Because there were three lodges built on Forest Service land in the early 1930's, they have always been referred to as the Tri-Lodges. The first of the three lodges built was der Naturfreund in 1931 (right). This is a private lodge owned by the Nature Friends, Inc., a world wide organization. When the original lodge, Sierra Haus, burned down in 1943, it was rebuilt in 1947 by volunteers from the San Francisco and Oakland clubs. The new lodge was named for William Heidelmann, the founder of the San Francisco Nature Friends.
In 1937 the Associated Students of University of California granted the school's Winter Sports Club $1000 to build the UC ski lodge (below right) for training of a ski team. The "temporary" lodge was built on U.S. Forest Service land leased to the group for $25 a year. At some time after that, the Forest Service focused on the word "temporary" and required a new building which was built by students and faculty of the university. Cal Lodge is owned and operated by the Associated Students of the University of California.
Clair Tappaan Lodge is the third lodge referred to as one of the Tri-Lodges. It was built by Sierra Club volunteers in 1934.
In 1987 the U.S. Government and the Sierra Club participated in a land swap. The U.S. Government obtained title to certain lands, and in return, deeded title to the land on which Clair Tappaan, Cal Lodge and Heildelman (sic) were located. The Sierra Club then transferred title to the lodges located in that area.
A Good Story
Skiers at the Tri-Lodges first climbed the nearby mountains to go skiing but then in the early 30's Naturfreund and Sierra Club people from Clair Tappaan imported a rope tow and equipment from San Francisco. They brought it up on the Lincoln Highway and stopped below the lodges. Then they hauled the tow and equipment up the hill, over RR tracks, up past the lodges, and to their skiing site up above. There they set up one of the first rope tows on Donner Summit. Things to do right here
Both Claire (sic) Tappaan and Cal Lodge are open for business year-round. In the winter they are close to cross-country and downhill skiing sites. In the summer both are close to the Pacific Crest Trail, rock climbing, hiking and bicycling. Cal Lodge has accommodations for 50+, and large groups may rent the whole lodge for special events. Clair Tappaan is open to individuals.