I stayed at Clair Tappan Lodge with a Sierra Club trip during the summer. We were the only group at the lodge for most of the time and there were about 30 to 50 at the lodge total, so it felt like we had the place to ourselves.
Most of our group stayed in the dorm. The dorms were roomy, but I can see how the place would feel crowded if full. If you’re in the dorm, the bathrooms are next door (there is even a door leading from the women’s dorm to the women’s bathroom). A few people were in the double rooms and said those were pretty tight quarters. The website says they rent out sheets and a blanket, but I brought my own.
I think the free meals are the selling point of Clair Tappan. They put out plenty of fixins for you to make lunch and there is always tons of food made for breakfast (all the oatmeal you could ever eat). Dinner is also hearty and there is a vegetarian option, plus dessert. The chores typically involve meal set-up or clean-up. Mine never took more than 10 minutes.
There is also a library with lots of reading and games and a common room. The area in the back has a great feel to it and there are plenty of other places to just sit around. Downstairs, they have a hot tub, laundry room and table tennis. I was there in the summer, so I can’t comment on the winter sports options but there are endless hiking trains within a 15 minute drive. I had cell phone connection at the lodge but for Internet, you have to go into Truckee. There is no public transit directly to the lodge but you can cobble together train/bus/shuttle/taxi rides to get to the lodge if you don't have a car.
I loved the rustic feel of the lodge and felt like this was the perfect place to come back to after a long day of hiking
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Clair Tappaan Lodge is a hostel-style mountain lodge nestled in the Sierra Nevada of California at the top of Donner Pass. Built by Sierra Club volunteers in the 1930s, the lodge is an excellent home base for year-round recreation. The friendly, casual atmosphere and affordable nightly rates (including family-style meals) make the Lodge the perfect rustic getaway to the Tahoe/Donner area. Please note, hostel-style means guests bring their own bedding, towels, and assist with kitchen chores daily. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Clair Tappaan Hotel Norden