First, Get over the notion that this is a "wait on your every need" type resort. This is a rustic fishing camp/cabins that you come to in order to get away from modern civilization. The cabins are a warm alternative to camping in the cold. The plumbing worked fine, the towels were clean, and the kids loved the place. We have stayed here many times. We come here and can imagine what life was like 100 years ago. Bears, squirrles,mice?? Keep your trash inside at night and your food put away/sealed. Electricity is GENERATED ON SITE, so you'll have to live without the hairdryer for a few days.
John and Carolyn are responsible for the whole area, so if they are "spying" on you, it is usually because you're not following their rules, or are just plain being "stupid in the outdoors". Clean up after YOURSELF!! If you need something or have a question, they are there to help or answer it.
Get outside and enjoy the lakes and the mountains around you. Enjoy a meal at the lodge/diner and definitely wait for the pie.
Finally, if you don't get "Rustic Beauty", stay home or elsewhere and don't drive up here to crowd the lakes with "day users". Too many people on the weekends is my only complaint, and the proprietors can't do anything about that.
Virginia Lakes are some of the most beautiful lakes in the Eastern High Sierra. There are 3 lakes in driving distance Big Virginia Lake, Little Virginia Lake and Trumbull Lake and other lakes one can hike too. Great fishing and very beautiful surroundings that my family has been going to since the 1950’s and still loves to go too. The cabins need work; they need new flooring, the extra beds in the cabins are really worn out, they need new furnished, the heater didn’t work in our cabin (though we didn’t really needed), Bathroom and kitchens need some work but are workable, bear proof containers would be helpful (though we didn’t have a problem with them), thaw the cabins need major cleaning and make over they have a rustic filling to them and were very quiet. If I was still able to camp I would stay in the campgrounds or by the river below the lakes because there is nothing nicer the being at these lakes. The cabins are overpriced because they need a lot of work (see above)
We didn't dislike anything about this rustic and wonderful little resort. Those who complain must be spoiled beyond belief. The mice won't bite and sure there are bears sometimes. I've never seen a bear steal a fish from a fisherman although I did hear about such an event. This is the High Sierras folks and if you cannot deal with some inconvenience then it's time to stay in the city where you belong. The Sierra is not for you. Go find a Hilton Hotel.
As for John and Carolyn, they are good owners and run a fine lodge. And as for spying on you, that is total b------t. They have always been helpful when you ask. Otherwise they will leave you alone to enjoy your stay. And if you want advice from the best flyfisher woman in the Sierras.... Carolyn is your girl. Admittedly she has probably forgotten more than this old Marine knows about that art. We will always return to the Virginias in hopes that the complainers will not be there, thus leaving more trout for me and my wife and less noise from screaming rug rats. And as an added note. If one reads Mark Twain you will discover that he fished in these little lakes when Dunderberg Peak was known as Castle Peak. And guess what? He loved it.
We've been going to the VA Lakes for over 15 years...my husband over 20 years... and we're going again in this month. The cabins are not fancy but it's nice to have flushing toilets and a warm shower! The kitchens are well stocked, again not fancy but completely stocked. If you can't find something Carolyn is quick to help out. We've never experienced critters in our cabins although we did see bears several years ago, but none since. We usually go in June or Oct. The lack of phones & television is a God send. Gets our son off his Xbox for a week or so! If you have any questions about hiking or fishing they are extremely knowledgeable. Carolyn is an amazing photographer as well. Great place to get away from it all. I'm not a camper so it's nice to have a place to stay within walking distance of at least 3 lakes! More if you're a hiker...
We spent a week there last year, and enjoyed it so much, we just spent another week there this year, and we have already reserved a week in 2011! John and Carolyn were perfect hosts, in every way. The fishing was awesome! The trails were great! I really liked it that no one brought a blaring radio! The evening silence and total darkness has to be experienced to be appreciated. . .unless you like living in some sort of condo lifestyle - in that case, stay away - go spend your time in Mammoth, where everything is glitzy and overpriced. Their brochure makes it clear, electrictiy comes from a generator that occassinally shuts down for maintenance. Of course, their brochure tells you not to bring electrical junk that uses a lot of juice!!! We met families and couples that have been coming there regularly for 20+ years.
Have gone up the last week of September for the past two years.It's all about the solitude. The rustic cabins make the place what it is. If you need more go to Mammoth or June and rent a condo. Fishing and hiking are great. Convenient diner with good food and cold beer. John and Carol are great hosts.
It's a complete rip off. They charge CRAZY amounts for what you get. If you want new towels everyday, and your room cleaned up.. You won't get it. They charge twice what the hotels locally would cost you and you'll still be close to the Virginia lakes basin. They charge for EVERYTHING. They even try to charge people to launch their float tubes off their boat launch when someone could walk 10 feet over and launch for free. They won't allow you to bring hair dryers, or anything that requires power. Trust me, if you're wanting that outdoor family experience, save your money ($1000s that it will cost you to stay here) and camp at Trumbell campground or just stay in Lee Vinining or Bridgeport. Owners are complete assholes and cheapskates to boot
Owners, john and carol, don't care about mice running all over the place at night -keep the children at home- ; they are now charging a $15.00 fee for using the lake; if you want privacy forget it, they spy on you and will follow you to big Virgnia Lake to see what your doing; and still have no bear proof containers. I believe the bears are used as john & carols personal side show to bring in customers. Bears and people are not protected from them selves. The forest service should step-in.
Likes- The lakes and mountain views are the best- 10. Fishing at the lake is easy and enjoyable. The bears do visit the lake during the day to take your fish, be ready to grab your fish and leave.
Dislikes- many... The owners real do not care about anything except collecting your money. The cabins are poorly furnished and not to clean. We heard about the mice and the bears do dump your trash can during the night and o-yes we too cleaned up the mess. The extra beds in the cabins are really worn out. The one sitting chair we had was very-very worn out. Under the bed was old dog food and the bedding smelt like a dog had been sleeping on the bed.If you are going to have a nice place to stay- look some where else. We were also over charged and the owner had no interest in returning our money.
Overall- go for the views and fishing but stay some where else.