Historical Lodge Minutes from Yosemite National Park
In the early 1920s, the construction of the O'Shaughnessy Dam transformed the glacial valley of Hetch Hetchy into a reservoir spanning 460 square miles. Such a radical change required a massive labor force. The Hetch Hetchy Railroad hauled in workers by the hundreds, and in 1921, a lodge sprang up to help accommodate them. Today, that same site is home to the Evergreen Lodge Yosemite, where rough-hewn wooden buildings offer mountain charm and modern comforts on the outskirts of Yosemite National Park.
Following a major renovation in 2004, the lodge was named "one of the best cabin resorts in the Sierra Nevada" by Frommer's. The 22-acre property centers on the main lodge, which houses a restaurant, bar, and open-air patio. Chefs create the menu using local produce and house-smoked game, including venison, elk, and trout. The tavern serves California wines and 10 on-tap beers in an all-wooden interior lit by a roaring fireplace. Outside, the main plaza opens onto a kids' playground dotted with teepees hand-made from bark collected on the property. On many evenings, guests roast s'mores around the fire pit or wander into Tuolumne Hall for a naturalist slide show.
Sprinkled throughout the surrounding forest, recently constructed deluxe king cabins overlook soaring pine groves—a view that can be enjoyed from decks furnished with adirondack-style rockers and tree-stump tables. Inside, each cabin features knotted-pine accents, a cast-iron fireplace, and a handwritten welcome note from Paul Bunyan. A three-quarter-mile hiking trail winds through the property, and scattered hammocks facilitate outdoor napping. For adventures further afield, staff members can arrange guided excursions ranging from mountain-biking treks to fly-fishing trips.
Yosemite National Park, California: Hetch Hetchy Hikes and Spring Waterfalls
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Yosemite National Park sprawls across more than 700,000 acres of granite cliffs and sequoia groves in the Sierra Nevada Range. Perched in the northwest corner of the park, the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir has stirred up its share of controversy, including years of opposition from notable conservationist John Muir. Still, the lake provides some of the most secluded beauty in the park, far from the crowds of Yosemite Valley. Day hikes meander past incense-cedar trees and gnarled manzanita bushes, as well as tumbling waterfalls. As spring progresses, these cascades grow stronger from accumulating melted snow and bench-pressing boulders.