Evergreen Lodge in Yosemite National Park Continues Celebrating100 Years Of Family Adventures
You know this place if you have ever driven to Hetch Hetchy Reservoir for a day hike or backpack trip. But did you know that for 100 years, it has been the secret sauce for family magic in Yosemite National Park? Hidden down the back road of HWY 120 north of Buck meadows and before the West Gates of Yosemite Park, Evergreen Lodge still stands today as a place for families and adventurers to unplug & enjoy the simple lifestyles and vacation treasures of the Sierra.
Founded in 1921, the Evergreen Lodge has a storied past intimately tied to Yosemite. The Evergreen Lodge has been a vibrant part of the Yosemite landscape. The lodge was initially developed to facilitate the building of the O’Shaughnessy Dam in Hetch Hetchy Valley. Though no definitive records exist, spoken history indicates that the Evergreen was founded by a man who worked on the Hetch Hetchy Railroad. That railroad was principally built to haul people and materials to and from the Hetch Hetchy dam construction site. The Evergreen was a post office, restaurant, and general store in the early years. Lore has it that moonshine was brewed in the lodge’s basement during Prohibition.
A lot has changed since Evergreen first opened in 1921. Fortunately, much has remained the same. As in the old days, the Evergreen is still a meeting spot for all walks of life to come and enjoy a classic Yosemite experience. However, these days you will be just as likely to enjoy the company of an international tourist as that of a Park Ranger, rock climber, or local resident.
In 2001, the Evergreen was sold to the current owners, Brian Anderluh, Dan Braun & Lee Zimmerman. They have since renovated the lodge and added 75 new cabins and communal buildings.
“Our family had the best time at Evergreen. The kids had so much fun meeting other kids, playing in the woods, and interacting with your staff. We played games, took hikes, roasted marshmallows, actually talked at dinner, and felt like a family for the first time in a long while. Thank god for places like the Evergreen – sign me up for next year.”
– Rasmussen Family, Montclair, CA
From its humble start in the early 1920s, the Evergreen has matured into what Frommer calls “The classic Yosemite experience,” where you can escape to your own comfy cabin in the woods. Today you’ll find 88 cabins scattered throughout 20 acres of towering pines. Each cabin with its own balcony creates a sense of privacy yet is within easy reach of the central plaza, tavern, and recreation areas. Wandering through the Evergreen, you’ll discover all sorts of surprise diversions for play or relaxation – hammocks, horseshoes, bocce, and zip lines, to name a few. Everything here is thoughtfully maintained to provide a sense of connection to nature, wilderness, and history. While still affording you the modern creature comforts and respecting the surrounding natural resources.
In 2022 Evergreen Lodge awakens fIn 2022 Evergreen Lodge awakens from all that the world has thrown at in the past two years to celebrate with its visitors worldwide, 100 years of great adventure and outdoor lifestyle. They will celebrate by throwing shade at its past and looking to the future. A destination focused on its place in mentoring youth and preserving the qualities that make this section of the world so special.
Impacting the Youth
Behind the scenes, Evergreen operates a fully self-fund employment program serving high-potential young adults from urban backgrounds. The Youth work in various departments at the lodge as paid seasonal interns.
Leaving the city behind for a mountain lifestyle, not only do they learn a specific trade, they are also able to live in a supportive community and enjoy outdoor experiences that challenge, motivate and inspire them. During their non-work hours, Evergreen interns receive assistance from full-time program staff in planning their next career and educational steps.
Evergreen Lodge’s commitment to youth stems from two central beliefs:
- Supportive employment can help young people build momentum in their lives and realize their fullest potential.
- The outdoors in general, and places like Yosemite in particular, should be accessible to everyone.
The Evergreen Youth employment program is an essential part of the magic discovered at Evergreen. Guests can feel good knowing that they are helping young people gain the experience they would not otherwise have access to by staying with the lodge.
Interesting tidbits from the 20’s:
- In 1921 America was rolling through the Roaring 20’s.
- Prohibition was in full swing, which set the stage for Speakeasy culture, bad booze and creative cocktails.
- The President at the time was a waffle fanatic.
- Out-of-work bartenders and celebrities like Ernest Hemingway were fleeing to Cuba for fun.
- Dancing the Charleston decked out in Flapper regalia was all the rage.
