General Questions

Category: General Questions

The Karma Institute, Inc. leases the property, consisting of 18+/- acres for the purpose of managing and operating the rental activities at Willow Springs Lodge & Retreat Center. For a list of the facilities at Willow Springs included in the lease, refer to the next question, “What facilities are available at Willow Springs”.

Category: General Questions

Willow Springs offers various accommodations: Renovated Lodge (Entire): sleeps 22 in beds, commercial-style kitchen; Partial Renovated Lodge: sleeps 10 in beds; 1 bed/1 bath furnished Cabins: sleeps 4 with sofa bed in living room; Campground: fenced tent camping area for up to 30 people with community kitchen and bathhouse; Yurt: furnished (no kitchen/bath) adjacent to camping area; Additional campsites available outside camping area; RV sites: full hookup, partial, water only, flat graveled pads We also offer a variety of other amenities and facilities: Hot tub/wood-burning sauna Yoga studio; Recreation Room; Event Terrace & Pavilion open on three sides for large group gatherings; Outdoor beverage bar; Group fire pit; An herb garden and Permaculture garden; Nature trails in forested area of approximately 10 acres.

Category: General Questions

The Lodge and Cabins are on the lower 4 acres of Willow Springs Retreat Center grounds. The cabins (and a few RV spots) are about 300 feet from the Lodge. The cabins are all next to each other. The Campground is located on the upper portion of Willow Springs on the adjacent hilly 14 acre parcel. It’s less than 1000 feet from the Campground down the hill to the Lodge and 500 feet to the group Pavilion and Cabins. Coming up is a bit of a hike but a car can be driven by those that need additional assistance. Immediately outside the fenced camping area is the yurt, community kitchen and bathhouse, and multiple options for additional camping sites, RV pads (full and partial), and parking.

Category: General Questions

Yes, the hot tub is available to the registered guests of the Willow Springs Lodge, only.

There is NO hot tub for those renting the Campground.

Category: General Questions

Reservations can be booked at AirBnB, VRBO, Glamping Hub, Hipcamp or directly through www.WillowSpringsLodge.com, www.KarmaInstitute.org, or www.CaliforniaRetreatCenter.org.

Category: General Questions

All of our accommodations are booked separately.  You will need to book them each one at a time and state your dates and number of people for each accommodation because there are different occupancy requirements.

Category: General Questions

We are 1.5 hours from both the Sacramento International Airport and the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. We are an approximate 3 hour drive from San Francisco.

From Sacramento/Bay Area take I-80 heading east.   At Auburn, take exit 119B to Hwy 49 North to Grass Valley.  Just beyond Grass Valley/Nevada City, turn left and continue east on Hwy 49 (towards Downieville) for approximately 15 miles at which point you will most likely lose cell service until you reach the lodge.

When you reach the green “North San Juan” sign, put on your right blinker.  Continue for a very short 1/10 mile:

To get to the CAMPGROUND:  turn right at the first gravel road beyond the sign and go UP the gravel driveway.  You will go up a steep driveway, stay to the right, and stop at the large parking area up top.  We will meet you to provide specific directions into the campground itself. 

The LODGE is beyond the gravel road to the Campground. The lodge is the first pull-out on the right and the first building on your right, grey with a red roof. The address is 29085 State Highway 49.

The CABINS:  Continue past the lodge and turn right on the very first street on your right – School Street.  The Homestead Cabin (white) is the first cabin (10074 School Street) and the Phoenix (green) is the next cabin (10076 School Street).  

Here is a link to the CalTrans road video that you may find helpful:

 Video in Nevada city

Category: General Questions

The newly renovated Lodge sleeps 22 in beds ($15 per person/per night charge after 13 guests), our two cabins sleep 4 each, and the fenced group campground has space for multiple tents (no RVs) and we limit campers to 30 people with a $15 per person/per night charge over 24 guests for additional tent campers.  RV sites (full to partial) are available throughout the property for an additional fee. A dump station is available on site. For clarification, anyone over the age of 5 is considered a paying guest. 

Category: General Questions

Yes, but these are considered “special events” and must be discussed in advance and do require a custom contract with guests providing liability insurance and a security deposit.  Contact Mark directly at 530-615-9055.

Category: General Questions

Dogs are not allowed on the Retreat Center grounds, including the lodge and the cabins, but ARE allowed within the fenced group camping area. When outside the fenced camping area, they must remain on a lease and on the campground property only (not the Retreat Center grounds). Dogs must be non-aggressive and well-behaved.  There is a $35 charge/dog/visit under 35 lbs. Dogs over 35 pounds must be approved in advance and a fee of $50 will be charged.  Owners are responsible for clean-up, behavior of their dogs, and any damage they make. Repeated offenses of aggressive behavior will result in eviction of the dog(s) and dog’s owners.

Category: General Questions

We suggest you buy your groceries in the Grass Valley area, as there are lots of stores to choose from.  You will find Safeway, SaveMart, Grocery Outlet, SPD Market, Raley’s, and the BriarPatch Food Coop.

Category: General Questions

The water at Willow Springs is from a deep well, cold and refreshing, and we love the taste – no chlorine or chemicals.  It’s been tested with good results.  Bring bottled water only if you want to. 

Category: General Questions

Yes!  Please refer to our Blog page at www.WillowSpringsLodge.com.  We feel that the best trails are ALSO the trails that lead you to the best swimming holes on the Yuba River. We have detailed descriptions of our favorite hiking and swimming spots available at the Lodge and Campground. The popular spots are all within a short drive from Willow Springs including, Oregon Creek State Park (7 min); Edwards Crossing/Purden Crossing (20 min); South Yuba River State Park (10 min); and much more.

Category: General Questions

Yes!  We are currently expanding our Nature Trail to include a loop of approximately 1.2 miles with varied terrain and ecosystem. Currently our guests are enjoying meandering (and perching) through Trish’s Herb Garden or Permaculture Garden. If you wish to receive an educational tour of the Nature Trail or Gardens, contact Trish in advance for her availability:  530-615-9054

Category: General Questions

WiFi is available at the Lodge, the Cabins, and in the kitchen/bath-house areas of the Campground. There is no charge for use. The WiFi passwords can be found in the “Guest Information Book” in the Cabins and the Lodge.  Generally, cell service is available through-out the property, depending on your carrier.

Category: General Questions

The Lodge has a back-up commercial generator in the event of a power outage and everything will stay up and running.  The Campground generator will keep the 2 refrigerators and bathhouse functioning.  The Cabins do not have back-up power.

Category: General Questions

We have plenty of parking for large vehicles, boats and trailers.  If you want to bring your RV, we have various sites which include both full and partial hook-ups.  Full hook-up RV sites are $75/night and partial (water) are $45/night. Please let Mark know if you have any unusual needs for parking: 530-615-9055.

Category: General Questions

When you rent the Lodge, you have exclusive use of the Lodge and the Lodge grounds.  You do not share it with other paying customers. The Exclusive use of the Yoga studio, Rec Room, and Pavilion is available for an additional charge.

When you rent the Cabins in addition to the Lodge, the residents of the Cabins have the same privileges as those in the Lodge.  When a party rents just the Cabin(s), they DO NOT have access to the Retreat Center Grounds when another party is renting the Lodge.

When you rent the Campground, you have exclusive use of the Campground, Community Kitchen & Bathhouse, and, for an additional charge, the adjacent Yurt and RV sites.

Category: General Questions

When you rent the Lodge, you are allowed to enjoy the Herb Garden (and cut available herbs), check out the Permaculture Garden, and walk the Retreat Center Grounds.  Please close all gates behind you and please do not harvest any fruit/vegetables without permission. We also ask that you ask us first before walking or hiking on the Nature Trail at the Campground, in the event we have another party occupying the Campground. 

When you rent the Campground, the 1.2 mile Nature Trail loop is also available for your exploration. Varied in terrain and ecosystem, this trail includes both intermediate and advanced hikes.  You can take it easy or get a cardio workout. The Sunset Overlook at dusk is a must. If you wish to receive more guidance on the Nature Trail, please contact Trish. We also ask that you ask us first before walking on the Retreat Center Grounds at the Willow Springs Lodge, in the event we have another party renting the Lodge.  

If you would enjoy an educational tour of the Nature Trail or Retreat Center Gardens, contact Trish in advance for her availability:  530-615-9054.

Category: General Questions

We are conveniently located in the foothills of the Tahoe National Forest at a favorable elevation of 2,100 feet.  We are rarely affected by the snow. In addition, we are located on Hwy 49 and CalTrans keeps it plowed right in front of our Lodge. However, drive twenty minutes up elevation and you will often find 2-8 feet of snow and fun winter activities. Sledding and Skiing is 1-1.5 hours towards Tahoe/Reno.

Category: General Questions

An on-site Level 2 EV Charging Station is available in the lower Lodge parking area, adjacent to the rec room building. It is available to Willow Springs guests ONLY. You will need to arrange to receive (and return) a  charging card from Mark or Trish.  

Category: General Questions

Hopefully!  Chances are increased if you book during the summer or fall harvest season, so please check with us first and we will let you know what is available.  Arrange this in advance and you can better plan your shopping.

Category: General Questions


2 – Queen Bedroom suites

I – Full Bed with Trundle with sink only

1 – Sofa bed in living room

2 – private ½ baths

1 – private shower room


1 – Hobbit room with queen bed

7 – Twin beds

Guests must use ½ baths and shower room on Main Floor


1 – Queen Bedroom suite

1 – Crow’s Nest Full size bed.  Guests must use ½ baths and shower room on Main Floor of lodge


Two fully furnished cabins approximately 300 feet from Lodge. Each contains:

1 bedroom with queen bed

Sofa bed in living room


Camp sites for up to 30 people (group rental only)

Furnished Yurt with Queen bed & Sofa bed (no bathroom or kitchen)

Campground group kitchen

Bathhouse (2 private showers/2 private flush toilets/2 sinks)


4 – full hookups

1 – Electric/water

4 – water only

Dump station on property

Lodge Questions

Category: Lodge Questions

For your exclusive use, the following is included: The entire Lodge The patio area behind the Lodge with triple water fall feature The outdoor kitchen/BBQ area Six-person hot tub The Rec Room in the adjacent building to the Lodge The fire pit and the lower Retreat Center Grounds For an additional fee, your exclusive use of the following is available: The Yoga Studio The Pavilion The Event Terrace The Cabins, Campground, and RV sites are all additional rentals.

Category: Lodge Questions

There are 15 total beds of varying size in the lodge (including the sofa bed). If all double/queen beds sleep two people, the maximum number of people the lodge can sleep is 21. However, please note that there is an “extra guest” fee of $15/person/day after 13 people. This is to cover increased utility costs, linen fees, incidentals, and general cleaning. Children 5 and under are not included in these person counts or costs. Guests with more than the maximum amount are asked to rent additional cabin(s) or perhaps the group campground or RV pads

Category: Lodge Questions

Guests will be provided with the door code the day before arrival.  This code unlocks all outside doors at the Lodge.  When you arrive, you’ll let yourself in and get settled.  Let us know you’ve arrived and we will come down to walk you through important features in person. 

Tag: lodging
Category: Lodge Questions

Yes, except in rare circumstances. Regular check-in is after 3 pm, and an earlier check-in can be provided upon request. Normal check-out is noon, but a later check-out (up to 6 pm) can be provided for an extra fee of $150.

Category: Lodge Questions

The Lodge kitchen if fully stocked with everything you should need – dishes, silverware, glassware, bowls, pot/pans, baking trays, blender, slow-cookers, waffle-maker, coffee-maker, mixer, etc.  If you find that you want something that isn’t there, just ask and if we have it available, we are happy to bring it to you. 

Category: Lodge Questions

The entry doorway is only about 3.5 feet high and the top of the pitched wooden ceiling is about 4 feet high.  So, don’t plan on doing your “reach for the sky” stretches in there. Agile bodies on their hands and knees are required to navigate this room. However, the carpeting upstairs is cushy and especially in that room so that crawling is comfortable on the knees.  It’s the favorite room of many of our guests – adults included!

Category: Lodge Questions

Please, no dogs are allowed.

We support life celebrations of all kinds, however, WE DO NOT support wild parties where drugs or alcohol play a major role in the behavior of our guests.  Unless agreed to in advance with a “special event agreement”, “Day Use” guests (those not staying overnight) are not allowed.

Shoes, food, and beverages (water excluded) are not allowed on the second floor of the Lodge and the Yoga Studio.

Due to the sensitivity of the manufactured water feature on the back patio, do not enter or disrupt the water feature. Absolutely, NO CHILDREN in the stream or climbing on the rocks at any time.

With escalating utility costs associated with both heating and air conditioning usage (there are 7 units inside the lodge), help us to keep our rates low by being conscious of their unnecessary use. To help us, we ask that all heating and air conditioning units be turned off when you leave for extended periods of time. Thank you!

Category: Lodge Questions

The lodge has WiFi but no TV.  We do have lots of games and puzzles available for our guests to have quality time together. The password for the WiFi can be found in the “Guest Information Book” located in the Lodge and Cabins.

Category: Lodge Questions

The Lodge does not have laundry facilities available. 

Category: Lodge Questions

The hot tub is seasonal.  We turn it off during the summer when temperatures are high and hot tubbing is not so much fun. It is on for most of the spring, fall and winter.

Category: Lodge Questions

Yes, although occasionally CalFire bans outdoor fires due to extreme fire danger.  There is a large bon fire pit adjacent to the Pavilion, and your first fire is included with your rental. Thereafter,  you can bring your own firewood or purchase additional firewood from us at $25/bundle. Fires must attended to at all times and be extinguished with the water when guests retire for the evening.

Campground Questions

No, your group will have exclusive use of the entire camping area, including the kitchen and bathhouse.

