Cabin Info

At an altitude of 7,000 feet, the cabin is situated directly on the overland Emigrant Trail, just a stone's throw from the trail's highest point and only a few hundred feet from where the Donner Party met its snowy demise in 1846. Later years saw the completion of the transcontinental railroad along roughly the same route. The Pacific Crest Trail — the West Coast equivalent of the Appalachian Trail — also passes just behind the cabin.

 

The cabin is hardly rustic: it has wood heat, a full kitchen, electricity & lights, running water, a great dining table, couches and mattresses, and an indoor chemical toilet. Legend has it that the stone fireplace includes rocks brought to California by Ray Taylor '1911 from the Second College Grant.

As you can tell from the floor plan below, the top floor is for sleeping and the bottom floor is for other activities.

 

The cabin sleeps 12 in winter and 15 in summer comfortably, and this is the number to which reservations are limited on non-exclusive weekends. You can pack in more on exclusive weekends, but you do so at your own discomfort, and we strongly discourage it. The living room has three couches, a stereo with aux cable and Bluetooth, and a great small desk and chair for reading/studying/working. There are a slew of games and decks of cards too, and a few books. The cabin journals, dating back decades, are always a great read. In the warm season, the deck and the lakefront beach are great places to hang out. The cabin has a phone but no internet connectivity unless you use your own mobile device.

Cabin Info and Procedures

This indispensable, comprehensive guide includes information such as how to open the lock, turn on the power, start the woodstove, and get that toilet running! Copies are available at the cabin, but we highly recommend reading these and asking questions before you go.

Reservations

A calendar showing bookings and availability is posted at Reservations Calendar.

 

Unfortunately, we are not yet capable of permitting online reservations. Instead, DOCNC members can make a reservation by contacting Tory Griffith at docncreservations@gmail.com.

The first two weeks of every month are available as exclusive rentals at $170 per night. Non-exclusive nights are $25/person. Members may only have ONE exclusive reservation at a time. Each member is limited to FOUR spots on non-exclusive nights.

Sleeping

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.

Heat

The cabin is stocked with sufficient wood — you needn't bring your own — but you must bring more wood up from the basement for the next group of folks and chop more kindling as well. Please read the Cabin Use Document for full details.

Extra Items of Note for Cold Season

There is are several lines strung for drying out wet gear above the wood-burning stove. It can get pretty cold at night, so be prepared. There's plenty of room to store skis/snowshoes/etc. in the covered entryway of the front porch.

Sports Stuff

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.

Extra Items of Note for Cold Season

There is are several lines strung for drying out wet gear above the wood-burning stove. It can get pretty cold at night, so be prepared. There's plenty of room to store skis/snowshoes/etc. in the covered entryway of the front porch.

Phone Service

The cabin has a phone (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 voice mail 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. Do not make any long distance calls from this phone that aren't collect or on a calling card. We will charge you the fees plus a whopping service charge should you break this rule. Plus, mobile phones!

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.

Weather

Plan on any combination of hot/sunny, thunderstorm, snowy, or chilly/windy weather. The cabin is at 7000 feet elevation. Check out NOAA or Tahoe'sBest for forecasts.

Pets

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.

Fire Hazards

We are extremely nervous about the possibility of the cabin somehow burning down due to negligence of a burning fire or candle. There are a few candlesticks in the cabin. BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL WITH CANDLES. DO NOT LEAVE THEM UNATTENDED. 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. Make sure all fires are extinguished before you leave the cabin. Make sure you DO NOT, repeat DO NOT put hot ashes directly in the trash bins on the porch. They HAVE burned through the bottom of the cans before. 

Fire Hazards

We are extremely nervous about the possibility of the cabin somehow burning down due to negligence of a burning fire or candle. There are a few candlesticks in the cabin. BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL WITH CANDLES. DO NOT LEAVE THEM UNATTENDED. 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. Make sure all fires are extinguished before you leave the cabin. Make sure you DO NOT, repeat DO NOT put hot ashes directly in the trash bins on the porch. They HAVE burned through the bottom of the cans before. 

Directions

Unfortunately, public transportation to the cabin is limited and difficult. There was a time when a special passenger train ran non-stop from San Francisco to Truckee during ski season, but with cargo taking precedence over passengers on railroads, those days are over. You can take Amtrak from San Francisco to Truckee, but there are multiple stops, and you'll need to find a ride from Truckee to Donner Summit. Still, it's been done! We know of a few people who have biked to the cabin from San Francisco in good weather, too.

 

However, like most people you'll likely travel by car, which in good weather with little traffic will take you about 2.5 hours from the city or about 1 hour from Reno. Traffic on I-80 can be notoriously heavy, especially on weekends and in bad conditions, so plan appropriately.

 

Carry snow chains from 09/15 – 06/14. You will be stopped if your vehicle is not equipped for snow travel. In most cases, 4WD with snow tires on all 4 wheels is acceptable. Check the road conditions before you go.

 

Directions start at the Oakland Bay Bridge Toll Plaza

  1. Drive 169 miles E on I-80.

  2. Take the Norden/Soda Springs exit. There is a sign before this exit that also includes notification for the Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, which is down the same road.

  3. Make a right at the top of the exit ramp (you'll see a Unocal 76 gas station). Go about 3.9 miles on this road, which is Old Highway 40 (aka "Donner Pass Road"). You'll pass two large Sugar Bowl Ski Resort signs. Immediately past the 2nd Sugar Bowl sign, you'll see the Sugar Bowl Ski Academy on your right. There is an odd, tall grey metal shed before the Academy, which is a large, white lodge. If you pass the Academy, you'll be heading downhill on a steep, curvy road. If so, you have gone too far!

  4. Turn right into the Academy's parking lot.

  5. A single-lane gravel/dirt road begins at the back right of the parking lot. This is the road you'll turn onto to get to the DOCNC cabin.
    SNOW SEASON (Oct-June — The exact "Snow Season" varies widely, of course, but these dates are a general outline): This road is unplowed and is usually invisible behind a giant 10-30 foot berm of snow! If you are traveling during snow season, refer to the Snow Season Parking Procedures in this document. You will have to park here and hike the rest of the way to the cabin. Follow the instructions carefully, or a) your vehicle will be towed, and b) you will jeopardize the long-standing good relationship between Academy and DOCNC!

  6. Continue about 0.25 miles along this road, curving right. If it's snow season, you'll have to ski, snowshoe or "posthole" in.

  7. At the red and white "Private Road" sign on your left (typically buried under the snow during snow season), turn left into the dirt road to the immediate right of the sign itself. Remove the chain across this dirt road, drive through, and re-hook the chain. There is also a small "DOC" sign on the post.

  8. The cabin will appear in about 150 yards: first cabin on the right, on the lakeshore.

Parking Rules

Please be sure to get the appropriate number of parking passes from the DOCNC Secretary when you make your reservation and be sure to follow directions. Your ability to follow directions is essential to our relationship with our neighbors, including the Sugar Bowl Ski Academy, which generously allows us to use a small portion of their parking lot in the winter.

In seasons in which you can drive to the cabin, please obey parking signs and do not use the neighbors' driveways as extra parking or as turn-around areas.

CONTACT US

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