Lake Tahoe Backcountry Skiing 101: The Peter Grubb Hut

Route Overview

Peter Grubb Hut

Starting Elevation: 7,200ft

Summit Elevation: 7,800ft

Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1,025ft (800ft there, 225ft back)

Total Distance Covered: 5.8mi

Description: The Peter Grubb hut is a quaint, accessible Sierra Club Hut just off of Donner Pass. With easy access to Castle, Basin, and Andesite Peaks, this 15 person hut is a great introduction to overnight ski touring.

The map included on this page is an approximation with only some routes included. To purchase the full, high-accuracy map with many more ski routes around the Grubb Hut and the surrounding peaks click here. Maps are available in both paper and downloadable format.


grubb hut donner pass backcountry skiing
The Grubb Hut nearly buried in a big winter

The Peter Grubb Hut (more commonly known as just the Grubb Hut) is one of four Sierra Club huts in the Tahoe backcountry. Located in Round Valley nearby Castle Peak, the Grubb Hut is the most popular and easiest-to-access of the Sierra Club huts.

The Grubb Hut was constructed in 1939 as a memorial to Peter Grubb, an avid outdoorsman from San Francisco who died at age 18 of unknown causes at the age of 18 while on a cycling tour of Europe.

The hut is complete with a wood-burning stove, tables, and a kitchen area, as well as a sleeping loft that accommodates 15.


Parking for the Grubb Hut is at the Donner Summit Sno-Park, and requires a Sno-Park permit, which can be purchased here for $5/day or $25 for an annual pass.

The hut itself also needs to be booked, which can be done through the Clair Tappaan Lodge.


castle peak ski touring donner pass
A view of Castle Peak from the trail

From the Donner Summit Sno-Park, walk west towards the I-80 underpass, and cross under the interstate. On the north side of the highway you’ll reach the Castle Peak summer road. Follow the well-marked trail on a gentle uphill through the trees, enjoying the occasional glimpse of Castle Peak.

After about 2 miles, you’ll reach Castle Pass, the col between Castle and Andesite Peaks. From here continue heading roughly north, contouring below the ridge. You’ll soon hit a small outcropping overlooking Round Valley. Descend 100ft or so northwest from here to get to the Grubb Hut in the southwestern corner of the valley.

Descent Options

basin peak backcountry skiing
Basin Peaks’ drool-worthy South Face

There are many worthy backcountry ski descents right out your door from the Grubb Hut. You can view our full list of epic descents in the area, including the South Couloir on Castle Peak, the spines on the north side of the Castle-Basin ridge, and many more in our Lake Tahoe: North map. For now, we’ll leave you with two of the best descents visible from the hut.

The South Face of Basin Peak looms large over the Grubb Hut, begging backcountry skiers to lay tracks down its corn-laden slopes.

To ski this beautiful face, head north from the hut to ascend basin peak by its southwest flank. From the top you can ski just about any southerly aspect to get back to Round Valley and the Grubb Hut. Just be sure not to get into the small band of cliffs on the skier’s left side of the South Face!

castle peak donner pass touring
Castle Peaks’ West Glades as seen from just outside the Hut

The West Glades of Castle Peak are obvious from the hut. With sections of dense treese and sections of more wide-open terrain, they’re an enjoyable descent for most skiers, and see a bit less traffic than Castle’s south aspect due to their slightly longer approach from Donner Pass.

To ski the West Glades from the hut, head southeast towards Castle Pass but break northeast onto the ridge around 8,100ft. Skin up the ridge, trending climber’s left any time there is an obstacle to reach the summit.

From here the West Glades of Castle Peak will bless skiers with over a thousand vertical feet of fall-line skiing back into Round Valley.

Topo Map

Backcountry Ski Maps’ Lake Tahoe: North covers backcountry skiing and ski touring descents around Truckee, Squaw, and Mount Rose. The only map of the area specifically made for backcountry skiers, it includes over 100 ski descents to help you make the most of the Lake Tahoe backcountry, and is available in both a GPS-enabled digital format for your phone, and a waterproof tear-resistant paper format that will never run out of batteries.

Check it out here: