Loon Lake Chalet

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

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. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) built the Loon Lake Chalet in 1989. Popular summer activities include hiking, backpacking in Desolation Wilderness, fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and four-wheel driving on the Rubicon 4WD Trail. 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 is located at Loon Lake, northeast of Placerville and is at 6,378 feet above sea level. You can reach this area by traveling east on Highway 50 to Ice House Road (8.5 miles east of Pollock Pines), then north on Ice House Road 30 miles to Loon Lake. Winter snow depth averages 3 to 8 feet; snow may fall from September through May. Motorized over the snow travel is prohibited in the Loon Lake Winter Recreation Area.

Loon Lake Chalet Campground Recreation Opportunity Guide (ROG) - This guide contains information, maps, and directions to assist you in enjoying your trip to the Eldorado National Forest.

At a Glance

Operational Hours:
  • Check-out time is 1:00 pm, and check-in time is 2:00 pm.
  • On winter weekends (approximately mid- December through mid-April, depending on snow conditions), the second floor warming room is open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. All belongings must be removed from the warming room during the time that it is open to the public, and may be put in the sleeping loft.
  • During the winter weekdays and the summer months (April to mid-December), rental allows use of the second floor warming room for the entire 24-hour period: therefore you are not required to remove your belongs during the day.
  • Call 877-833-6777 or go to www.recreation.gov. Reservations can be made from 4 days to 6 months in advance of your first night’s stay.
  • Maximum stay length is 6 days.
Rentals & Guides: No equipment rentals or guide services.
Area Amenities: Picnic tables,Toilets,Drinking water,Parking
  • Fee: $100.00 per night for up to 20 people. 
  • Expect to pay a reservation and cancellation fee when appropriate.
  • No refunds for bad weather unless Ice House Road is not passable. 
Permit Info: Renters must contact Pacific Ranger Station at (530) 647- 5415 as far in advance as possible to arrange for check-in, access, and to receive a current condition report. Failure to do so will result in the cancellation of your reservation. Check-in is done in person at Pacific Ranger Station, 7887 Highway 50, Pollock Pines CA 95726. The Ranger Station is located 4 miles east of Pollock Pines on the north side of Highway 50 at the Mill Run turnoff. Pacific
Ranger Station is open from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm 7 days a week during the summer. Call for off season business hours. Arrangements can be made for after hours checkin.
Open Season: Year-round Rental
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Best Season: Winter
Busiest Season: Winter
Restrictions: No pets are allowed in the building.
Closest Towns: Pollock Pines, Ca.
Water: Yes
Restroom: Vault
Passes: Interagency Senior and Access passes are not accepted for rental cabins
Operated By: USFS
Information Center: Information for the Crystal Basin Area is handled by the Pacific Ranger District at 530-647-5415 year-round and the Crystal Information Station east of Union Valley Reservoir on Ice House Road during the summer.

General Information

General Notes:


The three story Chalet offers the most amenities of all the Eldorado cabins. The second floor warming room and third floor loft are available for rental year round. Do not expect hotel luxuries.

Parking: Circular parking area. RVs and trailers are allowed. Remember group size is limited to 20 people. In the winter, park vehicles to the inside of the loop to allow the snow plow to clear the main roadway around the building.

Sleeping: The warming room and the loft serve as sleeping areas and will accommodate up to 20 people. A dozen sleeping pads and a queen-size futon are available for use.

Heat & Lights: Electric heat and lights. A gas fireplace was installed for ambiance. Please do not attempt to heat the building with it.

Water: The water comes from a well and is tested regularly for contamination. Restrooms equipped with vault toilets are attached to the building and are accessed from the outside of the building. One is for the public and one is for only the renters.

Cooking: The kitchen area has a double sink, hot and cold water, a range top stove, a microwave oven, an under-the-counter refrigerator, and a small dryer. The Chalet does not have pots, utensils, or a garbage disposal. Electrical plugs may be used for crock-pots, coffee makers, and other electrical appliances that you bring. You are welcome to bring your outdoor BBQ.

Other: The warming room has multiple tables, benches, two wooden couches, and a futon couch. A campfire ring is available outside. A large deck extends from the second floor.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Camping & Cabins

Hide detail HIDE

Cabin Rentals


Show detail SHOW

Winter Sports

Show detail SHOW


Picnic tables
Drinking water Yes
Toilets Exterior vault unit
Parking Yes