Lodges and Huts
Lake Tahoe / Donner Pass Area Huts
The Sierra Club owns and maintains four cabins in the Lake Tahoe area for
the use of its members and as emergency shelters. Each cabin provides rustic
sleeping accommodations for about fifteen people overnight; visitors must
bring their own food, sleeping bags and pads, utensils, candles, personal
equipment, etc. The cabins may not be used for commercial purposes without
permission of the Sierra Club.
With good weather each cabin can be reached in one day or less from the
nearest road by an average group. In bad weather some may not be accessible
at all. A brief description of each cabin, given in approximate order of
increasingly difficult access, is given below.
Peter Grubb Hut:
Photo: Alexei Roudnev
Three miles north of I-80 at Donner Summit; 800' elevation
gain over the first two miles to Castle Pass, then down 250' to the cabin at
7800'. The route is poorly marked by orange triangles mounted obscurely in
trees at 100-200 yard intervals. There are day trip possibilities to Paradise
Valley, Basin Peak, Castle Peak, and Sand Ridge Lake. Round Valley is a good
instructional and practice area for skiers. The cabin is just off the Pacific
Crest Trail and is a popular destination for day trippers; daytime privacy and
security are minimal. Overnight parking is available at the California Sno-
Park site at Donner Summit. Floor space upstairs in the cabin sleeps 15. A
two-story outhouse is 75' WNW of the cabin. Topo map: Norden 7-1/2' quad.
Photo: Alexei Roudnev
Six miles south of Donner Pass Rd under the north face of
Anderson Peak at about 8350'. Ski mountaineering skills are required for this
trip; the route is treacherous in bad weather. Up steeply 1200' from Lake
Mary to Mt. Lincoln via the Lincoln-Judah saddle. Sugar Bowl and other lands
along the route are private property; respect "no trespassing" signs. From
Mt. Lincoln follow the ridge SE 3 miles toward Anderson Peak, staying to the
west of high points. Expect bare ground and/or ice where wind has stripped
snow from the ridge; beware of cornices on the east side. Parking at Clair
Tappaan Lodge or Sugar Bowl. There are alternate entry points from Squaw
Valley (via Tinker Knob) and from Donner State Park, but these are likely to
be more difficult. Cabin holds about 12; fold-out bunk beds downstairs, wood
floor upstairs. Two-story outhouse is about 100' west of cabin. Hut is very
difficult to reach but, once in the vicinity, relatively easy to spot. Topo
map: Norden 7-1/2' quad.
Photo: Alexei Roudnev
In 1997-1999, this hut was relocated from Five Lakes Basin in
Granite Chief Wilderness to Pole Creek, about 2 miles north of Squaw Valley.
Access is via Forest Road 8, gradually up about 1500' over 5 miles to the hut
at 7550'. Good skiing in bowls above the hut and in meadow areas nearby;
Benson Hut is 4-5 miles to the northwest. Beware of avalanche danger in the
bowls or en route to Benson. Parking on wide shoulder where FR 8 meets Hwy
89, but get vehicles behind snow stakes. Sleeping for about 15 upstairs on
wood floor. Two-story outhouse is about 40' north of hut. Topo maps: Granite
Chief and Tahoe City 7-1/2' quads.
Photo: Alexei Roudnev
From the west side of Lake Tahoe, six miles up McKinney Creek
to Richardson Lake. Total elevation gain is about 1000'; the cabin is at
7400'. Possible day trips are to Sourdough Hill and Lost Corner. Alternate
return to main road via General Creek is more difficult. Good ski practice
areas along the shore of Richardson Lake and in Miller Meadows. Parking may
be available at the end of Rubicon Ave. in development area; park off roadway,
shoveling space, if necessary. Otherwise, use Sugar Pine Point State Park.
Sleeping for 15 upstairs on wood floor. Two-story outhouse is 100' SE of
cabin. Hut may be difficult to find, being back from the lake and blending
with snow and trees. Topo map: Homewood 7-1/2' quad.
Each cabin is supplied with cut, but (usually)
unsplit, firewood in the fall; there should be sledgehammers and wedges for
splitting. Heavy visitor use may deplete firewood stores by spring. Each
cabin has at least one wood stove--good for warming cabins and melting snow,
but notoriously inefficient for cooking, especially with large parties
(portable backpacking stoves are recommended). Utensils may be available, but
don't count on them.
Navigation is the responsibility of the user; the Sierra Club does not
provide directions to huts during winter months. Ludlow is well-camouflaged
and can be difficult to locate in any season. All cabins may be hard to find
in heavy snow years; Peter Grubb typically disappears under the snow in one
out of every five years. Bring candles and shovels.
Benson can be used as the first stop on a two day Donner to Squaw Valley
trip. Historically, skiers have traveled from Benson to Bradley Hut, then on
to Ludlow Hut and Echo Summit. Now that Bradley Hut has been relocated to
Pole Creek, a three-day Benson-Bradley trip is becoming popular (avalanche
conditions permitting). With Bradley no longer in Five Lakes Basin, at least
one snow camp should be expected between Benson and Ludlow. From Ludlow to
Echo Summit would take another two snow camps (e.g., Camper Flat and Lake
Aloha). These estimates are for an experienced, well-equipped group breaking
trail in good weather.
Firewood is stocked and maintenance is performed by 'work
parties' of volunteers during summer and early fall. Winter users are
encouraged to join established work party groups or contact the Hut Committee
Chair to volunteer; help is always needed. A nominal contribution is requested from winter users to offset expenses.
Winter upkeep is the responsibility of the users; please leave the cabins
cleaner and in better repair than when you arrived.
Summer Use: New Bradley Hut is unavailable from mid-May through mid-October
to minimize disturbance to wildlife in the area; it is closed and locked per
U.S. Forest Service requirement. The other huts are open and can be used on a
space-available basis. Please send contributions after your stay to help
defray maintenance costs.
For more information on reservations, availability, and similar matters contact the Hut
Reservations Coordinator at Clair Tappaan Lodge, P.O. Box 36, Norden, CA 95724 (800-
867-6775 or firstname.lastname@example.org). For general hut issues, the Hut Committee Chair is Dick
Simpson, 3326 Kipling St, Palo Alto, CA 94306 (650-494-9272; email@example.com).