The Serene Lakes area near Soda Springs is so under-promoted, it is tough to find information on nearby mountain bike trails. They do exist - you just have to know where to find them.At Ice Lakes Lodge on the south of Serence Lakes, Soda Springs Road turns into a semi-improved dirt road. Follow this road along side the creek that and through the...more
Sugar Bowl is one of three ski resorts in the Soda Springs area. The other two are Donner Ski Ranch and Soda Springs. Sugar Bowl is by far the larger of the three and has the most diverse terrain. While it doesn't have the expansive tough expert terrain you can find at Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl does offer a challenge.This is the view of the top of...more
Take a cross country ski lesson at Royal Gorge to learn the basics or brush up on the latest techniques or advance to skating. We were lucky to have a lesson from Radka, of the Czech Republic. She was very helpful, gave us some pointers that helped our skiing tremendously, and never laughed at our klutziness.more
This moderately sized ski resort has runs for all abilities, from easy to extremely challenging. Don't be fooled by the lifts and runs named after Disney characters. Walt Disney used to have an ownership interest in this resort, which continues to have the right to use the names. The runs here are anything but Mickey Mouse.more
This restaurant rivals the best of San Francisco. It serves three meals, which are always excellent. The view is breathtaking - the dining room overlooks Serene Lakes in the Sierras, with mountain peaks in the background.
Favorite Dish: The chef is extremely talented. There was no vegetarian entree on the menu, but not to worry - the chef whipped up some delicious wild mushroom risotto cakes with a tomato coulis accompanied by broccoli and brussel sprouts, steamed to perfection. My husband raved over the rack of lamb.
The wine list is reasonable, with a moderate selection of California wines.
Desserts are excellent (and sinful).
Breakfast and lunch are delicious, although the last two times we ate breakfast at the lodge, half of the items on the menu were unavailable. Be prepared to be flexible.
This bar is definitely the place to go (and may be the only place to go) for nightlife in Soda Springs. Both nights we were there last weekend, it was filled with locals and guests having fun. Friday night it was the ski patrol gang from nearby Sugar Bowl ski resort. Saturday night it was the local firefighters. The bartender is great, and the bar...more
March 2004 - The bar at Ice Lakes Lodge continues to be a very active night spot. Last Saturday night, Ice Lakes had live entertainment provided by a bluegrass band. Good foot stomping music and the fiddler was unbelievable! This is a very casual, homey setting. Kind of like having a pine bar in your own dining room at home.more
I-80 can be treacherous during winter storms, and chain control will be enforced. In heavy storms, I-80 may even be closed. Be sure to carry chains in winter to make sure you can get to your destination.
Soda Springs has limited development, which means very limited shopping. It has a two small sporting goods stores and a very small general store by the blinking yellow light.
If you forgot something, I wouldn't rely on picking it up in Soda Springs. You might have to go to Truckee (20 minutes to the east), or stop off in Auburn (45 minutes to the west) if you are coming up from the Bay Area.
From Ice Lake Lodge, follow the Soda Springs semi-improved dirt road south. The road starts alongside a creek with waterfalls, and goes through lush forests to a look out over Royal Gorge (approx. 1 mile). At about that point, look for a trail to the left that goes up the hill.
This trail through through stunningly beautiful forests and meadows. In June, snowcapped peak were visible in the distance.
The trail ultimately leads to the backside of Sugar Bowl Ski Resort.
Be prepared to have the trail to yourself. We didn't come across another soul on the hike. Another one of California's hidden gems!
A brisk walk or run around the lake at dawn in the summer is an invigorating way to start the day in the summer. Head back to the lodge, where hot coffee is served from 7:00 am, or back to your own cabin for coffee on your own deck. I tried to use this time to make some calls to the east coast via cell phone, but I found myself sounding like a...more