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Sierra Club's Clair Tappaan Lodge


[Skiing Classes, Rental Equipment, Trails]

Tappaan LodgeThe Sierra Club's own Clair Tappaan Lodge is a rustic mountain lodge in Lake Tahoe area at the top of Donner Summit, owned and operated by the Sierra Club. Built entirely by volunteers in 1934, the lodge continues to be operated on a cooperative basis. Guests need to provide their own sleeping bags, linens, and towels. Doors to the rooms do not lock but valuables may be locked in rentable lockers. No pets are allowed except for seeing eye dogs. The path to the lodge from the parking lot is approximately 100 yards long and a good pair of hiking boots is recommended as the path is rocky in the summer and snowy/icy in the winter.

A small professional staff includes a cook who prepares family style meals three times a day. Guests are expected to do a house chore each day of their stay.

  • Location: Clair Tappaan Lodge is located at 7000 feet in California's Sierra Nevada. It's 45 minutes west of Reno and one and a half hour drive east of Sacramento just off of Interstate 80. From eastbound I-80, take the exit for Soda Springs/Norden and go 2.4 miles east on Donner Pass road. Look for our sign slightly up the hill on your left and the wide footpath leading up to the Lodge. Parking is available on either side of the road.
  • Elevation: 7200 feet
  • Capacity: 140 persons
  • Facilities: The spacious living room has an enormous stone fireplace to toast your toes on winter nights. There is a library, a large communal dinning room, a social lounge, and a hot tub. Guests perform daily house chores. Excellent family-style meals are included in the price.
  • Sierra Club Winter Recreation
  • Staff: Manager and professional cook in residence all year. Additional staff for summer and winter programs.
  • Lodge Accommodations
    • The Lodge has sleeping accommodations, all in single bunk beds, for 140 persons. The bunks are arranged in rooms of various sizes:
      • two-person cubicles, group rooms which sleep from five to twelve people and larger single-gender dorms.
  • Sierra Club Huts
    • If you want to explore the Sierra Nevada this winter but don't want to build an igloo or dig a snow cave, the four Sierra Club huts near Lake Tahoe may be just perfect. Each hut is a day's ski apart, or about a day's journey from various trailheads. The huts give an ambitious skier a chance to cross country ski along the Sierra Crest without having to snow camp.
      • Nightly rates for Huts start at $12.00 per person.

The Lodge maintains 10-12km of groomed cross-country ski trails and offers excellent instruction in both Nordic track an telemark techniques. Top quality cross-country skis and snowshoes are also available to rent at very reasonable rates.

Cross Country Skiing Classes

We offer beginning, intermediate and advanced classes in Nordic skiing. Our philosophy and teaching methods emphasize having fun and learning functional skills for greater enjoyment in skiing. With these basic skills in place, we go on to specific areas of the student's interest, such as diagonal stride, turning, and telemark, or skating.

We hold classes on weekends and holidays, as well as on weekdays when there is sufficient interest. Sign-up and payment for lessons and ski rentals takes place each morning starting at 9:00am in the Clair Tappaan Lodge living room.

Lessons typically start at 10:00am and cost $14.00 for our typical 1-2 hour lesson (depending upon class size). The minimum age for children is 8 years old.

Equipment Rentals

We have a large supply of high quality Nordic track and backcountry skis and snowshoes for adults and children. All ski & snowshoe equipment is rented on a first-come, first served basis and cannot be reserved.

Cross Country Skiing at Clair Tapaan Lodge


  • Backcountry (skis, boots, poles)
    • First Day $16.00
    • Each additional day $14.00
    • Adults Half-day $11.00
  • Track (skis, boots, poles)
    • First Day $13.00
    • Each additional day $11.00
    • Kids 12 and under $9.00
    • Half-day Adults $9.00, Kids 12 and under $6.00
  • Snowshoes
    • Adults $11.00 / Children $7.00

Clair Tappaan Lodge in WinterTrails

Cross country ski trails begin right outside the back door. There are approximately 12km of groomed and tracked trails at beginning and intermediate levels. The trails are a convenient link to miles of back country skiing.

Use of the trails is free to guests of Clair Tappaan Lodge. Others are asked to contribute $7.00 per person ($3.50 per child under 12 years of age) to help cover the costs of grooming and maintenance.


When snow is not on the ground, Clair Tappaan Lodge is an excellent base for numerous activities in the Sierra. Activities include hiking, swimming, fishing, road/mountain biking, rock climbing, and photography.

Sierra Club Photos and information courtesy Clair Tappaan

P.O. Box 36, Norden, California 95724
Contact and Conditions: (530) 426-3632, fax# (530) 426-0742
E-mail: Clair Tappaan Lodge

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Last modified: January 04, 2012

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