Interested in meeting world travelers? Want to socialize with active, like-minded travelers during your trip? Then California hostels may be worth checking out.
Often called Traveler Hostels, Youth Hostels or Backpacking Hostels, these budget accommodations have been renovating and recreating themselves in the past decade. More bedding selection, more privacy options and additional outdoor lounging areas.
Several historic buildings and lighthouses have been turned into hostels. Often located in the city center, or other prime locations near bus routes, beaches or attractions, hostels offer temporary lodging for young, flexible, budget minded adventurers.
These popular overnight places can book up months in advance, are usually located in well-known tourist destinations and offer much better pricing than traditional hotels.
If you’re not comfortable with sleeping in a strangers apartment with an AirBNB, nor paying top dollar to stay in a pre-parked motorhome – then hosteling is an alternative choice.
Community kitchen, bunk beds, storage lockers and shared bathrooms are the norm, but many hostels now offer private rooms, tent cabins or other unique sleeping arrangements. Every hostel is different and has a unique setup, so you’ll want to do your research ahead of time and choose carefully.
for more inexpensive lodging options in California, check out –
The phrase ‘High Sierra’ commonly refers to the highest mountain peaks in the U.S. Located in the Eastern Sierra region of California, as seen all along US Highway 395. The tallest granite ranges protected by Wilderness Areas. No roads, no building, no development.
various types of Sierra lodging
wilderness camps – hike-in access
rustic cabins – big snow country fishing lodges – river front
historic forest lodges, inns & resorts
lakeside resorts – often closed in winter tent cabins – summer months only
Listed below is a small selection of Sierra lodges in Calif. The list will grow over time as we add more recommended stays. Follow the links and call ahead for reservations, cuz some of these remote places close seasonally, or they can get damaged during winter storms.
Vaulted ceilings, large windows, huge wooden beams and granite rock fireplaces are typical of interiors inside the large, historic lodges. Hotel rooms, log cabins, maybe a huge dining room and even a bar. Usually no swimming pools; since alpine lakes and rivers abound.
Sierra Lodges can be found on paved access roads, along busy highways or interstates, near railroads, in neighboring small towns, close to hiking trailheads, and always near mountain destinations. Often open during winter months, but not always.
Lodging is super scarce in the wilderness high country. Rustic cabins, community dorms, bunk houses or tent cabins are typical overnight shelter. Daily meals may be provided (when requested in advance). Much desired time frame: June through September, wilderness accommodations can be reserved up to a year in advance, with a hefty fee, of course.
Most popular mountain areas could have seasonal outfitters that provide access to the remote backcountry; usually by horseback, snowmobile, or cross-country skiing. Reservations are needed for such services.
High Elevation Lodges & Cabins in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
elevation: 4000′ – 9000′
Overnight lodging in California; alpine country, located high in elevation. Mountain peaks, fire lookouts, cabins, historic inns, guard stations.
The highest of elevations – cabins, lodges, small inns, all in perfect locations, totally immersed in alpine wilderness. Many of these are accessible only half the year, due to deep snow. A few can be reached by snowmobile or snowshoe in winter months. Some also have snow ski resorts nearby.
High Sierra Camp (HSC)
(horseback or hike-in only)
Giant hiking loop in high country = Tuloumne Meadows, Vogelsang, Lake Merced, Sunrise Camp, May Lake
elevation 9000′ – 12,000′
Tioga Pass, Highway 120
Within Yosemite NP
Snow melts from MAY into JUNE. Expect closure or mud on dirt back roads. Wildflowers bloom APRIL through AUGUST in the Sierra Nevada, above 3000′. Autumn arrives with aspens and fall colors in the Eastern Sierra, through OCTOBER.