Close Mobile Menu
Family smiling and growing like bears Suz McFadden / Cal Alumni Association
Lair of the Golden Bear

Top 5 Reasons to Visit the Lair in the Non-Summer Months

Fall, winter, or spring, Cal alums and friends can stay at the Lair of the Golden Bear at any time of the year to explore nearby nature and enjoy the Lair’s different offerings.

November 9, 2022
by Heather Johnson

Off-season? What off-season? At the Lair, there’s no such thing. 

The Lair of the Golden Bear is best known for its action-packed summer programs, but with the opening of 10 cozy new cabins, those seeking cool-weather adventures have a place to hibernate. The cabins are open year-round and available to all—no Cal affiliation required—for family reunions, work retreats, weekends with friends, and other group outings. 

By booking a cabin or a group of cabins in the off-season, regular Lair campers will get to experience their summer playground through a different lens—one with crisp air, shorter days, and possibly snow. What remains the same: the friendly atmosphere, great food, and lots to do in and out of camp.

Got a case of cabin fever? Rejuvenate at the Lair in the winter, spring, and fall.  

Book a Winter Wonderland Weekend

Kids smiling on a snowy ski-slope
The Lair’s close proximity to ski resorts and snowparks means plenty of winter activities for the whole family. / Courtesy of Dodge Ridge Ski Resort

Nestled in Tuolumne County, the Lair’s backyard gets snow primarily from December to March, with snowfall ranging from a light dusting to over several feet. When you get there, enjoy: 

  • Skiing and snowboarding at Dodge Ridge, a family-friendly destination.
  • Snowshoeing along the trails near camp.
  • Sledding down hills around the camp (bring your own sled or toboggan!).
  • Taking the kids sledding or tubing at Leland Snowplay
  • Ice skating at Long Barn Lodge.

The Lair also provides s’mores fixings to all campers, so you can cap off every day by roasting marshmallows in your Oski cabin circle’s fire pit under the crisp winter air.

Frolic Among Fall Foliage

Aspen trees in the Pinecrest mountains
The Lair’s aspens turn a brilliant yellow in the autumn. / Cal Alumni Association

September and October are marvelous months for a Lair getaway or group retreat. Gather up your colleagues, your college friends, or your extended family to explore the Lair’s surroundings. The weather is almost perfect, with lows in the high 30s and highs in the 60s. Even better, the aspens turn a brilliant yellow. Take in all the fall colors:

  • Marvel at the fall leaves in the Pinecrest trees. 
  • Bring your mountain bike and enjoy miles of biking trails.
  • Keep a lookout for native birds.

Find Your Thing in Spring

Women smiling and reading outdoors
The Lair offers a quiet springtime escape, even if you just want to read in nature. / Kevin Kitsuda / Cal Alumni Association

Spring is a quieter season in Pinecrest, perfect for a solo or small group outdoors sojourn. The Lair might be only open for a few springtime weeks and the cooler weather might still linger, but there’s plenty of nature to enjoy in the fresh mountain air.

  • Take in the wildflowers that bloom at Pinecrest in the spring.
  • Relax with a good book in an Adirondack chair in front of your cabin.
  • Walk around Pinecrest Lake.

When in doubt, head to the Lodge at Camp Gold for board games, cornhole, and ping pong. And remember…

Hot Meals Are Included

Two men and a boy making s'mores over a campfire
All off-season Lair campers receive complimentary s’more fixings for their campfires. / Cal Alumni Association

When you stay at the Lair, you won’t have to rush around to multiple grocery stores hunting for camp food, and you won’t have to worry about how to fit it all in your car. The Lair provides an all-inclusive experience, which means meals and s’more fixings are included.

Your booking includes dinner on your day of arrival, three meals each day, and breakfast on your day of departure. Even if you have special dietary requests, the Lair will keep you nourished. 

You’ll Have a Heated Cabin

Cabins in a sunlit forest
The Lair’s cabins are comfortable lodgings for all types of weather. / Cal Alumni Association

The Lair’s 10 winterized cabins are designed for groups, community, and cold weather. Each cabin sleeps up to six guests and includes a queen bed, a bunk bed (two twins), and two single beds in a loft, with bedding included. Even better, each cabin is heated and includes a private bathroom, a microwave, a mini-fridge, and a coffee maker.

“The cabins are comfortable lodging for wintertime guests,” says Cathy Connelly, senior director of Pinecrest operations for the Lair. “Like the tent cabins, they’re configured in a circle with a fire pit in the middle to foster a sense of community. It’s a great option for when you want a camp vibe but don’t want to sleep in the elements.”

Other Things to Know About the Lair Cabins

The winterized cabins opened for the first time this year. The Lair plans to make five more cabins available in late 2023. 

Cabins currently are available Thursdays through Sundays, plus a three-night stay around Martin Luther King Jr. Day and President’s Day weekends, and a four-night stay around New Year’s weekend. During summers, the cabins are available to book during the Lair’s family camp sessions that run from June through September. 

As the Lair settles into year-round hosting, it plans to extend availability to weekdays and offer organized daytime activities for adults, kids, and families.

“It’s such a great getaway option because guests spend so much less time coordinating,” says Connelly. “We take most of the shopping and planning off your plate so you can relax and have a great time.”

For more information about the Lair year-round cabins or to reserve your winter weekend, visit Oski year-round cabins. The Lair is maintained by UC Berkeley’s Cal Alumni Association, but a Cal affiliation isn’t required for guests. If you have additional questions, call the Lair staff at 510.900.8255 or email