Men’s Journal: These Two Hotels Are Your Golden Ticket Around Yosemite’s Reservation System

By Dalton Johnson, January 24, 2024

As summer approaches, Yosemite National Park enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the opportunity to explore its breathtaking landscapes. However, the recent announcement of a new reservation system has left many scratching their heads. Fear not, as there is a golden ticket to navigate this bureaucratic maze, and it comes in the form of two hotels—Evergreen Lodge and Rush Creek Lodge.

The National Park Service has introduced a reservation system for Yosemite National Park running from April 13 through August 15, 2024. This system, though well-intentioned, poses potential inconveniences for sightseers and international travelers. The reservation process for this period opens on January 5, 2024, at 8 a.m., but a clever loophole exists for those seeking a hassle-free experience.

Enter Evergreen Lodge and Rush Creek Lodge, two establishments that offer a workaround for park visitors. The reservation requirement doesn’t apply to individuals with scheduled guided tours and overnight reservations at select nearby hotels, making these two lodges the perfect allies for those looking to avoid the intricacies of the reservation system.

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Yosemite Giant Sequoia Hikers (Kim Carroll)

The Manual: This Clever Hack Bypasses Yosemite’s Complicated New Reservation System

By Rachel Dennis, January 21, 2024

Lately, there’s been a lot of buzz around the fact that Yosemite National Park has implemented a new reservation system for visitors from April 13 through August 15, which began at the start of 2024.

The national park’s reservation requirements are implemented to reduce traffic bottlenecks and improve visitors’ experiences.

But many people are left wishing there was an easier way to enjoy the beauty of Yosemite without wondering whether or not they will be able to secure an entry, especially with the warmer months just around the corner.

Fortunately, there are a few ways you can get around this requirement with a clever hack that can make your visit to Yosemite smooth and stress-free.

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Yosemite Valley View Selfie Fun (Kim Carroll)

Yosemite Fall Colors 2023 Photo Contest

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Fall photo contest, Yosemite Fall Colors.

We’re feeling extra thankful for all who shared and casted their votes. Your participation not only makes it fun for us, but keeps everyone #YosemiteDreaming when they need it most.

Here we congratulate the winners and share a few honorable mentions that we loved.

Winners With the Most Votes

1st Place: Sagar M.

999 Points

Half Dome in White
Prize: 2-night stay    

SM: “We stumbled upon this beautiful gem one winter. Since then, it has become a ritual for our family to visit Evergreen lodge every Christmas.”

EL: It’s an honor to be a part of your Christmas tradition!


2nd Place: Paul L.

543 Points

Hetch Hetchy
Prize: 1-night stay    

PL: “2023.11.05 – First time at Evergreen and hike to Wapama Falls. Much needed nature quiet time. My ears enjoyed the sounds of only my soft footsteps, the wind, the birds, and water. My eyes enjoyed miles of pure beauty that I did not want to leave. I will be back.”

EL: You’ve beautifully captured what is so great about Hetch Hetchy, and we can’t wait to welcome you back for more solitude.

2nd - Hetch Hetchy Hiker (Paul L. 11-6-23)

3rd Place: Lyndsay M.

441 Points

Stars of the Evergreen
Prize: 1-night stay    

LM: “One of our favorite things to do at night at Evergreen Lodge was to view the stars with our 3 year old daughter. It’s breathtakingly beautiful!”

EL: This is such a magical picture. You all should check out our Stargazing event next time you visit!


Some Honorable Mentions You’ll Love

Vanessa C.

VC: “My mom spies a great cabin for our stay celebrating her birthday! 🎉🎉

EL: This one has us laughing out loud! We hope she had a wonderful birthday stay!


Christine F.

CF: “We had a lovely day biking 12 miles around the Valley with our 5-year-old son. This is something my husband and I had done many years ago and we were excited to share it with our son.”

EL: We hope you all treated yourselves to a massage after that day! What a fun family adventure!


Michelle R.

MR: “This bobcat crossed our paths 2x on the hike to Wapama Falls.”

EL: Wow! Sounds like it wanted to join you all!


Angie S.

AS: “My 16-year-old son and I visited Yosemite for the first time in October 2023, and stayed at Evergreen Lodge. On our first day we hiked around Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. We had the trail to ourselves. We stopped to let the beauty of this place we’d been dreaming about visiting for year sink in. I caught this moment of my son taking in the view. He’s growing into a young man, and soon he’ll be off on his own adventures. But I’ll have this moment and the memories of the time we spent in Yosemite and Evergreen Lodge with me forever.”

