If you want to stay in the Tahoe area, but want to get away from the casinos of South Shore, the Clair Tappaan Lodge might be just what the nature-lover ordered. The Clair Tappaan is the Sierra Club's flagship lodge that was built by volunteers in the 1930s. The lodge includes a wide-variety of programs that support sustainable practices and the Sierra Club's mission of environmental awareness and community.
The lodge can sometimes be covered in snow in the winter — Photo courtesy of Clair Tappaan Lodge Facebook
The lodge is nestled in the woods at an elevation of 7,000 feet at the Donner Summit, not far from Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake. This area receives the highest average snowfall of the entire Sierra Mountain range and has become a favorite spot to cross-country ski or snowshoe. You can also stay at the lodge in the summer. There is a multitude of hiking trails, fishing streams and lakes, meadows and mountain peaks. The Pacific Crest Trail is only one mile away from the lodge.
The lodge is set up as a community area where visitors cook, eat and clean up together. There is a spacious living room with an enormous fireplace, wood paneled walls and antique ski and snowshoe memorabilia. There is also a library full of books and family style meals (including vegetarian) are served twice a day in the communal dining room. Visitors can also soak in the hot tub after their outdoor activities.
All accommodations are in bunk beds equipped with mattresses (bring your own sleeping bag or bedding). A variety of room types and sizes are available including a dorm room, a group room with five to twelve single bunks, a twin room with two bunks and a double room with a double bed. Restroom and shower facilities are shared, with two men's and two women's bathrooms (bring your own towel).
For 2012, the Clair Tappaan Lodge is offering a spring special that includes:
• Midweek rates on the remaining winter weekends
• Second child (13 or younger) stays FREE when you bring 2 or more children (limit one free child per family unit)
• Young Adult pricing for youth 14-17 years old (save 20%)
• Free equipment rental for each day you are at the lodge
• Free cross-country ski lesson (Saturdays and Sundays only)
• Free snowshoe tour (offered every Saturday afternoon 4 p.m.)