Hotel Online  Special Report

Built in 1921, Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite
Carefully Restored Under New Ownership


GROVELAND, CALIF., February 3, 2005 -- Evergreen Lodge, a classic Yosemite destination with unsurpassed year-round recreation and activities, has undergone extensive upgrades, making this former 18-cabin operation Yosemite's premier recreational lodging destination.  Built in 1921, the Lodge has been carefully restored and expanded to preserve its history and natural setting.  The new owners, First Light Destinations, have added 50 cedar cabins, a recreation center and great room, a meeting/event hall, and a general store, and have expanded and renovated the dining room, kitchen and main lodge. 

"Evergreen Lodge was a small, sleepy operation hidden near Yosemite's Hetch Hetchy Valley.  We set out to expand it by preserving its past while creating a true destination property with affordable, yet comfortable accommodations," said Lee Zimmerman, partner and owner.  "Our vision is to offer our guests a rich Yosemite experience that includes staying at a historic mountain lodge, hiking to waterfalls, listening to ranger talks, or just playing a game of horseshoes and unwinding by a campfire." 

First Light Destinations, based in San Francisco, purchased the property in December 2001 and, in early 2002, began plans to upgrade and expand Evergreen Lodge.  Founders of First Light Destinations are Lee Zimmerman, Brian Anderluh, and Dan Braun.  The Evergreen's largest investor, Pacific Community Ventures, is a double bottom line venture capital fund.

Lead architect for the new buildings and cabins was Howard Backen of Backen & Gillam Architects in Sausalito, California, whose notable projects include Robert Redford's Sundance Institute Community of the Arts in Utah and Auberge Resorts in Calistoga and Los Cabos, Mexico.  All construction was designed to minimize impact on the surrounding forest. 

The new owners are dedicated to providing guests with the best recreation program in the area. Evergreen Lodge is the only property in Yosemite with an onsite professional guide service that provides trips and expert advice to help guests discover all of the Park's wonders.  Guests of all abilities have access to unsurpassed Yosemite recreation as Evergreen's staff can plan hikes and walks to nearby points of interest and other activities such as fly fishing, horseback riding, rafting and rock climbing.  Complimentary daily activities include guided morning hikes and nightly programs such as campfires with S'mores, full moon walks, nature talks and bingo.  The winter of 2004/5 marked the first year the Lodge was open year-round, and, at an elevation of 4,500 feet, access and outdoor recreation are available throughout the year.

Nestled among the pine trees, the Lodge's fully furnished cabins offer unexpected comforts and style.  The winterized cedar cabins are spacious with private decks and bathrooms offering families, couples of all ages, and groups many of the comforts of home, without the intrusions of TV and phones.  The 50 new cabins include traditional cabins, one-bedroom cottages, and large two-bedroom family cabins.  The original 18 cabins have been redecorated and updated.  Prices vary seasonally, ranging from $79 to $249 per night.

The restored main lodge features an all-wood tavern that is relatively unchanged since it was built in 1921, where locals, rangers and guests still gather.  The expanded restaurant now serves contemporary cuisine available in either indoor or outdoor dining areas.  All new menus offer high-end, yet reasonably priced dishes that appeal to all palettes, ranging from the Pan Seared Porcini Crusted Rainbow Trout and Grilled Artichoke with Lemon Basil Aioli to a Black Angus Burger and Chicken Club. 

Other additions include a new general store with an old-fashioned ice cream fountain, a recreation center and great room with a fireplace, and a spacious meeting/event hall, all set around a central plaza.  The general store stocks all the necessities from backpacking items to T-shirts, to snacks and maps.  The great room and recreation center serve as a central meeting place for guests to read, play cards, make a phone call or check email via the Lodge's satellite Internet service, free to all guests.  The event hall can be booked for meetings of up to 175, as well as weddings and retreats. 

The Evergreen also finances and operates an innovative on-site Youth Employment Program in which a group of high-potential young adults from urban backgrounds work as paid interns.  They gain work experience and receive career and life counseling while living in a supportive community and enjoying outdoor experiences that challenge, motivate and inspire them. 

About Evergreen Lodge
Evergreen Lodge ( offers a classic Yosemite experience with unsurpassed year-round recreation and activities.  Surrounded by the Stanislaus National Forest, Evergreen Lodge features 50 new, fully furnished cabins.  Built in 1921, the main lodge features a historic tavern, an indoor-outdoor restaurant serving contemporary cuisine, a general store, a new recreation center and great room, and a new meeting hall.  The Evergreen Lodge is the only property in Yosemite with an onsite professional guide service that provides trips and expert advice to help guests discover all of the Park's wonders.  Evergreen Lodge is just one mile from Yosemite's western border and the Park's Hetch Hetchy entrance, making it a convenient gateway to the area's many attractions. 

Kate Rapson
(415) 986-7212
Also See: Flynt Payne Appointed Executive Chef at Auberge Resort's Esperanza in Cabo San Lucas / April 2003

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