Get Lost in the Lost Sierra
Just outside Truckee, the Lost Sierra offers a rustic escape with modern touches.
By Vance Fox
Driving through the winding wilderness to the Lost Sierra, a collection of small towns about an hour northwest of Truckee, it’s easy to imagine stumbling across a rogue bear or a rustic log cabin. Since the Gold Rush, Sierra Nevada towns such as Graeagle, Clio, and Blairsden have beckoned with crisp alpine air, clear blue lakes, and a relaxed pace—think Tahoe without the crowds. But the region isn’t all untamed wilderness. Modern touches mix with the natural scenery for a getaway that’s equal parts adventure and relaxation.
An architectural oddity peeks through the trees at Nakoma Resort, where you’ll find the only clubhouse ever designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The resort took inspiration from Wright’s open and modern lines for its new 42-room Lodge at Nakoma, overlooking the championship golf course’s eighth hole. Throw in a spa and adventure center—plus a recreation center that broke ground this summer and a marketplace planned for next summer—for a truly luxurious escape. 348 Bear Run, Clio, (877) 462-5662, nakomaresort.com.
September is ideal to explore the Lost Sierra, with temperate weather, warmer lakes, and The Lost Sierra Hoedown. The four-day, family-friendly music gathering and campout welcomes diverse musical acts, and promotes unplugging and reconnecting with nature. September 22–25, Johnsville, lostsierrahoedown.com.
For a taste of the local beer culture, enjoy a sampler of small-batch brews from an Adirondack chair at The Brewing Lair, where you can get active with disc golf or corn hole, or let the kiddos play with dinosaur toys on picnic tables overlooking a tranquil meadow. Wine buffs will love the seasonal Graeagle tasting room for Indian Peak Vineyards, specializing in Bordeaux-style wines plus a dessert vino perfect for when temperatures start to cool. 67007 CA-70, Blairsden, (530) 394-0940, thebrewinglair.com; 7482 Hwy. 89, Graeagle, (530) 836-2466, indianpeakvineyards.net.
Forget leisurely cycling through the pines: Adrenaline junkies flock to the Lost Sierra to hurtle over rocks and tree roots on mountain bikes. Even novices are in good hands with Howling Dogs Bike and Ski, which offers top-of-the-line full-suspension bikes, gear, and advice. If venturing off-road on two wheels sounds daunting, hike Frazier Falls Trail to the namesake falls. 7540 Hwy. 89, Graeagle, (530) 836-2754, howlingdogsbikeandski.com; Old Gold Lake Rd., graeagleplumas.com/hiking.html.
While you can’t go wrong with a house-made wild mountain blackberry truffle at Buckaroo Chocolates, don’t miss the “Trigger”: vanilla ice cream sandwiched between chocolate chip cookies and dunked in chocolate. For dinner, snag a seat on the patio at Cuccia’s Pasta, Pizza, and Wine Bar, which specializes in pizzas and pastas, using recipes handed down from the owners’ Sicilian grandmother. And grab a nightcap at Blackbird Inn, where local beer on draft, live music, and (allegedly) the occasional ghost await. 7512 Hwy. 89, Ste. 121, Graeagle, (530) 927-7522, buckaroochocolates.com; 545 Mohawk Hwy., Graeagle, (530) 836-2121, ilovecuccias.com; 276 Lower Main St., Clio, (530) 836-7325, blackbirdinnclio.com.