We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“A wonderful place in the High Sierras”

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 1 more site!
Clair Tappaan Lodge
Reviewed July 29, 2008

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

  • Stayed: June 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
2  Thank SusieGirl7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (30)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year

27 - 30 of 30 reviews

Reviewed February 12, 2008

We stayed in one of the micro rooms -no frills room with a tiny bunk bed, and an opening for the door -bring your own sleeping bag. Shared bathroom, wooden floor hallways full of noise of passing people and children playing. An incredibly unsafe 100 yard walk from the road to the lodge on an icy slippery trail. No railings, no lights at night. People must sign up for chores to do, such as moping the floors, etc. Food was served by tables of 10, and was of good quality and hearty portions. Price includes the meals, including a bag lunch. Ok value, but no amenities, and beware of falling on the long entrance trail.

  • Stayed: January 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank robert c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2006

I just returned from a week at this lodge, in the Sierra Nevada mountains. It is owned and operated by the Sierra Club. Although the accomodations are decidedly hostel-like (bunkrooms, and shared common bathrooms and showers) there is a wonderful sense of community amongst the lodgers. There are some smaller rooms to accomodate couples or small groups separately, but the rooms are quite small, almost like staying in a boat cabin. The rates of $41.00 per night (for Sierra club members...join! ) includes three meals daily, quite good and varied. Lunches are packed by you in the morning (fixings are set out on a table) so you can be off on a hike or a drive in the gorgeous surroundings for the day. Each guest is asked to do a daily chore like sweeping or helping with meal prep, which helps to reinforce a sense of belonging. There is a big comfy common room with a large stone fireplace, and there is a hot tub (though i didnt try it) as well as a large outdoor fire-ring out back. There is also a library filled with local info and books, puzzles and games. Built originally as a ski lodge in the 1930s, it is relatively empty in the summer months...I think it's a great find and as long as you are informed about the economic type bed arrangement, I think you'll love it...it's not for the high-maintenance but bring your own sleeping bag or sheet, and you'll be set.

5  Thank juthu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2005

The Clair Tappaan Lodge up on Donner Summit is right next to three Alpine Ski Resorts and close to two others: 1 mile from Sugar Bowl, a mile from Soda Springs and Donner Summit. Five miles from Boreal and about twenty minutes from Squaw and Alpine Meadows. Also, If you like snowshoeing and cross country skiing then the Lodge has it's own trail right in it's backyard not to mention being only a couple of miles from Royal Gorge, one of the biggest crosscountry ski resorts in North America.

The prices are right for this hostel type of lodge. Price vary between summer and winter rates. It's cheap and you're money pays for three meals a day and the food is great.

The sleeping accomadations aren't for all through. Lodging is based on a bunk system. Everyone sleeps in bunk rooms of two, five, six, eight, ten and twelve along with a men's and women's dorm. The two bunk rooms are called private cubicles and remind of small closets with bunk beds. There are a couple of cubicles that contain full-sized beds through and of course get grabbed up quick. Definitely bring ear plugs because sound travels.

The Lodge is spacious with a huge dining room that can hold up to a 140 people, a library, a hot tub, a ping-pong room and a living room with a rather large fire place. On any given weekend live bluegrass music can be heard emanating fromt the living room. People are friendly and the atmosphere is great!

  • Stayed: February 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank theDjembeman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Been to Clair Tappaan Lodge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Clair Tappaan Lodge

Address: 19940 Donner Pass Road, P.O. Box 36, Norden, CA 95724
Location: United States > California > Norden
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Ski-In / Ski-Out
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Norden
Price Range: $55 - $65 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Clair Tappaan Lodge 2*
Number of rooms: 145
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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Travelocity, Orbitz and TripOnline SA so you can book your Clair Tappaan Lodge reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Clair Tappaan Hotel Norden

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing