Serene Lakes


Serene Lakes is a 1,041-lot alpine community, approximately 4 miles off Interstate 80, at Soda Springs. It is 4 square miles of beautiful land, surrounded by the Tahoe National Forest on two sides, offering exclusive Lakefront and view properties in the High Sierras. Serene Lakes is located 171 miles from San Francisco, 84 miles from Sacramento, 43 miles from Reno and 12 miles from Truckee. The elevation ranges from the lake level of 6870’ to a high of just over 7,000’.

Originally these lakes were called Ice Lakes and most USGS and USFS maps still refer to them that way. The Overland Emigrant Trail, dating back to approximately 1846, crosses through the area.

The climate consists of an average rainfall of 14.8 inches per year and an average snowfall of 400 inches per year. The snowfall has ranged from a low of 159 inches in 1980-81 to a high of 1,226 inches in 1982-83. This is a lot of snow! Some residents enter their homes through the 2nd story windows/doors during peak snow times. The winters are longer. When the town of Truckee is free from snow, Serene Lakes still usually has snow on the ground. The temperature ranges from 5 to 50 degrees in the winter and 56 to 85 degrees in the summer. The lowest temperature on record is –9 degrees.

Serene Lakes is surrounded by land owned and managed by the US Forest Service and Royal Gorge. The area is in Placer County, with the county seat in Auburn. All paved subdivision roads are county roads with snow removal and road maintenance done by the county. There is only “off-road” parking from November to April to facilitate snow removal. Portions of some streets, where there are no homes, are not plowed. This doesn’t interfere with access to homes in the winter, but the route you take to your home may have to be altered during the winter months. Homeowners provide their own snow removal in their driveway areas during this time.


PG&E services the area, but there is no natural gas. Electricity, propane, and oil heat the homes. Cable television is available except in that area that is served by underground utilities. Garbage service is available on a weekly basis. A school bus serves the area.

The Sierra Lakes County Water District provides water and sewage handling. The drinking water comes out of the upper lake (Serena), is treated, and then stored in a 300,000-gallon (underground) tank. Sewage is pumped out of the development to the Donner Summit PUD is Soda Springs. Currently water and sewage is $1,827 per year, and can be paid in two installments. There is a “standby fee” of $60 per year for vacant lots. There is also a water tax of $.45 per $100.00 on the land value only paid annually.  Fee’s can change and borrower strongly advised to check with local authorities for correct amounts.

Fire protection

Structural fire protection is provided by Donner Summit Fire Department. The US Forest Service and the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection protect the wildlands.

Homeowner’s Association

There is a homeowner’s association. Joining is not mandatory, but encouraged. The dues are $50.00 annually for improved property and $25.00 for unimproved land. There are recorded CC&R’s relating to this subdivision. The CC&R’s are very outdated and very unenforceable since there is no governing body to enforce them. The homeowners do try to live by and follow the appropriate CC&R’s. There is an architectural review committee to help homebuilders with the building process. Their purpose is to keep the area looking like a mountain community and to correct any glaring errors the builder might have in this area of extreme winter weather conditions.


Swimming is prohibited in Serene Lake, but allowed in Dulzura Lake. There are no motorized boats allowed on the lake. The fishing is excellent. The Sierra Lakes Property Owner’s Association maintains a recreation area that includes a sandy beach, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits and picnic areas.

Sugar Bowl, Soda Springs, Boreal Ridge and Donner Ski Ranch are all within 10 minutes by car. The Royal Gorge cross-country ski area operates on the property adjacent to the Serene Lakes subdivision. The other ski areas within twenty miles are Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, and Northstar.