Round Valley and Peter Grubb Hut

Summary  Link to more information about summary

Difficulty 3 Intermediate
Length 5.2 miles round trip
7200 feet
+1000, -1000 round trip
Navigation Road, marked trail and map
Time Half day
Season December through mid-April
Snowmobiles Use Not permitted except between mileage points 1 and 2. [Please report illegal use of snowmobiles in this area.]
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Norden
Start The plowed loading zone on the north side of Interstate 80 at the Castle Peak Area and Boreal Ridge exit. Parking is at the Donner Pass Sno-Park located at the east end of the frontage road on the south side of the interstate at the same exit.

Description   Link to more information about description

Peter Grubb Hut, built by the Sierra Club in the thirties, is a popular destination for ski tourers. Located in beautiful Round Valley, the hut is often used to make the 5.2-mile round trip tour into an overnight tour.

Image of Peter Grubb Hut

Peter Grubb Hut

Nearby Castle Peak, Basin Peak, and the ridge between the two peaks are popular destinations for those with sufficient time and skills. The less adventuresome can visit Sand Ridge and/or Sand Ridge Lake.

Image north of Basin Peak

North of Basin Peak

Image on flanks of Basin Peak

Exploring flanks of Basin Peak

Make reservations to stay overnight at this Sierra Club hut by contacting:

Clair Tappaan Lodge
P.O. Box 36
Norden, CA 95724
530-426-3632 (phone)
800-679-6775 (toll free)
530-426-0742 (fax)

You do not have to be a member of the Sierra Club to use this hut. As one might expect, however, reservations for weekends and holidays are difficult to obtain. Volunteer for a summer or fall work party at one of the Sierra Club's huts to get reservation priority (contact Clair Tappaan Lodge for more information).

Mileage Log   Link to more information about mileage log
Numbers in parentheses
correspond to mileage points on map

Waypoint 1 to 2
Miles: 0.0 - 0.3
Elevation change: +100 feet 

From the trailhead (1) ski east on the snow-covered road that parallels the interstate and then northwest for a total of 0.3 mile until you reach a road junction (2). The tour continues northwest (straight) on the road while the road to the west (left) loops around the west side of Andesite Ridge.

Waypoint 2 to 3
Miles: 0.3 - 0.5
Elevation change: Nil

Ski northwest (straight) on the road for 0.2 mile until you reach the edge of the meadow (3) in Castle Valley.

Waypoint 3 to 4
Miles: 0.5 - 1.7
Elevation change: +500 feet

Ski northwest on the road, which may be difficult to discern, for 1.2 miles until you reach the flat area (4) at the base of Castle Pass.

Image skiing toward Castle Pass

Skiing toward Castle Pass

Waypoint 4 to 5
Miles: 1.7 - 1.8
Elevation change: +100 feet

Ascend to the northwest for 0.1 mile until you reach Castle Pass (5). This section is very steep.

Image looking west from Castle Pass

View west from Castle Pass

Waypoint 5 to 6
Miles: 1.8 - 2.6
Elevation change: +100, -200 feet

Ski north while traversing the west ridge of Castle Peak for 0.6 mile and then descend for 0.2 mile until you reach Round Valley and Peter Grubb Hut (6). Do not be tempted to descend directly from Castle Pass; you will be heading in the wrong direction and will end up loosing too much elevation. In very heavy winters, most or even all of Peter Grubb Hut is covered by snow.

Image of skiers traversing toward Round Valley in storm

Traversing toward Round Valley in storm

Image of skiers in Round Valley

Round Valley

Return to trailhead
Miles: 2.6 - 5.2
Elevation change: +200, -800 feet

Retrace the route for 2.6 miles back to the trailhead (1).

Print version of map for tour