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part ofEldorado National Forest, US Forest Service
Status: Open year round.   Season Dates


Loon Lake Chalet is situated next to Loon Lake in a granite bowl, and offers year-round, drive-to access for excellent backcountry skiing and hiking. The three-story chalet boasts excellent views of the Sierras and the lake. Though the chalet looks fancy, guests should not not expect hotel luxuries, but rather a semi-rustic experience.

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District built the chalet in 1989, originally intended as a day-use winter facility. Due to public demand, the second floor warming room was made available for overnight rental, and a third floor was soon added. The facility is still open for day-use on winter weekends and holidays, so overnight guests should expect to share the ground floor with day-use visitors. A ranger in residence sleeps in the patrol room on the ground floor.

Natural Features:

The chalet is nestled in the forest on the western edge of Loon Lake at an elevation of 6,348 feet. The lake spans 76,200 acres. Sub-alpine red fir and lodgepole forests, granite bowls and a spectacular view of the Crystal Range of the Sierra Nevada Mountains characterize the area.


Popular summer activities include hiking, backpacking in Desolation Wilderness, fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding and off-road driving on the 22-mile Rubicon 4WD Trail. Anglers delight in rainbow and brown trout, while boaters head out for thrilling water skiing on Loon Lake.

In winter, the chalet is the focal point of the Loon Lake Winter Recreation Area, which offers many miles of non-groomed backcountry skiing trails.


The chalet has three levels and can accommodate up to 20 guests. It features a large deck off the second floor with a wide stairway accessing the parking area. Vault toilets are attached to the building but are accessed from outside. The bottom floor is the ski patrol room, the second floor is the warming room and the third floor is the sleeping loft.

Electricity plus hot and cold water are provided. Garbage service is offered in summer months. The warming room has electric heat and is equipped with picnic tables, benches, a queen-sized futon couch, two wood couches, a gas fireplace and small dryer. The kitchen contains a double sink, hot and cold water, a range top stove, microwave oven and a small under-the-counter refrigerator. Pots and pans are provided. Additional tables and benches are outside on the deck.

No showers are available. Guests should bring food, sleeping bags, plates, drinking glasses and utensils, garbage bags, flashlights, maps and a compass, first aid supplies and tire chains. Electrical outlets may be used for crock pots, microwaves, coffeemakers, electric frying pans and similar small appliances. Click here for more information about the chalet.

Nearby Attractions:

The nearest general store is an hour away at Ice House Reservoir. In winter, the nearest town with a general store is about two hours away in Pollock Pines.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Coffee Pot
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Couches
  • Electric Stove
  • Flush Toilets
  • Futon(s)
  • Heater
  • Mattress Pad(s)
  • Microwave
  • Propane Fireplace
  • Refrigerator
  • Tables
  • Utility Sinks
  • Water
Within 10 Miles
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Mountain Biking
  • Off-Road Vehicle Trails
  • Snowshoeing
Know Before You Go
  • Guests must contact the Pacific Ranger District at (530) 647-5415 to arrange for permit, access, check-in and to learn about current conditions
  • Bring tire chains in winter; roads are not plowed on weekends and holidays
  • Winter conditions can occur from September through June and may provide visitors with challenging weather, affecting access and amenities
  • In winter, this is a "pack it in, pack it out" facility; please bring garbage bags
  • Nearest phone is 2 miles northwest at the Kyburz store
  • Off-road vehicles may only be used on designated trails
  • No pets allowed in building
  • Bears frequent the area; keep all food out of sight in approved containers or locked inside your vehicle and remove all food from area after eating
  • For current weather conditions and fire restriction status, click here
  • Don't Move Firewood: Protect California's forests from tree-killing pests by buying your firewood locally and burning it on-site. For more information visit firewood.ca.gov.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
38.98, -120.32
38°58'48"N, 120°19'12"W

Take Highway 50 east of Placerville for 21 miles to Icehouse Road turnoff. Turn left and go 25 miles north to a fork in the road. Take the right fork 6 miles. Pass the Loon Lake Campground turn-off, then go 3/4 of a mile to the chalet.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

7887 HWY 50

Phone Number:

Information:  (530)644-2349
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