Such a variety of accommodations in this world, and especially around the National Parks. The Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite National Park is so different from the other spots we’ve stayed, including around Yosemite specifically. On our epic road trip through the National Parks of California, we got to enjoy some wonderful lodges.
We love the Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia National Park for its rustic, woodsy feel and environment. We really enjoy the Tenaya Lodge because it was so nice and comfortable. The John Muir Lodge at Kings Canyon National Park is centrally located and fun. But we really enjoy how remote feeling and quiet the Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite is.
Staying at the Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite
When we first arrived at the Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite National Park, we’d just had a long drive with minimal stops as we went from the south end of the Park to the north. Tunnel View gave us our best leg-stretch but we quickly moved on. Once at the Evergreen Lodge our accommodations weren’t ready yet, but that was totally okay! We were content to just hang out in the woods and explore the property.
Accommodations at the Evergreen Lodge
Initially we were booked into a family cabin at the Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite, but to accommodate other guests we got shifted to some different arrangements. The family cabins are so awesome and next time we’ll for sure be in one.
Note: if the Evergreen Lodge is fully booked, the Rush Creek Lodge is nearby and is a sister property of the Evergreen. Very nice alternative!
Evergreen Lodge Family Cabins
The family cabins are perfect because they have separate rooms for adults and kids, but they’re joined by a living area. Something we’ve learned about family travel is that whenever it’s possible, we need to have a space to dwell and be active once the kids go to bed. The family cabins are perfect for that, especially since there is so much space and such clear definition between areas. Also, they’ve got little porches or outdoor space so when the kids go to bed, it’s easy to still enjoy the incredible environment where the Evergreen Lodge is located.
Staying at the John Muir House
Do you ever arrive at a hotel or resort and your jaw drops and you are just like “Um, OMG. Wow, awesome. We get to live here for a few days?!?!” Yeah, that was us. Since we were going to be in the area for a several days and we were a party of four, they gave un an incredible upgrade into the John Muir House.
The John Muir House at the Evergreen Lodge is typically used for large groups or family reunions, but we were happy to call it home. At about 2500 square feet with three bedrooms and a loft, we were set for space. It was beyond amazing and relaxing. We got to have a full kitchen and both indoor and outdoor dining areas. The living room was stocked with games and books, the bedrooms were quiet and comfortable. Really, it was perfect for us.
In addition to the kids each having their own bedrooms and us getting to enjoy a stone fireplace that ran floor to ceiling, we enjoyed some super special amenities at the John Muir House. We took full advantage of our own fire pit and deck. We spotted deer just outside our door and chatted with our own pet stellar blue jays.
We relaxed in our hot tub under the stars… and in the middle of the afternoon. Getting to experience these extra amenities and being able to freely move from fun outside to relaxing or bedtime inside made our stay top notch. And now we’re thinking of getting the larger Taylor family together to share that same experience.
Tip: if you’ve got time and you’re at a beautiful place that keeps your group of travelers captivated, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a lodge or resort. For us, we try to budget time being active in Yosemite National Park and just chillin’ on property at the Evergreen Lodge (or wherever we’re staying).
Amenities at the Evergreen Lodge
The Evergreen Lodge was clearly built with families in mind, but also is great for couples. Personally, I’d love to have a writing retreat to the Evergreen Lodge and just relax and write for days and days, but anyways, playtime areas. Check out the map of the property to understand what all we’re talking about here.
Pools at the Evergreen Lodge
Oh yes, and there in a beautiful pool area with a lounge and even a place to get tasty beverages. The atmosphere everywhere, and especially around the pool, is all about fun and relaxation. Even though the pool isn’t heated, by early summer and into fall it’s plenty warm to enjoy.
There is also a hot tub lot very near the pool. With ample space both in the water and around the pool and spa tub, it doesn’t feel crowded. In the late afternoons after people have returned from exploring Yosemite National Park, the pool area gets more busy, but still not bad.
Family Recreation at the Evergreen Lodge
It’s tough, because the Evergreen Lodge is RIGHT NEXT TO Yosemite National Park so you’ll want to spend lots of time actually hiking and seeing the waterfalls of the Park, but then it’s also fun just to relax and enjoy the woodsy atmosphere of the Lodge. With Yosemite enacting a reservation system for entry, you may find you have more downtime these days, so if you can’t enter the park until the late afternoon, enjoy the many amenities and recreation opportunities at the Evergreen Lodge.
This was our first stop after lunch and it was awesome. Full of bean bag chairs and couches, it was great to plop and let the kids go crazy. The Tuolumne playroom was stocked with toys and games as well as a little slide and foam building blocks. And then there were table games too. The kids got to experience pool and shuffleboard for the first time. It was awesome.
So, we found the playroom and the awesome public spaces, but then there was so much more to explore. When we first arrived I was given a map of the Evergreen Lodge so I could kind of understand what was available to do on property, but it wasn’t until we came across the first play area that I really understood how amazing of a resort it is.
