Nakoma: Calling All Escape Artists

By Dan Gallagher

I love objections. Especially objections (we all seem to come up with) to something that is intrinsically a good idea. These are the objections that tell you a lot about yourself.

The objection we hear the most when discussing purchasing Nakoma real estate is, “Oh, but it’s a long drive,” compared to Truckee-Tahoe.

It’s a funny thing, the interior dialogue that unfolds inside your head when someone presents an idea that sounds great. But then the fun-police inside your head start needling you about why it’s a bad idea; why you shouldn’t do it; why you should stay with the status quo.

It’s unfortunate how much we hear the knee-jerk “long-drive” objection because it almost always foretells the end of the conversation about luxury homes for sale at Nakoma. I suspect a lot of people seeking Northern California land for sale end up paying way more than they intended in Truckee-Tahoe.

And it isn’t a stretch to assume they end up not enjoying a vacation home in Truckee the way they would at Nakoma.

And when it comes to a short-term rental real estate investment in Truckee-Tahoe, forget about it. Moratoriums and restrictions are the order of the day.

Comparatively, here’s what you can expect for short-term rentals in the Nakoma Community.


On the surface I get the whole distance dissonance when comparing Truckee real estate with Nakoma and Graeagle real estate. When you live in the Bay Area driving is rough. The last guy I heard this from hails from Berkeley. I can see his reasoning as he mentally maps out the voyage from Berkeley to Nakoma:

0:00: First, he’s finally got all the stuff in the car, assures himself that the house is locked up (this is Berkeley, after all) and now he sets out to negotiate the surface streets to get over to Highway 24.

0:32: Finally on 24 east, he quickly gets snarled in traffic at the Caldecott Tunnel merge. Staring at the garbage flitting about the side of the freeway, he’s glad to at least get on the east side of the Berkeley Hills.

0:45: Hits traffic at the 24/680 merge.

1:25: Hits traffic at 680/Interstate 80 junction in Cordelia. From here the traffic never quite lets up.

1:45: Crests the hill into Fairfield, back when you used to break free from Bay Area traffic, now just getting into Sacramento traffic.

2:34: Finally breaks free from Roseville, starts climbing the western slope of the mighty Sierra Nevada. Here he’s really starting to feel like he’s getting somewhere. Then, after the initial excitement of getting into the mountains fades, he realizes that he’s still on I-80, and it is a hectic, high-speed vehicular struggle for dominance. Not much opportunity to relax and start enjoying the mountains.

4:10: Arrival in Truckee. If this is the end of the road, one can expect a traffic snarl getting to the vacation house if it’s a busy weekend. If one needs to stop and get some supplies, we can anticipate an experience more akin to a Soviet bread line than pleasant grocery shopping.

horse w cows


From here, the path diverges for Nakoma and Tahoe. Let’s imagine the exact North Shore destination is Tahoe City. The timing for this leg of the trip is going to vary wildly based on traffic — anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour-plus. 

The drive to Nakoma from Truckee is a rather consistent 50 minutes, as there’s rarely ever any traffic. It’s a scenic tour through Tahoe and Plumas National Forests, with aspen-lined streams, the bucolic Sierra Valley’s working ranches, and the signature peaks of the Plumas County skyline.

So, depending on your destination in Truckee-Tahoe, the trip to Nakoma is at most 50 minutes longer (and may be significantly shorter when traffic is snarling up around Truckee and the lake).


The savings for that extra bit of scenic driving in the car are jaw-dropping:

• Land in Nakoma is approximately 1/10th the price of similar properties in Truckee-Tahoe

• Finished homes in Nakoma are about 50-60% the price of similar homes in Truckee-Tahoe

Beyond the savings though are the upgrades in quality of life. Getting away from the herd gives Nakoma owners freedom from crowds and traffic on the road, on the trails, and at the restaurants.