Crystal Basin Area
The Ski Patrol has marked a number of trails within the Crystal Basin area. The trails are marked with blue diamonds on the trees. Most of the trailheads are near the Loon Lake Chalet, which has a public restroom, warming room, and sun deck, and is staffed by USFS personnel or Ski Patrol members on weekends from about 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.
• Chipmunk Bluff
• Bert's Lake
• Van Vleck Bunkhouse
• Van Vleck storm shelter
• Robb's Peak
The US Forest Service has written a brochure which includes information for planning your trip, provides driving directions, parking information, and describes all of the trails listed above:
Huts Available for Day Use or Overnight Rental:
Loon Lake Chalet
Close to Loon Lake at 6,500 feet, the Chalet is a spacious modern facility. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District built the Chalet in 1989 for the U.S. Forest Service. It was originally intended to be a winter facility open only for day use. Due to public demand, the second floor Warming Room has been made available for overnight rental. The facility is open for day-use on winter weekends. In the mid 1990's a third floor loft was added for overnight rental. The Chalet is available year round. In the winter the Chalet is the focal point of the Loon Lake Winter Recreation Area, offering many miles of non-groomed backcountry skiing trails.
The chalet accommodates up to 20 people and offers electric heat, lights, cook top, microwave, small refrigerator, hot and cold water, gas fireplace, exterior vault toilets, and a large deck. There is no shower. The U.S. Forest Service has a brochure with more details about the Chalet: Loon Lake Chalet
Robb's Hut is the first facility that the Forest Service made available to the public back in the 1980's. The Hut sits next to an inactive lookout on top of Robb's Peak. It has a wonderful 360 degree view from the lookout and offers a spectacular view of the Crystal Range of the Sierras. Robbs is available year round, but the last three miles must be accessed by ski or snowshoe in the winter.
The Hut accommodates up to 6 people and features propane lights, cook top, heater, three double bunks, and an exterior toilet. There is no running water or garbage service. The U.S. Forest Service has a brochure with additional information about the hut: Robb's Hut Information and has a trail map: Robb's Hut trail.
Van Vleck Bunkhouse
Built in 1957, the Vleck Bunkhouse offers a view of the Tell's Peak portion of the Crystal Range of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Sitting on the edge of a 40-acre meadow, the Bunkhouse is the last remnant of the Van Vleck Ranch site, which was operated as a cattle ranch for one hundred years, starting in the 1860's.
The house accommodates up to 6 people and features propane lights, stove and oven, water heater, wood heat, running water, flush toilet, shower, queen size bed, two bunks, futon couch, and a deck. The U.S. Forest Service has a brochure with additional information: Van Vleck Bunkhouse, and maps with the trail to the bunkhouse: Bunkhouse trail (lat/long) and Bunkhouse (utm).
For information on how to reserve the huts, click on: Hut Rentals