EL: Thank you so much for sharing this special memory. It’s incredible how these landscapes provoke wonder. We hope we get the chance to welcome you all back for many more memorable adventures.


Nicole D.

ND: “Yosemite in the fall 😍

EL: This photo has us feeling like we’re there right now!

There’s More…

Anytime you need a little Yosemite sunshine in your day, Visit the Gallery

New Photo Contest: Yosemite Winter Magic

It’s time to get inspired, Yosemite style!  While we’re all #YosemiteDreaming of visiting again soon, let’s share our most inspiring photos of past Yosemite visits.

It’s easy to enter here:
Yosemite Winter Magic

Who knows? You might just win a free stay at the Evergreen soon!

Your Next Yosemite Adventure

Meanwhile, if you’re ready to plan your next Yosemite visit, be sure to check out our Packages and Special Offers page for the best deals and most convenient bundles. Or just give us a call at (209) 379-2606 or email us at and we’ll happily help you arrange the ideal visit for you and your loved ones.

When you book directly with us here on this web site, on the phone, or by email, you’re guaranteed to get the best rates and service.
Keep in mind that the Evergreen re-opens after winter break each year on President’s Day Weekend.

Happy trails!

Time Out: Start the new year off in a massage cabana at Yosemite

By Erika Mailman, January 2, 2024

If you’re hoping to start 2024 off with new levels of calm, Yosemite National Park may be the place to start. This spiritual, geologic masterpiece strikes visitors with awe—don’t forget to book for February’s Firefall phenomenon. And a new set of private massage cabanas await those who treasure the idea of a massage nestled in the woods bordering the park.

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Massage Cabana

The Wall Street Journal: You’ll Need a Reservation at Yosemite Again. Better Plan Now.

By Allison Pohle, December 13, 2023

Visitors driving into Yosemite National Park will need reservations once again.

Travelers planning to drive into or through the park from April through October will often now need to snag a morning or afternoon entry slot. If you plan to take a bus or enter by bike, horseback or on foot, you won’t need individual reservations. The required reservations will vary by month and time of day.

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Diablo Magazine: Family Snow Vacations

By Ginny Prior, December 1, 2023

What does the northwest end of Yosemite National Park offer visitors? Solitude. The Hetch Hetchy gate is the least-visited entrance to the park and a dream for waterfall lovers. The highlights are the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and the hike to Wapama Falls to see incredible volumes of water tumble over sheer granite walls in the grandeur of what John Muir described as a place as beautiful as Yosemite Valley.

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Forbes: At Two Lodges Near Yosemite, Young Adults Heal Within The Landscape

By Elizabeth MacBride, November 29, 2023

“Just outside the park gate, Lee Zimmerman and Brian Anderluh own a hospitality company, First Light, that runs two lodges, Rush Creek and Evergreen. The 300 employees of the Lodges include about 40-50 “transitional youth” each year – often young people who are aging out of the foster care system. The company supports them with extra staff members, job training counseling and special outings. It’s a successful social enterprise for a very under-served community, completely baked into financially successful 20-year-old company. As the lodges scale, so will the program. I wrote about it for the Stanford Social Innovation Review last spring.”

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AFAR: The 5 Best Yosemite Hotels and Lodges for Families

By Michelle Baran, November 29, 2023

My family and I recently spent Thanksgiving at the 100-year-old Evergreen Lodge and it was downright magical. The property has an old-school summer camp vibe complete with 88 individual cabins dispersed across 20 acres of lush, forest scenery—with the added allure of vibrant fall colors this time of year. There’s a heated pool for relaxing under the Yosemite sun (or stars), a hot tub, two outdoor playgrounds (with zip lines that kids of all ages cannot get enough of), and ample hands-on crafts and activities such as cracking geodes (which my kids loved), creating wooden critters, and bracelet making. Oh, and nightly s’mores, of course.

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Matador Network: This Yosemite Lodge Is The Perfect Family Getaway Near The Park

By Molly O’Brien, October 30, 2023

After visiting this lodge, one of the things that stands out the most about the property is the experienced, on-site “Recreation Team,” which hosts guided Yosemite tours and offers free, helpful planning advice to guests. I spoke with their team on my first day visiting, and they told me that nearly half of the guests at Evergreen are international visitors seeking advice on where to go.

Visitors who want to pay for a guided tour can let the recreation team take care of the details that can be more logistically challenging, like driving and parking in the park — and they can learn from the most knowledgeable minds on the history and geography of this famed park, firsthand.

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