Peter Grubb Hut - Atlas Obscura

Peter Grubb Hut

Norden, California

This trailside hut was built in the late 1930s as a memorial to a young hiker. 

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Just below Castle Peak in California’s Round Valley, a simple hut sits along a popular hiking trail. Signs identify this cabin as the Peter Grubb Hut, a memorial for a young man who loved the outdoors.

Peter Grubb attended Galileo High School in San Francisco during the late 1930s. He was a star student who was involved in outdoor activities such as hiking at a time when that was a much less mainstream activity. He graduated in 1937 and went to Europe on a bicycling trip with a friend. He died there, evidently from an infection, although the exact details are murky.

His grieving friends and family built this trail hut in his honor in 1938-39, under the auspices of the Sierra Club. It consists of a large cabin containing a woodstove, a sleeping loft, attached storage rooms for firewood and maintenance supplies, and a detached outhouse. It lies just west of what was to later become the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).

For decades, weary hikers have taken advantage of its shelter. It is particularly popular for wintertime use on snowshoe or ski trips, as the shelter and woodstove are especially attractive then.

Know Before You Go

Peter Grubb hut is located north of Donner Summit at PCT mile 1160.8, about 0.9 miles north of Castle Pass. It is about 100 feet west of the trail and is not accessible by motor vehicle.


The most direct access is from the Castle Peak Trailhead. Take Exit 176 on Interstate 80 right at the summit and go north. The dirt road jogs 0.2 miles back east over to the trailhead. This road may be passable to passenger cars, but especially in winter 4wd will be useful. Also, parking in the winter requires a Sno-Park permit. Follow the primitive road, on foot or skis/snowshoes, 1.5 miles to its end below Castle Pass (about 39.357036 N, 120.364065 W), at which point a short connector trail leads up to the PCT.


In summer, a high-clearance 4wd vehicle can drive this road to the end, where there is a small informal parking area.


For decades the Peter Grubb hut operated on an informal first come-first served basis, but that is no longer practical with the current scale of usage. There has been a reservation system in the last few years, and with Covid protocols, it has been necessary to reserve the entire cabin. That is expected to change, with individual reservations again becoming possible; check the website for details. The cabin is kept stocked with firewood, which is one advantage of the reservation system.

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January 23, 2024

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