Historic Lodge Vacations in the Sierra

Historic Sierra Lodges make for a Authentic Adventure Vacation

Vacationing in the Sierra Nevada has many options for incredible adventures. Yet for some who dare to experience the Sierra with authenticity, discovering a Sierra Historic Lodge might be the recipe for an unforgettable vacation. There is something intriguing and relaxing about staying in location a little of the beaten path and places that once were featured establishments to the first settlers of the Sierra Nevada Gold rush.

With the historic Gold Rush of California we often think first of Ghost towns and day trip visits state parks or monuments to celebrate the history. But with a little research and flexibility in your travel plans you can discover a charming, location with lots of story, character and community. Staying at one of the sierra historic lodges is also a great way of discovering local favorites for recreation and entertainment.

Winter Frozen June Lake mountains

High Sierra Lodges | Total Escape Lodging

The word ‘high Sierra’ often refers to the highest mountain peaks in the United States. The highest granite ranges are protected in Wilderness Areas. No road construction, no developments. Yet through out the Sierra, the Scenic Byways across the Sierra and countless small mountain communities host a variety of base camps for not only travelers on road trip vacations but adventure seekers looking for a base camp for discovery in the high country.

This list of Sierra Nevada lodges and Historic Hotels is great for planning your 2023 adventure vacations.


Wawona Hotel Yosemite

The Wawona Hotel is one of the most historic hotels in Yosemite National Park. The first cabin built for lodging was in 1856 gave travelers a place to stop and rest and pick up supplies when traveling through the valley. The Wawona Hotel is only 4 miles from the south entrance of the park and 28 miles from the Yosemite Valley, giving its guests a great location in the park without the crowds.

The Wawona Hotel is one of the oldest mountain resort hotels in California and was completely renovated in 2002, giving the hotel its classic Victorian-era style. Opened for most of the year, the Wawona Hotel offers its guests a charming stay in a relaxed environment yet still close to all of the hustle and bustle that continues to make Yosemite a lasting tradition for many families.

Parlor View at Bridgeport Inn

Bridgeport Inn

If you wish to explore and experience the deep history, a trip to the Bridgeport Inn is the best place to start. Built around 1877, the hotel became the destination where many miners sought the riches of their journey to the Bodie. Rumor says Samuel Clemens stayed there.

With a reputation for comfortable lodging, family fine dining and friendly service. The Bridgeport Inn has long been a favorite destination for travelers from near and far.

Owned and operated by the Peters family, the Bridgeport Inn is open daily from Mid-March through October. Guests find it an ideal base from which to experience the abundance of outdoor recreational activities unique to this Eastern High Sierra paradise. Fish and explore the many lakes, rivers, and streams. Tour century-old cattle ranches. Explore Visit Bodie, a legendary ghost town. If you can reserve a room, we recommend a stay around the fourth of July. Enjoy an old-time, small-town Fourth of July celebration.

Evergreen Lodge

Evergreen Lodge

The Evergreen Lodge is an ideal choice to travel to Yosemite and the surrounding area and provides excellent value for money. With 0ver 100 years of family memories flooding the resort, Evergreen has a wholesome value of mountain life that is hard to find in traditional tourism travel. A mile from Hetch Hetchy, you may spend the day showcasing the lesser-known but amazing waterfall & granite dome. It ends the day at a campfire with local eats and snacks.

Fern Creek Lodge

Rustic romance blooms like a desert flower at Fern Creek Lodge, one of June Lake’s oldest and friendliest family lodges. Quaint cabins are a quiet hideaway at the base of the majestic Carson Peak, where you can live in peace and privacy in the secluded horseshoe-shaped canyon loop before the dramatic mountain backdrop of Mono Basin. Grill fresh-caught fish under the covered canopy barbeques. Hike canyon trails, sail the lakes, or horseback ride into the sunset of California’s wild west.

Historic Cary House Hotel

The Historic Cary House Hotel, a boutique location for individuals and gatherings for all in one wedding, celebrating, and meeting. Conveniently located in the heart of Northern California wine and gold country. The always original Historic Cary House Hotel is a calm and quiet sanctuary among the Sierra foothills. Our historic, smoke-free location, with spectacular period pieces and antiques dating back to 1857, is matched by exceptional service, dedication to detail and a friendly, comfortable environment with free wi-fi and free parking. Walk and experience Main Street antique shops, taste wine, olive, and cheese, browse art galleries, and taste beers at local breweries

st bernard lodge exterior

St. Bernard Lodge

A beloved lodging stop for travelers since the 1920s, St. Bernard Lodge is a popular international destination for visitors from all around the country. The rustic charm of our warm, knotty-pine interiors and quaint rooms make the St. Bernard Lodge the ideal choice for your back-to-nature escape. When we are visiting Lassen Volcanic National Park or Lake Almanor, St. Bernard is our choice.. The hotel is a great stop when traveling the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway between Crater Lake and Lassen Park.

