Day Trippin' To Graeagle California

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It's an outdoors man's paradise, with proximity to more than 70 lakes, along with thousands of miles of hiking trails. Graeagle, California is less than a tank of gas away from the Truckee Meadows, yet it's hardly visited by our local residents.

To get to Graeagle, you start by heading North on 395. About 27 miles later, you'll hit "Hallelujah Junction." Take a left there and head West on 70 toward Quincy.

You'll travel over the Beckworth Pass and through the town of Portola. When you see the Chalet View Lodge on your left, you're getting close.

Just under 60 miles out of Reno, you'll make a left on Highway 89, and head one more mile until you hit Graeagle.

Betty Heck says the town is a dream for people who want to breathe in the fresh air. The town was once occupied by Native Americans, and now the streets are lined with rows of little red houses, now converted to shops and restaurants.

"They were once the homes of workers in the box factory that was located here years ago and it's still maintained by Graeagle Land & Water. They still own the little red houses," said Heck, who runs the Eastern Plumas Chamber of Commerce.

A good place to eat is the "Graeagle Frostee." Onion rings are their most popular menu item, but the whole family can enjoy soft serve ice cream or a float.

4th of July brings crowds of thousands to the area, but the rest of the year, the small town usually caters to outdoors men, golfers and others who are lucky enough to know about the hidden hot spot.

Take Mill Pond, for example, the most popular place to hang out in Graeagle on a hot summer's day. You can fish, swim, or rent a paddle boat or a canoe for under 15 bucks.

"A lot of people come here every year for family reunions. I've talked to people who have come here every year for the past 50 years with their family," said Nathan Hubert, who works at the Graeagle Outpost.

The Graeagle Stables offer trail rides for people with a flair for horses...or you can stop at the Feather River Resort for a round of golf. The area offers five major golf courses, four of them nationally recognized.

But Graeagle Tourism officials say the great outdoors are the biggest draw to the small town. Just seven miles away is the Plumas Eureka State Park.

You can learn about the area at their small museum...and then camp alongside a small creek. Hiking opportunities are endless, including trails that wind through a dense forest, offering shade from the hot sun.

A round trip to Graeagle from Reno is about 120 miles. At today's average price of $4.15 and 20 miles per gallon...the cost of the trip itself is just shy of $25 dollars. A day of hiking, swimming, and fresh air...washed down with a milkshake...priceless.