|Length||10.0 miles round trip|
|+1100, -1100 feet|
|Navigation||Road and map|
|Season||Late December through mid-April|
|USGS Topo||7.5' series, Homewood|
|Start||In McKinney Estates off Highway 89 about 8 miles south of Tahoe City. From Ski Bowl Way, which is at the southern boundary of Homewood, drive 1.2 miles south on Highway 89 to McKinney Rubicon Springs Road. Turn west (right) onto McKinney Rubicon Springs Road and drive 0.3 miles to where you turn left onto Bellevue Avenue. Continue for 0.2 mile to where you turn right onto McKinney Road (Springs Court) and in another 0.3 mile turn left onto McKinney Rubicon Springs Road once again. In 0.1 mile you intersect Evergreen Way. This intersection is where the tour begins.|
This tour to Richardson Lake and Ludlow Hut combines easy skiing along a road past McKinney, Lily and Miller lakes with a short off-road section through dense woods. The final 0.8-mile from Miller Meadows to Richardson Lake and the hut requires careful navigation and determines the overall difficulty of the tour.
But the crux of this tour is not the difficulty of the skiing or navigation; the crux is finding a legal parking place near the trailhead.
You have three choices for dealing with the parking.
Shovel out a parking area behind the snow stakes.
Pay a resident to allow you to park in their driveway.
Have a friend who is willing to drop you off and pick you up.
Of course you can eliminate the parking problem by following the more difficult route from Sugar Pine Point State Park along General Creek to Richardson Lake and Ludlow Hut. Or you can combine the two routes to create a loop.
Regardless of which route you take, you will probably want to make the tour to Richardson Lake and Ludlow Hut into a multi-day tour. This provides time to explore and enjoy the beauty of the area.
Ludlow Hut, built by the Sierra Club in 1955, is located on the northern edge of Desolation Wilderness. It was built by friends and family as a memorial to Bill Ludlow who lost his life at the age of 23 while serving with the Army Corps of Engineers during the Korean War.
Although owned and operated by the Sierra Club, Ludlow Hut is open to the general public for use. The hut sleeps 15 on the upstairs wooden floor with cooking and eating space downstairs along with a wood heating stove. Make reservations to stay overnight at this Sierra Club hut by contacting:
Clair Tappaan Lodge
P.O. Box 36
Norden, CA 95724
800-679-6775 (toll free)
As one might expect, 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).
Waypoint 1 to 2
Miles: 0.0 - 1.5
Elevation change: +300 feet
Ski on the snow-covered continuation of McKinney Rubicon Springs Road to the southwest for 1.5 miles until you reach the bridge across McKinney Creek (2).
Waypoint 2 to 3
Miles: 1.5 - 2.3
Elevation change: +250 feet
Cross McKinney Creek and ski west on the road for 0.8 mile until you reach a location above and to the north of McKinney Lake (3).
Waypoint 3 to 4
Miles: 2.3 - 3.3
Elevation change: +200 feet
Continue skiing generally west on the road for 1.0 mile until you reach Lily Lake (4).
Waypoint 4 to 5
Miles: 3.3 - 3.9
Elevation change: Nil
Ski slightly south of west on the road for 0.6 mile until you reach Miller Lake (5). In the past, the cabin marked on the topo at the north edge of Miller Lake made a nice shelter for lunch during cold, windy weather; regretfully it no longer exists.
Waypoint 5 to 6
Miles: 3.9 - 4.2
Elevation change: +50 feet
Ski slightly south of west on the road for 0.3 mile until you reach Miller Meadows (6).
Special Note 1
The section from Lily Lake to Miller Meadows is flat, and you can ski across Lily and Miller lakes if they are well-frozen.
Special Note 2
Between Miller Lake and Miller Meadows, there is a road that heads south from the road you are on. You can reach Richardson Lake and the hut by following that road south for 0.9 mile. Unfortunately it is a difficult road to spot and follow; you are better off not trying to follow the road. Instead follow the directions below.
Waypoint 6 to 7
Miles: 4.2 - 5.0
Elevation change: +300 feet
Ski south from the east end of Miller Meadows for 0.8 mile until you reach Richardson Lake (7). Your best landmark in this densely wooded area is the creek draining the lake. Once at the lake you will find Ludlow Hut about 100 yards east of the lake and slightly above it.
Return to trailhead
Miles: 5.0 - 10.0
Elevation change: -1100 feet
Retrace the route for 5.0 miles back to the trailhead (1).