National Exchange Balcony

The National Exchange Hotel

Built in 1856 in what was to become the most sophisticated of the gold rush mining camps, the National Exchange Hotel is a treasured piece of Nevada City history. 

This grand old dame has a new lease on life after an extensive, three-year, floor-to-rafters renovation. Full of rich colors and patterns, opulent furnishings and lovingly restored original features, with whispers of stories past to be discovered around every turn…the National Exchange Hotel invites you to spend unforgettable days and nights with her. the dining at Lola’s is exquisite and the old historic bar is a community favorite.

The Truckee Hotel

Established in 1873, the Truckee Hotel is a staple in tales of Truckee’s past. First built as the American House, later known as the Whitney House, the structure stands tall on the historical registry.

Carriage House Inn

Carriage House Inn

Be one of the first to experience the updated Historic Carriage House Inn. Located in the heart of the Gold Country Boom-Town in Downieville, California. This 3-story boutique hotel has reopened under a new ownership team in the fall of 2019 but retains its charm and longstanding commitment to serving our guests.

Whether you are a long time hiker, mountain biker, fly fisher, forest bather, wild game hunter, kayaker, rock climber, horse-person, rafter, snow sport enthusiast, peak bagger, boater, wilderness trekker, Clamper, antique chaser, wildlife photographer, or you just enjoy making memories in the Tahoe National Forest and relaxing on the banks of the pristine North Yuba and Downie Rivers – Carriage House Inn welcomes you and adventure awaits!

Sierra Pines Resort features a well stocked fishing pond on site.

Sierra Pines Resort – Yuba City

The resort is comprised of 40 acres of beautiful Sierra timberland through which State Highway 49 and the North Fork of the Yuba River meander for a third of a mile. Once a booming mining town, Sierra City has become a popular tourist area. With more than fifty glacial lakes providing one of the finest and most beautiful recreation areas of the entire state. The last remaining barn on the property is over 150 years old. The tree growing through the roof of the lobby is a century old Royal Ann Cherry Tree. The trout pond in front of the lodge is 10 feet deep in the center and holds several thousand trout. The trout range in size from 10 to 28 inches and are netted daily for the restaurant’s use.

Lake Elowin Resort

Tranquil Cabin Paradise on the Foothills of California Mountainside. Escape to Lake Elowin Resort, one of the oldest and the absolute best resorts in Three Rivers, California. 2 1/2 miles west of incredibly beautiful Sequoia National Park. Lake Elowin Resort is set on an enchanting landscape along the Kaweah River. The resort’s beautiful park-like landscape with shaded lawns and peaceful lake provides the perfect setting to enjoy the serenity of the Sierra Nevada mountains! Relax by the koi pond, hike the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains and trails, visit an elegant vineyard, or canoe down Kaweah River. Lake Elowin Resort is a secluded California hidden gem full of exquisite surprises!

Gold Hill Hotel – Virginia City

The Gold Hill Hotel is a picturesque country inn located in Gold Hill, Nevada, one mile south of Virginia City. It is the oldest hotel in Nevada. It offers guest facilities in the original 1861 stone structure, a 1987 addition, and several separate historic buildings. Each room features a private bath and is uniquely decorated in period style with antiques and reproductions. The Crown Point Restaurant offers fine dining. The Gold Hill Saloon provides guests with a rustic environment to relax and unwind. Called “Mark Twain’s favorite bar” since his time in Gold Hill back in 1862, come back in time and enjoy your favorite libation in our historic bar.

The River Rock Inn in Mariposa

Tucked just off the main street in the heart of downtown Mariposa. The historic River Rock Inn checks all the boxes with nine rooms and suites, a verdant garden patio and an adorable onsite coffee shop, Sticks Coffee. The original structure at River Rock Inn was built in 1891 and became a hotel in 1941. Like most Mariposa hotels, it’s steps away from shopping, dining, drinks and the YARTS bus bound for Yosemite day trips.

Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, August 17, 2011

Hotel Jeffery Set to Reopen in 2023 in Coulterville

Coulterville’s Hotel Jeffery, est. 1851, entertained notable guests, including Teddy Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and John Muir. As the town served as a primary stage stop for travelers on their way to Yosemite. Originally a saloon and fandango hall with rock and adobe walls some 30” thick. Coulterville’s landmark building was rebuilt several times following fires and redesigned with Victorian-esque architecture. The Jeffery Hotel will reopen as a modern and historically faithful evolution of the Jeffery, set to reopen in 2023, along with the adjacent Magnolia Saloon, the oldest operating watering hole in California. Look for contemporary touches, including sustainable, eco-responsible design and operations, EV charging stations, lightning-fast WiFi, and chic Western décor.



Publisher of Sierra Rec Magazine. An avid hiker and explorer of mountain lifestyle and adventure. I love to discover new trails, hike along rivers and hang a hammock along the shores of a mountain lake. I often great people on the trail and have found some of my favorite places from the advice of people I meet in the Wilderness. I love the sierra and just like sharing what I know.

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