We had a wonderful first exposure to Yosemite National Park while staying at Evergreen Lodge, located in a remote, wooded-wonderland not far from the northwest entrance of the park. We had just driven from San Francisco as we went up and down windy, lush roads and Evergreen Lodge impressed us as soon as we arrived.
The lodge is covered in sprawling trees and offers so much history, having been around for over 100 years. The rustic-feel of the lodge was so inviting and our bros yelled with excitement as they discovered deer and a wild turkey in nature. We stayed in a Family Cabin, perfect for our crew of four, with two twin beds for the bros in one bedroom and a king bed in the master in the other. The common room was the perfect middle spot to drop our belongings and unwind before bed. We really enjoyed the “camping” type feel that the Family Cabin offered and the simplicity of being in nature as a family that it afforded us.
The best part of our Family Cabin was the location, with the outdoor playground right in our backyard. A zipline, climbing areas, bocce ball and other wooded games continuously kept the bros entertained and they couldn’t wait to return to the play space. Scavenger hunts and other outdoor games like ping pong were located throughout the lodge, proving it was a paradise for young families.
The Game Room was a great place to avoid the rainy, cooler day and my husband and I enjoyed playing shuffleboard, cocktail in hand. One of the best features of Evergreen Lodge was the Activities Center, offering staff members available to answer questions on Yosemite or the lodge and also coordinating pre-planned activities for children to enjoy. The bros loved the Gold Panning class, learning more about the California Gold Rush, getting to sift through rocks and minerals looking for fool’s gold. They also offered arts and crafts, such as the creation of a nature-inspired bookmark, and an evening round of BINGO, offering prizes for sweets at the General Store to the winners. Each night complimentary s’mores were available for everyone to enjoy.
The General Store offered an impressive convenience that we really enjoyed as a family, with healthy snacks, quick breakfast grabs like muffins, bagels, smoothie drink and coffee, and merchandise available. It was so nice to not always need to have a sit-down meal while wanting to be out and exploring. The food offerings at Evergreen Lodge were available for breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Tavern and Restaurant, with the comforts of eating inside next to the roaring fire or outside on the heated patio. Despite the camping-vibe, the food offered was much more extravagant, with evening dishes like pork chops, steak frites and root beer-glazed short ribs. The children’s menu had lots of offerings and the menu even included a Kids’ Mocktails list, delicious drink options for kids.
The Tavern offered several drink options from wine made in Yosemite Valley to mixed drinks, beer and more. The simple Tavern had an authentic tavern-feel, and you felt like a Yosemite local while there.
Evergreen Lodge has a unique, remote location tucked back into the furthest possible access point of Yosemite National Park. From Evergreen Lodge, the entrance of Hetch Hetchy was just under two miles, providing an incredible northwest access point. An additional fifteen minute drive took us to the parking lot to view Hetch Hetchy, an awe-inspiring mountain range with a large dam that runs water and electricity for the city of San Francisco and beyond. This was a great hike to choose with very little crowds!
One of our favorite parts of exploring Hetch Hetchy was running through the tunnel at the entrance. This hike is incredibly kid-friendly and was one of our favorites the whole trip. The expansive views of mountains over the dam are stunning. We had so much fun exploring this part of Yosemite National Park and being so close to Evergreen Lodge while doing so.
We had two wonderful nights at Evergreen Lodge, soaking up the simplicity of being outdoors in beautiful Northern California. We spent the final days of our Yosemite trip at their sister property, Rush Creek Lodge, located 15 minutes away, which offered a different experience but still a great one. Evergreen Lodge should not be missed to experience being outdoors in Yosemite at its finest.
Evergreen Lodge is a great choice because it is a social enterprise, focusing on its social impact to its community beyond just its business goals. Through their social mission, Evergreen Lodge opens doors for promising Northern California youth seeking job and life skills through their Youth Program.
The Lodge’s staff includes a group of high-potential young adults from urban backgrounds who work as paid seasonal interns. They leave the city and their normal lives behind and come to live and work in the mountains. 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.