All our programs stay in one of two lodges, both of which are centrally located on Donner Summit. These locations all provide a stunning nature experience in locations in the heart the area we use for our programs. This benefits your experience because there is almost no driving time – so you get to spend more time in the field and less time driving!
CLAIR TAPPAAN LODGE
Nestled in the woods on historic Donner Pass, Clair Tappaan Lodge offers a rustic mountain retreat for snow enthusiasts and summer adventurers alike. Clair Tappaan Lodge is an historic, rustic mountain lodge nestled in the woods on Donner Summit, California. With accommodations for up to 145 guests, the lodge is the perfect home base for year-round recreation and relaxation in the Sierra Nevada. The friendly, casual atmosphere, proximity to endless outdoor recreational and educational opportunities make this lodge perfect for your group.
Clair Tappaan Lodge was built by a dedicated group of Sierra Club volunteers in the early 1930s. Today, guests continue the tradition of adventure and exploration on Donner Pass, much like the pioneers before them. With such a rich history and a wide-variety of programs, the Lodge has played an important role in introducing people to the outdoors and providing a safe and friendly environment in which to do so.
Situated at an elevation of 7,000 feet on historic Donner Summit, the Lodge is a charming spot from which to explore the riches of the Sierra Nevada. The area receives the highest average snowfall of the entire Sierra Nevada range, making the Lodge a favorite amongst cross-country skiers and snowshoers. Several downhill skiing areas are in the immediate area with weekend shuttle service. When the snow melts in the spring, a whole new world of adventure and exploration is unveiled. A network of nearby trails offers miles of hiking and provides access to fishing streams, remote meadows and peaks, and crystal clear lakes. The well-known Pacific Crest Trail is only a mile away and can be reached right out the back door of the lodge. The Donner Summit area is great for both road and mountain biking and is also widely known as a rock climbers’ mecca.
Our professional kitchen serves hearty, well-rounded meals every day. Breakfast and dinner are served family-style in our charming dining room. For lunch, guests prepare healthy bag lunches at our sandwich station immediately before breakfast, allowing for maximum time enjoying the outdoors.
Vegetarian meals are available. We make every possible effort to cater to any dietary needs and refrigerators, microwaves, and food storage lockers are located throughout the building and are available to all.
Breakfasts (promptly at 8:00 AM) include lots of fresh and delicious options like veggie scrambles, breakfast sausage or bacon, country potatoes, fresh fruit, oatmeal, cold cereal, and orange juice.
Lunches (7:30 AM – 8:00 AM) are prepared on your own at our sandwich station, where you’ll find ingredients for sandwiches like ham/turkey and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, homemade hummus, and tuna salad. Each bagged lunch includes chips, cookies, and a piece of fruit.
Dinners (promptly 6:00 PM) are where the chef truly shines! Typical entrees include roast beef, chicken, or pasta paired with garlic mashed potatoes, sautéed vegetables, a garden salad, bread rolls, and dessert. Vegetarian options include items like stuffed peppers and tofu stir fry.
Operated by Clair Tappaan, the Hutchinson Lodge is within easy walking distance of the main lodge, but far enough away to have a feeling of solitude. Built in 1924 as a winter retreat for lovers of the Sierra Nevada, Hutchinson Lodge, originally named the Sierra Ski Club, is a rustic, un-staffed lodge situated in the woods next door to Clair Tappaan Lodge. It is enjoyed year-round by a variety of groups. Guests bring their own bedding, towels, toiletries, and food. The lodge has a fully equipped kitchen, two sleeping lofts with sleeping pads, a 8-person sauna, showers, and toilets. Two efficient wood burning stoves provide heat. Max capacity is about 25. Some of our groups bring and cook their own food, some eat at Clair Tappaan for an extra fee.