While the well-known explorers Lewis and Clark were both freemasons and some of the first white men to walk across the continent to reach California, we are not interested in ‘Masonic Lodges’ of the West Coast. Nor any ‘Worshipful Masters’ that came after.
The most interesting Historic Lodges of California are the ones located deep within nature, surrounded by grandeur and real beauty. The historic hotels in which we list here have been accommodating guest for well over 100 years. Ideal locations, from rustic mountain cabins to impressive beach resorts, gold country to desert oasis, this is Total Escape, California off the beaten path.
Amargosa Opera House
Death Valley Junction, CA
760-852-4441 Historic mining location; Mojave Desert, east of DVNP
The Inn at Furnace Creek
Inn at Death Valley
Furnace Creek, California
Death Valley National Park Palmed poolside resort with luxury, opened in 1927
So Cal Mountains
The Julian Hotel
Julian Gold Rush Hotel
2032 Main Street
East San Diego Mountains Oldest continuously operating hotel in Southern California
Hotel Del Coronado
1500 Orange Ave
Coronado Island, CA
West of downtown San Diego Wooden Victorian Beach Resort, facing the Pacific Oldest lodge on the West Coast, established 1888
U.S. Grant Hotel
326 Broadway Avenue
San Diego, CA
619-232-3121 Downtown, directly across from Horton Plaza
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.