Richardson Lake and Ludlow Hut
Via McKinney Creek

Summary  Link to more information about summary

Difficulty 4 Intermediate-advanced
Length 10.0 miles round trip
6350 feet
+1100, -1100 feet
Navigation Road and map
Time Full day
Season Late December through mid-April
Snowmobiles Use Moderate
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.

Description   Link to more information about description

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.

Image of Ludlow Hut

Ludlow Hut

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.

Image of sunset on Richardson Lake

Sunset at Richardson Lake

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
530-426-3632 (phone)
800-679-6775 (toll free)
530-426-0742 (fax)

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).

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 - 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).

Image of route along road

Skiing along road

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.

Image of skiers on Miller Lake

Skiing across Miller Lake

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).

Print version of map for tour