Directions & Parking

Pre-Arrival Checklist​

  • Get flashlights if arriving after dark

  • Check the forecast. The cabin is at 7000 feet elevation, so weather tends to change rapidly. If it's snowing, there can be a lot of traffic and areas where chains or 4WD are required.

  • (WINTER ONLY) Get chains for your car and/or borrow a 4WD vehicle

  • (WINTER ONLY) Print parking passes for each car

  • (WINTER ONLY) Get skis, snowshoes, and sleds to move yourselves and your belongings to the cabin over snow after parking (it's about a 1/4mi walk, which can be covered in deep snow)

Cabin Address: 270 Lake Mary Road, Truckee, CA 96161

Caution: Please obey ALL parking signs and DO NOT use our neighbors' driveways as overflow parking or turn-around areas.

When You Arrive

Arrival Step 1: Let Yourself In

  1. Use the combination code Tory shared with you to open the front door to the cabin

Arrival Step 2: Turn the Power On

  1. Verify that the hot water tank is unplugged

  2. Go to the left of the wood-stove and find the large main circuit breaker

  3. Switch the main breaker on, leaving the other switches alone.

Arrival Step 3: Turn the Water On

  1. Close the two green valves beneath the sink.  The handles will be perpendicular to the pipes when closed, per the image below.
  2. Open the all taps in the kitchen and mudroom sinks

  3. Verify that the hot water tank is unplugged

  4. Open the blue valve beneath the sink. The handle will be parallel to the pipe when open, per the image below. This valve requires a little extra force to open all the way. A sign that you didn't open it all the way is that water will flow very slowly from the taps in steps 6 and 7.

  5. Turn circuit breaker #11 to the ON position (can be found in the electrical panel by the wood stove). You should hear the pump start in the basement.

  6. Wait for cold water to run in the mudroom and kitchen sinks, then close both cold taps

  7. Wait for hot water to run from the mudroom and kitchen sinks, then close both hot taps

  8. Plug in the hot water tank (hot water will be available in about an hour)

Arrival Step 4: Prepare the Toilet

  1. (WINTER ONLY) Turn on the space heater in the bathroom and come back in half an hour. If you must use the toilet, don't flush or you may break the plastic valve if it's frozen

  2. Check that the bathroom’s waste bin is lined with a fresh bag. If not, find a bag in the bathroom or in the kitchen and insert it into the waste bin.

NOTICE: The toilet is currently disconnected from its water input to prevent freezing, so no water will flow when you flush. You can "flush" it manually by pouring in small quantities of water with the plastic pitchers next to the toilet. You should occasionally add a few tablespoons (okay not to measure) of liquid holding-tank cleaner when you flush to help manage unwanted odors.


CAUTION: DO NOT put any toilet paper or other products down the toilet. Dispose of toilet paper and other trash in the waste bin only.

CAUTION: Use as little water when flushing as possible. All toilet waste water is store in a tank that can overflow if too much liquid enters through regular cabin use throughout the year.

Arrival Step 5: Heat the Cabin

Start by lighting the wood stove by the back wall of the cabin (NOT the stone fireplace).

  1. Check that ashes in the wood stove are cold

  2. Remove cold ashes and dump into steel bins on the front porch

  3. Add a 4 or 5 fist-sized balls of crumpled newspaper to the stove (get paper from beside the stone fireplace)

  4. Pile a few handfuls of kindling loosely  over the newspaper in a teepee fashion (get kindling from beside the stone fireplace)

  5. Fully open the air valve (slide the handle beneath the stove all the way to the right)

  6. Ignite the newspaper and slowly close the glass door so it's open by only an inch or two

  7. Once the kindling is all burning, start feeding the fire with hard wood (just one small log to begin with). Keep the glass door closed when not adding wood from now on.

  8. Once the first log is burning briskly, continue to feed the fire with hard wood.

  9. Once the cabin is warm, adjust the air valve to the left to cause the fire to burn more slowly (closed=handle to the left=low burn, partially open=handle in the middle=medium burn, fully open=handle to the right=high burn)

CAUTION: DO NOT burn any soft wood or other flammable materials in the stove. Use hardwood only (with newspaper to light).

(OPTIONAL) Light the stone fireplace. The fireplace is great for ambience, but contributes little heat. Lighting the fireplace before the stove also makes it very difficult to light the stove due to the ventilation properties of the cabin.

  1. Use newspaper and kindling to start a small fire in the fireplace

  2. Gradually feed the fire with soft wood. Softwood is light and is stacked next to the fireplace, and more can be passed up from the basement. If there is no softwood available, then do not use the fireplace at all.

  3. ALWAYS keep fire screen in front of the fireplace for safety, except when feeding the fire. Plan your use of the fireplace so that there is no active fire and no unburnt wood remaining in the fireplace when you depart.

CAUTION: DO NOT put any hard wood other flammable materials in the fireplace. Use soft wood only.

Fire Safety

The cabin is a treasured place with sentimental value to countless Dartmouth Alums. Treat it as an heirloom and please don't do silly things that could endanger it.

  • DO fully extinguish the fireplace and wood stove before leaving the cabin

  • DO wait to remove ashes from the fireplace and wood stove until they are cold (they should be cool enough to touch).

  • DO NOT burn candles

  • DO NOT smoke in the cabin or on the decks

Sleeping Arrangements

There are enough (new!) mattresses for about a dozen folks. The cabin does have sheets, pillows and pillowcases, but we also suggest bringing your own sleeping bag (and a sleeping pad if you would like to sleep outdoors on the deck or beach). It can be quite cold in the cabin at night during the snow season, particularly if there isn't enough snow to help insulate the cabin walls.

Sports Equipment

Bring whatever sports equipment you need (e.g. climbing gear, skis/skins, snowshoes, hiking boots, mountain bike, etc.). Note that in the snow season, you'll have to walk to the cabin. Due to deep snow, we recommend that you hike in on snowshoes or skis. The cabin has its own canoe with two lifejackets and paddles as well as a swell set of horseshoes.


The cabin does have a phone number: (530) 426-0413.


You may use it if you still can remember how to use one of those contraptions. There is no answering machine or voicemail service, and it is sometimes difficult for people in the cabin to hear the ringer. When placing a call to the cabin, be sure to let the phone ring for a long time before you give up.

Kitchen & Cooking

It wouldn't be a Dartmouth Cabin without a place to make meals for massive amounts of people! The cabin has a full working kitchen, including a refrigerator/freezer, stove, and a sink with running water. Cooking sets and utensils are unnecessary as the kitchen is fully stocked with anything you'd need: plates, bowls, cups, coffee filters and a pot, serving bowls and platters, a small microwave, silverware, cooking pans and pots, etc. The cabin also has two large plastic bins to help with food storage (in addition to the cupboards). Only the tightly shut bins can be guaranteed mice-free. We haven't had a bad problem with mice in the cupboards recently, but it can happen.

Cell Signal

AT&T phones seem to get a few bars of LTE at the cabin. 


Pets are allowed, but please be sure to keep your pets well-mannered and respect anyone with allergies on non-exclusive weekends. Also, please respect any requests regarding your pets that might come from the neighbors. There are a few other cabins on Lake Mary, and it's imperative that we keep up good relations. You are responsible for cleaning up after your pet. Be considerate.

Departure Procedure

See the PDF below starting at the "DEPARTURE CHECKLIST" section for cabin shutdown procedure.

© 2021  Dartmouth Outing Club of Northern California

Questions? Contact our membership coordinator at

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