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Lodges and Huts

Lake Tahoe / Donner Pass Area Huts
General Information

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:

Peter Grugg 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.

Benson Hut:

Benson Hut
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.

Bradley Hut:

Bradley Hut
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.

Ludlow Hut:

Ludlow Hut
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.

General Information:

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.

Maintenance:

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 ctl@sierraclub.org). For general hut issues, the Hut Committee Chair is Dick Simpson, 3326 Kipling St, Palo Alto, CA 94306 (650-494-9272; hut.coord@yahoo.com).


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