The Maiden Peak Shelter is a respite for both summer and winter travelers along the Pacific Crest Trail. This fully enclosed cabin provides space for up to 15 people (although that would be pretty tight!). Volunteers help maintain the cabin and stock it with wood for the winter, although the supply often runs out before the season is over. The cabin is well-equipped with axes for splitting wood, solar lights, tables, benches, and a wood stove. A second floor loft is an excellent place to bed down for the night.
The forest surrounding the cabin is incredibly peaceful and beautiful. Most of the walk will keep you in the trees, but an occasional view towards Mount Ray, Fuji Mountain and Waldo Lake will take your breath away.
There are a few ways to get back to the shelter, but the quickest way is to start from the Gold Lake Sno-Park. Although the trails are well-marked with signs and blue diamonds, people seem to get lost frequently on their way to the cabin. Be prepared with a map and compass or GPS and the ability to use them. Also, start early enough in the day to have enough sunlight to navigate to the shelter. You may find an unbroken trail covered in fresh snow, which takes much more time than walking on a groomed trail. Plan accordingly.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.