Banner Mountain: Top O’ the World |

Banner Mountain: Top O’ the World

One of the most prestige addresses in Nevada County is Banner-Lava Cap Road, a pleasant, wooded area that affords residents the feeling of living in the country coupled with the convenience of being just minutes away from shopping in Nevada City and Grass Valley.

Within five to ten minutes, residents can travel to Nevada City via Gracie Road which intersects Banner-Lava Cap, or take Old Tunnel Road into Grass Valley’s Brunswick Basin shopping district.

Banner-Lava Cap is one of the three roads that traverse Banner Mountain, the other two being Red Dog and Idaho-Maryland Road. They meet at the top of the mountain which looks out over snow capped views of the coastal range. Elevations range from 2,500 feet to 4,300 feet at the highest point.

Residents on Banner-Lava Cap Road also have a Nevada City address, which carries its own prestige, says Guy Selleck, manager of the Nevada City office of Network Real Estate. Selleck has been marketing properties along Banner-Lava Cap Road for the past 30 years.

“It’s upscale living. I am telling clients we are Santa Barbara North,” says Selleck.

The three-mile stretch has about 200 homes and an average price range of well over $600,000, Selleck says. At the low end, there are fixer-uppers, with no acreage, priced at $400,000. High end properties go up as high as $2 million “for a spectacular estate,” says Selleck.

Parcel sizes range from about a tenth of an acre to several acres in size, says Daniel Ketcham, a broker and appraiser who works with developers and builders in the Banner-Lava Cap community. Newer developments such as Northview are offering homes in the $1 million plus range, says Ketcham. Another desirable neighborhood is the Forest Knolls subdivision with homes ranging from $500,000 to $1 million plus.

One of the newest options is the Altair subdivision at the intersection of Banner-Lava Cap and Idaho-Maryland. The 31-lot development offers some lots with spectacular views toward the Sierra, says Ketcham. “Retired people are coming in and building their dream home,” he says. Outside of the subdivisions, he notes, the homes tend to be older and smaller. The style of homes are diverse, from ranch style home to classic Tudors to mini mansions.

Owing to its desirability, inventory doesn’t stay on the market long, according to Selleck. About 90 percent of the community is already developed. Undeveloped land is therefore at a premium. A two acre parcel on Banner Mountain lists for $469,000, says Selleck. It is one of only three parcels available.

Since Banner-Lava Cap is higher elevation, it has essentially the same snowfall pattern as Nevada City, with a big advantage for the residents: the community is in the unincorporated area of the county and the roads are paved, and routinely plowed after a storm. Residents should like snow, however, if they want to live on the mountain. The 2006 late winter snow season is a testament to how much snow can fall in the Nevada City area! On the reverse, residents do get a little cooler temperature during Nevada County’s hot summer days.

Another major advantage is that the area has a rural feel yet has NID public water available, as well as PG&E natural gas hookups. Residents with school age children will also enjoy the good schools in the Nevada City school district.

For recreation, the Tahoe National Forest can be accessed by crossing over Banner Mountain and within 20 miles, there are four major recreational lakes. Scotts Flat, Engelbright, Rollins Lake and Bullards Bar all offer plenty of summer recreation without the overcrowded feeling of Shasta or Lake Tahoe. River lovers also have the Bear and Yuba rivers nearby.

Mountain bike enthusiasts can travel the Banner-Jones Loop, with the trailhead at Brunswick Basin, according to the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce. The 20 mile ride goes up Banner-Lava Cap, to Red Dog, then toward Greenhorn Creek, winding back to Brunswick. The Nevada City Chamber of Commerce has a great website with information on mountain biking trails. Visit

Pilots know Banner Mountain for its beacon at the summit. On a clear, crisp night they can see the beacon as far away as San Jose.

Banner-Lava Cap Road offers buyers the advantage of a prestige address, a beautiful wooded setting and at the same time, urban amenities such as utilities and nearby shopping, a grand slam!

Banner Mountain- Zip code: 95959

Elevation: 3899 ft.

Location: Northern California, Nevada City, Nevada County.

Population: 3041 {Nevada City}

Public Schools:

Nevada Union High School: 9-12

Seven Hills Intermediate: 6-8

Deer Creek Elementary: 3-5

Yuba River Charter: K-8

Gold Run Elementary: K- 2

Nevada City Elementary: K-2

Grizzly Hill: K-8

Colleges/Universities nearest to Banner Mnt:

Sierra College (About 36 Miles; Rocklin, Ca; About 8 Miles; GV campus)

Yuba College (About 37 Miles)

American River College (About 47 Miles)

Sacramento City College (About 61 Miles)

California State University-Sacramento (About 56 Miles)

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