Outdoor Play Areas at the Evergreen Lodge
There are four different play areas and random cool things to do across the property. The biggest play area was our favorite and we took full advantage of the slide, wooden fort/big toy, swings, zipline, rope web… It was amazing. Our other favorite spot was still under construction, but we were able to use the ropes course and zipline there too.
Tip: doing a playground zipline as an adult is much different from when you’re a kid. Let’s just say that on my first try I jarred my body a bit too much and should’ve thought twice.
After we’d been at the Evergreen Lodge for a day we discovered the other awesome play area by where we were staying, which had mega-chess, a rope obstacle/climber, and Oliver’s favorite game ever, corn-hole. Between all of these great play areas there was more to explore, including bocce ball and tightrope walking.
More Activities at the Evergreen Lodge
If you needed more activities, the Evergreen Lodge also has a recreation center and coordinator to help you plan adventures into Yosemite National Park or even hikes outside of the main Yosemite area. On property there are also structured kids activities and crafts too. The Evergreen Lodge was clearly built by and now run by people that are focused on creating amazing family experiences.
Another “activity” we enjoyed was sunset. The Evergreen Lodge has a platform built at the edge of a hill that allows an unobstructed view across the valley to the mountains in the west. Really, it’s a beautiful location and the kids enjoyed rearranging all of the furniture. The perfect place to enjoy the Yosemite sunset.
Dining Options at the Evergreen Lodge
There are three dining choices at the Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite: the Main Lodge, the Tavern and the Pool Bar. Offering modern, rustic menus and cocktails, dining here is just what you’d hope for at a lodge in the Sierras.
We enjoyed a great lunch at the Tavern and ate in the open air dining patio out back. We really enjoyed the elk chili and burgers, and of course chicken tenders (because kids love fried chicken)
After dining, it’s wonderful to just explore the grounds. If you need to just chill, head to the rec building and game room or hit up the pool. For an afternoon beverage, or more snacks later, the Pool Bar is perfect for either.
Where is the Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite?
The Evergreen Lodge is AT Yosemite National Park, it’s not within the boundaries of the Park, but it is in a great location. There are a few ways to enter Yosemite and the Evergreen Lodge is smack dab between two of them. It’s ten minutes to the Hetch Hetchy entrance and fifteen minutes to the northwestern entrance. It’s pretty much ideal for a variety of Yosemite National Park experiences.
Tip: use the recreation staff to get ideas for how to maximize your time in the park, or even join one of their schedule outings. They spend a lot of time both with and without guests in the Park and are there to be a resource for you.
The Evergreen Lodge is located in a spot perfect for accessing most of the Park, including places you may not have heard of or visited before. The best surprise for guests at the Evergreen Lodge is its proximity to the Hetch Hetchy area.
Unknown to many Yosemite tourists, Hetch Hetchy is a nearly people-free version of the Yosemite Valley, but with an enormous lake running down the middle of it due to a dam. We loved our long hike there and got to experience a variety of waterfalls. Really an amazing place, and thankfully really close to the Evergreen Lodge because we were dead tired after our hike. The National Park Service restricts access to this part of the Park with a one-out-one-in policy to keep crowds to a minimum.
Tip: if you’re not actually staying at the Evergreen Lodge, you should still make the trek to Hetch Hetchy, because it’s breathtaking and you’ll be floored by the pure air, blue water and incredibly epic granite landscape. It’s one of the best things to do at Yosemite.
10 Awesome Activities Close to the Evergreen Lodge
Since you HAVE TO explore Yosemite National Park and the areas near the Evergreen Lodge, here are our top picks for fun things to do near the lodge or within an hour’s drive. Add a few or all of them to your Yosemite itinerary.
- Hike at Hetch Hetchy
- Drive the scenic route through Tioga Pass (seasonal)
- Do the Yosemite Valley Tram Tour
- Have a picnic at the Cathedral area on the Merced River
- Take a family photo up at Tunnel View
- Visit the Merced Grove of Sequoias
- Explore the historic town of Groveland
- Explore the Tuolumne Grove of Sequoias
- Hike to the Upper Yosemite Falls
- Relax and enjoy the atmosphere of the Stanislaus National Forest surrounding the Evergreen Lodge.
Unfortunately you cannot kayak on Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, but it would be epic with the most amazing sights. If you want to get on the water, check out this guide to kayaking in California’s Sierras.
We were so thankful to get a full four days relaxing in the woods at the Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite. It was different than any other lodge or hotel we’ve visited on our many trips through the California National Parks. We’ll happily return, especially to the John Muir House, and will confidently recommend and upsell the Evergreen Lodge to our closest friends.
If you have any questions about either booking the Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite or planning a California National Parks road trip, just let us know by leaving a comment or you can send us a note. We’re happy to help in any way we can!