Sitting at 9,200 feet in a rugged alpine basin within Sequoia National Park, Pear Lake Ski Hut is the highest, and arguably the nicest, of California's winter backcountry huts. Available from December through April via a lottery and reservation system, the hut provides wintertime backcountry skiers and snowshoers with a comfortable yet rustic accommodation among the craggy granite ridges of the Sierra high country.
Built between 1939 and 1941, the hut was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps using local Sierra granite and timber materials. Another example of the National Park’s rustic architecture style, Peak Lake Ski Hut may be the best example of rustic backcountry structures from that era. In addition to serving as a wintertime ski hut, the structure serves as a Ranger Station for the busy Pear Lake Basin during summer months.
Compared to other California ski huts, such as some of the Sierra Club huts near Lake Tahoe, Pear Lake Ski Hut is remote, situated 6 miles from the trailhead. Reaching the hut in winter is no easy feat. The access trail begins at Wolverton Meadows and climbs 2,000 feet over the infamous “hump.” But for those willing to make the slog in, the vast wintertime playground that surrounds the hut holds bountiful wintertime rewards.
As with all wintertime backcountry travel, weather and avalanche hazards should be evaluated to inform safe winter travel decision making.
Pear Lake Ski Hut sleeps up to 10 people per night. Thanks to the provisions at the hut, you’ll be able to greatly lighten your load for the trip in. Some things to remember when you are getting your gear together:
The hut has a nightly/person fee, and advance reservations are required. Please respect hut guidelines provided by the Sequoia Natural History Association. The hut is well kept, and all users have the responsibility to keep it that way. A friendly hut keeper is typically in residence throughout the winter.
Anyone spending the night at the hut must fill out and leave an overnight wilderness permit, and these are available at Lodgepole Ranger Station a few miles down the road.