Browse Real Estate for Sale at Donner Lake
Blame it on my childhood, but I have always found an alpine lake irresistible. I mean a "true" alpine lake; and not a reservoir. At 3 miles long and a little more than 7 miles around, Donner Lake is beyond compare (read more)
Donner Lake Homes for Sale
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There is the history ... early settlers crossed through here during the California Gold Rush years, and some of the emigrants left the makings of a cabin on the East side of the lake that later housed members of the ill-fated Donner Party. The entire ridge to the south of the lake is named for Moses Schallenberger, the young man in an early emigrant party who stayed behind at Donner Lake through an 1844 Sierra winter because he didn't have the energy to keep up with his friends on makeshift snowshoes over Donner Summit. (Schallenberger hung out at the east end of the lake -- now Donner State Park -- trapping and fishing to survive the winter until his friends sent a rescue party back for him.)
There is the recreation ... with public swim docks on the north shore, and a picturesque, white sand pubic beach on its west shore, Donner Lake is one of Truckee's most popular summer hangouts. Kayak, paddle board and jet ski rentals are available at various spots around the lake, and the trails winding around the lake extend to Donner Summit, a regional favorite for rock climbing, cycling, and back country skiing.
Donner Lake is stocked with rainbow trout and kokanee salmon (so stocked that my 5-year-old son caught his first fish here ... a colorful rainbow trout that we took home and filleted for dinner). At Donner Lake, anglers can also find brown trout and Macinaw (a record 34-pounder was caught here in recent decades.).
And then there is the je ne sais quoi of the lake itself... a deep alpine body of water that reflects the majesty of the surrounding Sierra Mountain range like glass on a still summer morning. Warm enough to swim without a wetsuit, and yet deep and vast enough to remind you that you are dipping into something wild, and beautiful, and not readily found in today's world of convenient packaging.
A $2 million Lakefront Cabin
Thanks to its unique appeal, there are never a "ton" of homes for sale at Donner Lake. And those homes that do come on the market tend to sell fairly quickly. Over the past year, homes and condos on Donner Lake have sold within a month on average. Prices have ranged from just under $150k for a studio apartment at the popular Donner Lake Village at the West End, to $2.3 million for this nicely appointed lakefront on the South Shore near the trail to the state park.
Lakefront property at Donner Lake has in recent years carried price tags of $1 million or more. This comes as a shock to some of my clients from other states, who are not used to seeing a cabin on a lake sell for the same price as a luxury urban home.
Cabins at Donner Lake
Many cabins in the neighborhoods surrounding the lake offer lower price tags (some with lake views) and all the walkability that draws buyers to Donner Lake. The South Shore tends to be shadier than the other side of the lake, but also backs to open space trails (including Schallenberger Ridge). Thanks to the fact that the road for cars stops at the state park on the south shore (the cycling and pedestrian trail circles the entire circumference), there is less vehicle traffic on the south shore, and so the atmosphere is more tranquil.
If you need sun, the north side of the lake offers great afternoon sun as well as easy access to several of the public piers for sunbathing, fishing and swimming. The public boat launch is also on the north shore.
West End, home to the public beach, and sort of a flat, walkable area between the lake and Donner Summit, is a popular location both for its walkability and the collection of classic Tahoe cabins that can be found there, many at reasonable prices.
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~ Jackie 775-391-9443