Yes, guests need to bring their own tents and all sleeping gear. We DO NOT provide any tents or camping gear for our guests. The yurt is fully furnished for sleeping (2 beds with linens) and available for rent.

About 8-10 large tents can fit inside the camping compound. However, there are additional areas outside the camping area for use, including RV pads (for an additional charge) with full to partial hookups. There are NO RVs permitted inside the fenced camping area, just tents.

Here are the most often forgotten personal items:

  • Large beach towels for the river, and river items
  • Flip flops and water shoes
  • Flashlights
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Sun Screen
  • Coffee and teas, all other food items
  • Folding lawn chairs
  • Sleeping bags, pillows, blankets for those not sleeping in beds

WiFi and electricity are available at the kitchen and bathhouse for charging phones, etc.  There is NO electricity nor WiFi through-out the campground. If you add on the yurt to your camping rental ($125/night), the yurt has basic electricity for those that would like a bit more comfort. The yurt has 1 full bed and a queen sofa bed (bedding included), lights and a power strip (no WiFi). Yurt guests must use the bathhouse for showers and toilets though. 

Dogs are allowed within the fenced group camping area off leash. When outside the fenced camping area, they must remain on a lease and on the campground property only (not the Retreat Center grounds). There is a $35 charge/dog/visit under 35 lbs. Dogs over 35 pounds must be approved in advance and a fee of $50 will be charged.  Dogs are not to be left unattended during the day in the campground.  Owners are responsible for clean-up after their pets and solely responsible for the behavior of their dogs. If any Aggressive behavior will not be tolerated, and may result in the eviction of the dog(s) and dog’s owners.

The campground kitchen has a 4-burner gas stove with oven, 2 full-sized refrigerators, and a triple sink.  Also provided are plenty of washable plastic plates, glasses and bowls; pots and pans, serving bowls, utensils, coffee maker, and slow cooker. We DO NOT provide any cooking ingredients, coffee, spices or ice.  Please bring all your own food ingredients, and you are responsible for washing all dishes and basic kitchen clean-up.    

Outside, there is a BBQ grill and 2 large wooden tables with benches for group meals.

The kitchen has 2 full-sized refrigerators with freezer for your food.  If you need bagged ice, it is available 1/4 mile down the road at the Super Stop gas station. We recommend, however, you load up in Grass Valley or Nevada City as you pass through to Willow Springs.  

Yes, there are 2 private hot showers, 2 private flush toilets, and 2 community sinks in the bathhouse.  Please bring your own towels, soap, and personal toiletries. Toilet paper is provided.  

Maybe not worry but you must proactively prevent it. We have had visits from skunks, raccoons, foxes and bear; even mountain lion are around so you must be aware.  The fenced area may help discourage wild animals but you should make precautions by putting food in closed containers and safely put away at night.  Our trash policy was developed because of issues with wild animals (and dogs).

Campground groups are provided with 5 metal trash cans, and 3 blue plastic recycling cans.  Because odors from food attracts wild animals, all food waste should be placed inside the designated compost buckets and placed inside the kitchen at night.  Trash must be contained within the black plastic garbage bags inside the metal cans with the lids tightly secured.  Please keep any chains on cans in place to prevent animals from tipping cans over.  Empty recycling goes inside the blue plastic recycling bins.  If more trash cans are required, just ask although a $10/can disposal fee will be assessed.  

So sorry – we DO NOT have a hot tub at the Campground. The hot tub at the Lodge is for the exclusive use of the Lodge guests. If your group elects to rent both the Lodge and Campground, we would need to come to an agreement about its use by those staying in the Campground, depending on the number of people in your group.

Yes, there is a large bon fire pit in the campground. Occasionally CalFire bans outdoor fires due to extreme fire danger, and in that situation fires are not an option. You can bring your own firewood or feel free to gather dead and down wood on the 14 acre grounds.  There is poison oak in the woods so beware.  Bring your own axe and/or small chainsaw if desired.   Fires must attended at all times, and  extinguished with the water when campers retire for the evening.  Some chairs are provided, but it’s recommended to bring your own folding chairs as well.

There are 2 large wooden tables with benches for group meals.  There are also several more plastic picnic tables at various sites in the campground. There are two water spigots inside the campground as well.  

No, sorry but the campground does not have laundry facilities at this time. 

Due to restrictions by CalFire, smoking is ONLY allowed at the gravel picnic table area in front of the Community Kitchen.  Cigarette butts MUST be placed in the designated container and NOT on the ground, or an additional clean-up fee will be added.  Failure to abide by these local CalFire safety rules may result in the eviction of your entire group and enforced by the local authorities.

You can play music in the evenings but not excessively loud.  Quiet hours are 11 pm to 8 am