Graeagle, California – A Secret Destination

Given that it’s home to six world-class golf courses and has long been a wedding destination to those in the know, maybe Graeagle isn’t so secret. Either way,  if you aren’t familiar with this picturesque town, you’re missing out. Nestled in the Lakes Basin of Plumas County along the middle fork of the Feather River in California, this family-friendly community is tailor-made for outdoor adventurers and nature lovers alike. Here’s a peek into this frontier mountain town – about 60 miles west of Reno and 46 miles north of Truckee – and what makes it a hidden gem.

From Davies’ Mill to Graeagle – A History

The history of Graeagle –  formerly known as Davies’ Mill –  is reminiscent of so many mountain towns. The California Fruit Exchange of Sacramento bought the town from its founder in the 1920s to manufacture fruit crates, then set about changing the name by having a naming contest for the locals. The winning bid came from a female bookkeeper inspired by Gray Eagle Creek – she dropped the “y” and turned two words into one, coming up with Graeagle and nabbing both the grand prize of $25 and her rightful place in history. 

In 1958, after fruit crates fell out of favor, a timber operator named Harvey West bought the entire town of Graeagle from C.F.E. The sale included all 42 existing buildings and 13,482 acres of land. West’s vision was to turn the area into a quaint rural community, and the rapidly expanding highway system in the following decade made that possible. Today, Graeagle is a gentle hour’s drive west from Reno on infrequently-traveled roads, making it a quick weekend getaway and a popular second home destination. It also attracts its fair share of people looking to trade crowded city living for a simpler way of life, many of whom make this high Sierra mountain town their year-round home. 

An Outdoor Gateway

In the 1970s, timberland around Graeagle was turned into residential homes and an 18-hole golf, and the community today is exactly what Harvey West envisioned decades ago. Families and couples head to Graeagle for its easy access to the Lakes Basin region, home to dozens of alpine lakes and amazing trails for biking, hiking, and backcountry skiing and snowmobiling. Plus, the location puts you in close proximity to Plumas, Lassen and Tahoe National Forests, which means ample fishing, birding or just lounging around on an inner tube in the summer soaking up the sun’s rays.  

The West family continues to support local businesses and build the town’s recreation-based economy, which includes a variety of year-round activities, such as the 50th Annual Graeagle Arts and Crafts Fair this coming July 17 and 17.

Plan a Visit

Check out the town’s official website for more information about visiting and everything this town has to offer. And if this is the kind of place you can see yourself settling in a little more permanently, stay tuned for my upcoming listing!   

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