I love it when I find one of those cliché “hidden gems” located off a beaten path, because that’s what typifies Mike’s Road Trip. I get ardent when I find an “undiscovered” place that other travel writers have yet to notice…it makes me feel as though I’m doing justice to my readers/followers by providing something unique and worthy of their time. I recently found such a place located in the northern Sierra Mountain Range, about forty five minutes northwest of Reno, Nevada (in California)…the Chalet View Lodge. While conversing with other guests during my stay, I continued to hear them say, “this place is an unexpected treasure.”
The Lodge is located in between two very small towns, Graealge and Portola, California along highway 70. The area is fairly remote, surrounded by a million-plus acres of Plumas National Forest…for those driving by the Lodge, it’s a sweet surprise. You often don’t expect high quality accommodations in rural areas, but that’s exactly what you get at the Chalet View Lodge. This 49 room boutique hotel/resort is a family-owned operation with varying accommodations to suit just about every need.
For starters, the Lodge as a whole is a series of structures…you have the main lodge building that plays host to the “standard” rooms (which are anything but)—along with the lobby, restaurant/bar, patio with fireplace, and a cozy common area decorated in high European fashion. Then, there is the “Terrace Suites” structure, which is where I stayed. The Terrace Suites are two stories, with a king-sized bed and full bath in the upstairs loft, and another full bath with sleeper sofa downstairs…along with a comfortable living/seating area facing French doors that open up to a Terrace providing wonderful views of the property and surrounding areas.
Then, there are the rustic one and two bedroom private cabins. These are a bit more on the posh side of rustic, especially when it comes to the “Villa,” a secluded cabin within a short walk of the main lodge. The Villa is simply spectacular…not “rustic” in any sense of the word. The Villa is high-end all the way…a full kitchen with granite countertops, two bedrooms, two baths with a large Jacuzzi tub for two, fireplace…and, a deck overlooking the golf course with a hot tub and fireplace—absolutely perfect for a honeymoon or romantic get-away.
I had so much fun during my stay…there is a plethora of things to do, both on-site and in the surrounding area.
Here are just a few of the on-site activities I enjoyed:
- 9-hole pitch and putt golf course
- Volleyball (sand and grass)
- Horseshoe area
- Small pond for fishing with a bonfire seating area
- Workout facility
Nearby Activities include:
- Summer ATV and Winter Snowmobile tours
- Fly-fishing on the Feather River
- Winter cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, downhill skiing less than 1-hour away
- Horseback riding
- Mountain Bike Riding
On my first evening at the lodge I was invited to dine with the owners, Bob and Carrie, and their marketing person, Debra. We quickly learned that we all shared a passion for travel and discovery. After swapping stories for a while I wanted to learn more about how the “Lodge” became to be. I just knew there was an interesting story behind the decision to build and invest in a boutique hotel with little around to support it. I learned that Bob was a builder (and in some respects still is as the Lodge continues to grow) and his company actually constructed the Lodge, which made it a bit more affordable to consider such an endeavor. I can’t recall the exact details, but the vision for the Lodge actually came from Bob and Carrie’s 13-year old son at the time. The family was driving by, or perhaps exploring on ATVs; they came across the current site of the Lodge…when all of a sudden their son stopped, peered out at the property and said, “this would be the perfect spot to build a hotel/lodge.” I’m not sure how much time went by, but Bob soon shared in his son’s vision to construct the Chalet View Lodge. A few years later, and after a lot of blood, sweat and tears, their vision became a reality. The rest they say, is history. The family is very hands-on, trying to meet every guest and making sure all are enjoying their stay. I was absolutely amazed by the hard work and dedication…and, I swore it seemed as though Bob was often in two places at the same time!
Bob and Carrie have long-term vision for the area and have been working with local entrepreneurs to expand the offerings to attracted more visitors…with the Lodge as one of the anchors to that development. “We offer a pretty unique experience at Chalet View Lodge for our guests…they can experience luxury in the wilderness, while not compromising on comfort or activities.”
On the second day of my visit I enthusiastically accepted an invitation to go on an ATV ride with an outfitter just a few miles away. Explore! Sierra Touring Company offers exciting tours of a private 2000 acre ranch with varying terrain. I thoroughly enjoyed a private tour with Ken, the owner of Sierra Touring, who painstakingly carved out an exciting trail system taking riders from low-lying plains to mountain tops with 360 degree views. The terrain is interestingly diverse, from dense pine and fir trees, to aspen and scrub oak. After a couple hours of riding I headed back to the Lodge to get cleaned up. I had no idea how dirty I was until I looked in a mirror prior to jumping in the shower. You know you had a good time when your face gets this dirty!
On my third day I decided to take it easy and head over to the spa for a salt scrub and deep tissue massage…a perfect complement to the prior days’ activities. I had never experienced a “salt scrub” before…it was a unique and enjoyable treatment. After I showered off, I hopped back on the table for one of the best massages I’ve ever had (Amanda…you rock!). The spa is really quite nice, with all the comforts and services you’d expect if you were in a big city.
It was another spectacular fall day, sunny and in the high 60s. Now that I was thoroughly relaxed, it was time to hit the links. The Lodge has a 9-hold pitch-and-putt course…which as you may know are the two most important aspects of the game. It took me a while to get used to the short lengths (I kept hitting over the green), but I soon had it dialed in and had a really enjoyable time.
That evening I was invited to dine with Bob and Carrie once again, along with a couple of their friends up from Reno for the weekend. We had a sensational evening and I was a bit doleful to be moving on.
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of a more popular tourist destination, but not compromise on accommodations or activities, do yourself a favor and plan a trip to the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains and stay at the Chalet View lodge…I promise ya, you will not be disappointed.
Click the following link to see more of my pictures of Chalet View Lodge. If you’ve been to the lodge before, post a comment below and let my readers and me know what you thought. If you found this post and video to be helpful and/or interesting…please click the “like” button below and share with your friends and family.