Laurie Johnson

Lake Tahoe Cross Country Ski Paradise

Cross country skiing

North Lake Tahoe is known as a skier and hiker’s paradise. Did you know that the area boasts the most groomed snowshoe and cross-country ski trails in all of North America?

Visitors can explore 11 miles of trails at the Resort at Squaw Creek, or 25 miles of trails surrounding Northstar California ski resort.

In Truckee, Royal Gorge is one of the largest cross-country trails in the United States. Located on Donner Summit, venture across 87 miles of groomed trails.

Tahoe City is home to Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area, with 40 miles of trails. Also, within the Tahoe Regional Park in Tahoe Vista, there are over 124 acres of cross country trails.

Frog lake backcountry huts

Frog Lake Backcountry Huts

Frog Lake Backcountry Huts offer an overnight adventure as one of the newest cross country ski experiences in Lake Tahoe.

Truckee Donner Land Trust’s just opened this new, overnight backcountry experience. Enjoy comfortable accommodations in a truly rugged and wild terrain. Explore the splendor of the northern Sierra with comfortable accommodations, set on the edge of an alpine lake nestled in pristine forest.

The Frog Lake Backcountry Huts are located near Donner Summit just northwest of Truckee, California. Sacramento is 1.5 hours west; San Francisco and the Bay Area about 4 hours away. The closest commercial airport is Reno, Nevada – 35 minutes to the east.

Set at 7,600 feet, Frog Lake sits on a lateral granite moraine, surrounded by late-seral red fir and Jeffrey pine. The 1,000-foot-high Frog Lake Cliff overlooks the huts from across the lake, lighting up with the sunrise each morning.

Accessible on foot or bike in the snow-free months and by ski, snowboard or snowshoe in the winter (with appropriate fitness, experience and avalanche education), these huts offer a new, previously unavailable option for overnight adventures in the northern Sierra.

Winter Use

In the winter months, Donner Summit receives an average of 411.5 inches of snow (10.45 m) per year, making Frog Lake one of the snowiest places in the western hemisphere. The skiing is varied from steep chutes to mellow glades and open bowls. With multiple aspects and a range in elevation, good snow can nearly always be found during winter months for experienced backcountry travelers.

The sleeping huts are modern and comfortable in the tradition of European huts. A commercial grade kitchen is available for preparing meals.

The Land Trust and its partners – The Nature Conservancy, the Trust for Public Land and Northern Sierra Partnership – acquired Frog Lake as part of a larger 3,000-acre conservation effort in 2020. Before that, the property was closed to the public for nearly a century.

More Information

Summer Access

Currently Frog Lake is accessible by climbing the Warren Lake Trail off of the Donner Lake Rim Trail to the top of Frog Lake Cliff, where the Red Dot Trail goes down along the northern rim of Frog Lake, eventually reaching its eastern shore. Future trails are planned that will connect over Red Mountain to the east of Frog Lake, dropping down to Lower Carpenter Valley to join the recently built Lower Carpenter Valley nature trail.

Winter Access

From Castle Valley Trailhead (5.3 miles one way): Take the Donner Lake Rim Trail east to the Warren Lake Trail. Near the top of Frog Lake Cliff, follow the Red Dot Trail to the north and down to Frog Lake.

Castle Peak Trailhead (3.5 miles one way, 1,500 feet gain, 1,100 descent)

This route begins at the Castle Peak Snowpark located on Boreal Ridge Road off of Interstate 80. A Snowpark permit is required for parking at this location, which can be purchased at several area outdoor stores.

Starting from Castle Valley Road head north for a short distance before turning east in the Castle Valley Meadow toward Castle Creek, where there may be an open water crossing depending on conditions. Continue on rolling terrain north, ultimately gaining an open broad ridge that leads up to the farthest Castle Peak pinnacle to the east of the true peak. Continue east along the ridge from Castle Peak to Frog Lake Cliff.

Terrain gets steep and complex at this point with numerous avalanche hazards. The most straightforward route heads north at Frog Lake Cliff, wrapping around the northern ridge of Frog Lake with different options generally getting easier the farther west you go to the low saddle in the ridge. Pick the best option for avalanche conditions and your abilities and head down to the lake.

Lake Tahoe Real Estate News

The Lake Tahoe and Truckee real estate market remains hot for buyers seeking to improve their quality of life. Comparing sale prices in 2022 to 2008, te lack of inventory combined with huge demand has doubled the average price of a home. Prices rose 30% just in the last year.

It is important that buyers get pre-qualified and are prepared to act quickly when homes come on the market. Contact me today for a list of homes that are coming soon, or for a free property analysis of your home in Lake Tahoe.





Translate »