Donner Summit Neighborhoods & Subdivisions

Donner Summit is located at the top of Old Highway 40 and Interstate 80 at an elevation of approximately 6800’, and receives considerable more snow than Truckee in the wintertime. The actual elevation of the Summit is over 7200’. There are several alpine ski and boarding resorts located in this area including Sugar Bowl, Boreal, Donner Ski Ranch and Soda Springs and Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Area, the largest cross-country ski facility in North America. Neighborhoods include Serene Lakes, Soda Springs, Pla-Vada Woodlands, Kingvale, Norden and Towle Mountain Properties.

Serene Lakes

The largest subdivision in the unincorporated community of Soda Springs, Serene Lakes is located about 1 mile south of Soda Springs, 1.5 miles from Interstate 80. Originally the Serene Lakes were called Ice Lakes which originated in the 1860s when the lakes was an ice harvesting station for the San Francisco area. The 2 lakes –Lake Serena (the upper lake) and Lake Dulzura (the lower lake) — were supposedly named by Mark Twain in honor of his daughters. Approximately 2400 acres, the Serene Lakes subdivision is comprised of 1000 lots with an average size of 1/5 acre. Approximately 800 of the lots are private homes, a majority of which are vacation homes; however there are full time residents. The community is surrounded by land owned and managed by the US Forest Service and world class Royal Gorge cross country ski resort. There is a boat launch (no power boats allowed) and a large beach for swimmers maintained by the HOA at the lower lake, with areas for horseshoes, volleyball, barbecues, picnics and swimming. Though all property owners are encouraged to join the HOA, SLPOA, membership is not mandatory. Homes are served by PG&E, Sierra Lakes Community Water District sewer and water and propane by individual selection.

Soda Springs

The summit community offering the most services, Soda Springs has a post office, general store, hotel, ski/board and bicycle shops, gas station and other conveniences. A majority of the homes are directly on Donner Pass Road or slightly in from Donner Pass Road. The latter are accessed by unplowed dirt roads and winter access is “walk-in”. Homes are served by PG&E, Donner Summit PUD sewer and water and propane by individual selection.

Pla Vada Woodlands, Kingvale and Cisco Grove

These are subdivisions geared towards snow play. There is a popular sledding hill in Kingvale, just off I-80. Pla-Vada’s name was made from combining the names of Placer and Nevada Counties, as the land borders both counties, and is around the 6000’ elevation. There are a total of 352 lots in the Pla-Vada subdivision and the roads are plowed by the mandatory HOA. However, with only with a “modified” plow, approximately 8 inches of snow is left on the roads for snowmobile access. Many houses back to large acreage parcels and some border the South Yuba River. The roads in Kingvale are unplowed whereas the roads in Cisco Grove are about 50% plowed. The homes in these subdivision tend to border Old Highway 40 or the South Yuba River. Freeway access is close by. Homes are served by PG&E, PUD sewer and water and propane by individual selection in Pla-Vada. Kingvale and Cisco Grove homes are served by PG&E, individual sewer systems, PUD water and propane by individual selection.

Norden

A small, unincorporated community, Norden lies along the First Transcontinental Railroad. Historic Sugar Bowl resort, dating back to the 1930s, is located in this community as is the smaller resort, Donner Ski Ranch. Both areas have condos and private homes served by PG&E, PUD sewer and water and propane by individual selection.

Towle Mountain Properties

Offering 20 to 60 acre parcels, Towle Mountain Properties is a unique community. There are no plowed roads so access to properties is by snowmobile. HOA is mandatory. Homes are served by individual sewer (septic) and wells. Power is generally gas generator or alternate sources.

Emigrant Gap

Located about 20 miles west of Soda Springs and 5 miles east of Blue Canyon, Emigrant Gap is lower in elevation (5200′) and has good winter access.  It is also closer to Sacramento and the Bay Area.

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