Snugly tucked into Coldstream Canyon between branches of its namesake creek, the quirky, inviting Lost Trail Lodge is a woodsy escape route from Safeway lines and chain control backups, giving guests no shortage of reasons to ask for a late checkout.

Getting here isn’t particularly easy, even in mid-summer. You can always use these coordinates: N 39º17’16.5’’ x W 120º16’25.2’’

When winter cooperates, owners Lindsey and Tony Nieman (Lindsey’s parents built the lodge) occasionally run a snowcat to the mouth of the canyon on Cold Stream Road to portage guests’ luggage. However, the 3.9 miles to check-in are up to you.

Any mode of over-snow travel gets you there, but with coveted backcountry lines dropping from surrounding ridges, alpine touring setups and splitboards are a common sight along the lodge’s porch rails.

Lost Trail Lodge is part hotel, part alpine refugio. The four rooms, three of which can sleep four adults and one sleeping six, are separate with full private bathrooms. Group reservations are available, and common.

The shared kitchen, with a Wolf range, refrigerator, and cast-iron cooking essentials, is ready for dawn-patrol breakfasts and aprés ski hors d’oeuvres. It’s designed to bring people together, however, guests looking for privacy are encouraged to seek it, too.

Delightfully cluttered in a theme best described as contemporary pioneer, the living room is adorned in pelts and locally sourced river rock.

A throbbing wood stove beats warmth, and a menagerie of local artifacts, vintage outdoor gear, books, and countless other reasons to keep a smartphone in airplane mode, color the spirit of the lodge. Bring your mukluks, and hope someone knows how to play the piano.

Lost Trail Lodge isn’t formal or exclusive. Expect to be known among strangers, and to fill a spot on the shotski. It’s not a big place, but feels wide open.

Mentioned in The New York Times, Sunset Magazine, and other travel resources, Lost Trail Lodge is one of Truckee’s most least-talked-about winter quick trips, because those who know about it would prefer others don’t.

Prefer summer? Miles of well-regarded mountain bike trails stream from the lodge’s front porch and a somewhat covert but highly-rated granite crag awaits in-the-know climbers. Oh, and every room includes a dog bed — as if you needed another reason to go get lost. Visit for booking and information.