire Sierra Nevada — more than 230 species — and is a key stopover on the Pacific Flyway north-south migration route. A popular stopover for humans is the Sierra Hot Springs Resort and Retreat Center just outside Sierraville. At the “top” of the valley, the annual Vinton Cowboy Poetry & Music Show is an event you don’t want to miss.

Feather River Canyon

The more well-known Feather River Canyon is about an hour west of Nakoma on Highway 70. The Feather River Canyon Recreation Area has multiple campgrounds and trails along the west branch of the north fork of the Feather River. It’s a great spot for kayaking, rafting and berry picking in late summer. The lesser-known Feather River Canyon is directly in Nakoma’s backyard! The middle fork of the Feather River runs adjacent to Nakoma and is accessible via the resort’s Falling Water trail. It’s a very steep up and down hike, but the swimming holes and beauty in the bottom of the gorge are outstanding.


Step back in time with a trip to Downieville. The 170-year-old Gold Rush hamlet about an hour drive from Nakoma is a surprise for those who’ve never been and a repeat experience for those who love quaint, quiet towns and fantastic mountain biking. Situated at the confluence of the Downie River and the North Fork of the Yuba River, Downieville’s Gold Rush character hasn’t changed much over the past 100 years. Those seeking clean mountain air, trout in the rivers and challenging mountain biking have replaced prospectors, but thankfully little else has changed in Downieville.

Tahoe National Forest

Tahoe National Forest’s name is actually a tad misleading. While the TNF is huge, its boundaries don’t actually include its famous namesake — Lake Tahoe. That said, there is plenty of adventure to be had throughout the forest, which neighbors the Plumas National Forest. The Sierraville Ranger District manages areas of the TNF near Nakoma, including a portion of the Lakes Basin where the mighty Sierra Buttes reach for the sky. That portion of the forest distric is home to Upper and Lower Sardine Lake and the famous Downieville trail system. While the system is best known for its mountain biking, it is multi-use open to hikers, motos, and equestrians.

Western Pacific Railroad Museum

The Western Pacific Railroad Museum is located in Portola, about 10 minutes from Nakoma. It is a living museum featuring a small diesel locomotive shop typical of the 1950s and ‘60s. The Feather River Rail Society at Portola has one of the largest and most historic collections of diesel locomotives in the United States. The collection includes 40 locomotives and 85 passenger, caboose, and freight cars. The 37-acre grounds include a 16,000 square foot, 220-foot-long building and 2.5 miles of track, all alongside the busy Union Pacific Railroad mainline through the Feather River Canyon.

Lake Davis

Lake Davis is located seven miles north of Portola and about a 20-minute drive from Nakoma. The Lake Davis Recreation Area offers a wide variety of summer outdoor fun including camping, picnicking, fishing, hunting, boating, cycling, and swimming. Although wakeboarding and personal watercraft are not permitted, you can enjoy the lake on a kayak, paddle board or canoe. Rentals are available from the Grizzly Store call 530-832-0270 to reserve or visit for more information. In the winter, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing are popular activities.

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Just 45-minutes north of Truckee, Nakoma Resort invites you to breathe deep… to escape, explore and, above all, enjoy your time creating unforgettable experiences for the whole family.