Discover the Perfect Yosemite National Park Itinerary
The IDEAL YOSEMITE ROAD TRIP ITINERARY is enhanced with a stay at Evergreen. This four-day adventure calendar is plush with fantastic destinations and a great outdoor summer pool experience.
FUN AT THE LODGE
With your scenic drive to Yosemite in the rearview mirror, it’s time to settle in at the lodge and let the good times roll!
Forest Disc Golf
Stretch your legs on our nine-hole disc golf course that’s beginner-friendly and easy to navigate. There’s both an expert and a novice level of play to choose from, conveniently located just across the road from the Main Lodge Restaurant and Tavern. The entire course takes under an hour to play, lending itself perfectly for a quick and easy game while breathing in that fresh mountain air.
The 2,000-square-foot swimming pool provides ample space for adults and children to relax and refresh after a long day in the car. The pool bar is open for good, clean fun, with social distancing and enhanced protocols. Relax poolside with your party in the shade of one of our umbrellas or catch some sun rays.
IIn fair weather months, we serve up classic bar-b-que poolside. Visit our Pool Bar page for updates to menu offerings.
S’mores & Stargazing
As the sun begins to set, enjoy our nightly tradition of complimentary s’mores by our outdoor fire pits, and watch the night sky begin to reveal a spectacular display of stars, unlike anything you’ll ever see among bright city lights.
“I don’t want to go home! What a great discovery. Well done!”
– Beverly Vicente
YOSEMITE CABINS & CUSTOM CAMPING
Guests at Evergreen mountain resort stay in various attractive cabins scattered throughout our 20-acre property. Situated among towering pines, spacious cabins allow couples, families, and individual travelers alike to enjoy nature in comfort.
The cabins are warmly furnished and feature comfy beds with feather pillows, air conditioning units, historic artwork, Alexa Devices for in-room entertainment and music, gourmet coffee brewers, electric kettles, and private decks, and more. Or enjoy the best of camping hassle-free in a Custom Camping site.
Discover Hetch Hetchy
With the Evergreen lodge located just 1 mile from the gates of Yosemite and a short 5-minute drive to the parking area near O’Shaughnessy Dam, Discovering Hetch Hetchy and all its recreational opportunities is a must-see on your stay. The Hetch Hetchy Valley is one of Yosemite’s hidden jewels. Formed millions of years ago by water and glacial erosion, this stunning valley (half the size of Yosemite Valley) was described by naturalist John Muir as “a grand landscape garden, one of Nature’s rarest and most precious mountain temples.” Yet, Hetch Hetchy has always been overshadowed by its twin sister, Yosemite Valley. And since the Hetch Hetchy area remains a serene and uncrowded oasis, Visitors are constantly surprised and impressed by the beauty of Hetch Hetchy.
Hetch Hetchy is a beautiful place to recreate. The valley is home to a number of permanent and seasonal waterfalls, including mighty Wapama Falls (1,300 ft) and beautiful Tueeulala Falls (800 ft).
Many hiking trails originate from the dam, offering various options, from easy hikes to strenuous backpacking excursions. The easy 2.5-mile (each way) trail to Wapama Falls is a favorite for adults and children alike. This trail, which runs through a rock tunnel and then along the north side of the reservoir, allows visitors to experience the true power and majesty of the Hetch Hetchy waterfalls.
The O’Shaughnessy Dam itself is a fascinating engineering marvel. If you’ve never walked on top of a 400′ tall dam, this opportunity is not to be missed. The true scale of this massive monolith cannot be appreciated until you’ve peered over the barrier to the river below (vertigo sufferers, beware!). The dam is imposing when you consider that it was built in the early 20th century and was among the most significant civil engineering projects, second only to the Panama Canal.
Be sure to book one of Evergreen’s guided recreation and activities programs, which include fly-fishing trips for all levels, hikes throughout the park, bike trips (the road biking around here is excellent), naturalist-led Yosemite tours, happy-hour sunset tours, massage therapy, and a variety of evening activities.
Evergreen Lodge is an oasis in the wilderness just outside the main gate of Yosemite. We shared a cabin with friends, hiked, visited Hetch Hetchy, biked, made s’mores, played Ping-Pong, ate five-star food, and shared wine with visitors from Hong Kong and England while watching the sunset on the deck. We are in awe of Yosemite and of the Evergreen Lodge. Thank you for the memories.
– Jim & Bridg