A Family Mountain Retreat at Rush Creek Lodge Yosemite (Hotel Review)
For years, every time we visited Yosemite National Park, we've stayed inside the park to make the most out of the trip as our timing mostly allowed for short stays from 2 to 4 days. This year, we made our first fall trip to Yosemite Valley and we stayed outside the valley for the first time. We discovered another face of Yosemite that we had never experienced before.
Here's our encounter with Rush Creek Lodge at Yosemite, a mountain lodge resort hotel that just opened in summer 2016, the first new resort to open in Yosemite in 25 years. If you're looking for a mountain lodge experience with easy access to Yosemite's top sights, this location is great. If you're dreaming of a nature retreat yet you're also attached to modern comfort with a dash of design, this is the place for you. If you're traveling with kids, then this place will most likely exceed your expectations.
When traveling from the San Francisco Bay Area, I'd suggest leaving after peak traffic hours or dinner time to ensure a smooth ride, especially if you're traveling with kids. We arrived late at Rush Creek Lodge, which is situated right off Highway 120 before the Big Oak Flat Road entrance towards Yosemite Valley.
The wooden lodge buildings and the glowing string lights ensured a warm welcome to this retreat in the mountain. Upon arrival, we parked in a temporary parking space right in front of the lobby for check-in. After check-in, while Travel Chic Dad took the kids to the room, I drove around and found a parking spot slightly up the hill. Although it wasn't far from the lodge where we were staying, the receptionist had kindly offered a ride back on a golf cart. I didn't find it necessary, and a little walk under the starry sky was quite pleasant.
We took some time to explore the Main Lodge with the restaurant, the tavern, a spacious and welcoming guest lounge, and an indoor playroom that was a dream-come-true for any traveling family. The interior architecture is consistent with the mountain lodge theme with bare wooden structure, logs, stone accents, and rustic-chic details, all exuding a certain retro old-west charm.
The guest lounge is thoughtfully decorated with homey details. A modern stone-slab fireplace sets a warm welcome. The gramophone speaker lampshades of different sizes and shades draw the eyes up towards the vaulted timber ceiling above. Copies of National Geographic lay nonchalantly around the coffee tables, inviting you to sit down in one of the many chesterfields and let your mind wander through the pages.
A dream of a gallery wall sits at the far end. If feels like you're invited to the private drawing room of a naturalist. Sketches and paintings of local sceneries and species adorn the wall. Giant pine cones from the local redwood forest fill up the shelf space. Books on local topics and board games are at your disposal, and there are plenty of little nooks with handsome chairs and intimate lighting for you to indulge in some reading or small talks.
The adjacent play room has everything for kids and adults alike. Grab a book and have story time with a Yosemite bear on the couch.
Even the toy section reflects how detail-oriented they are at Rush Creek Lodge. There are high-quality wooden toys, Green Toys recycled plastic toys, and some forest-themed toys to further explain the mountain experience to kids. Even the toy crates bear the initials of the resort.
We stayed in a Lodge Room in the main building. The room is spacious yet perfectly cozy with a warm, earthy color palette and mountain-themed accents. Guests are here for a mountain retreat, so instead of TVs, there are games and books in the room to be enjoyed. Details are also consistent to the mountain-retreat theme, from natural furniture materials to interior fabrics to the sepia-colored High Sierra posters.
Other than providing a restful place while guests visit Yosemite, Rush Creek Lodge is a B Corporation with the surrounding beautiful environment in mind. There is a note by the sink which says "Our crystal clear water comes from an onsite well drilled through 1,000 feet of granite and is as pure as it can be." No need to purchase bottled water. Fill up your water bottles at Rush Creek Lodge, it's better than Evian.
The stars whispered sweet dreams, and we went to sleep in the peaceful mountain lodge.
We woke up to a lovely forest view from our balcony. The sky was blue and high, the air was sweet with that distinct redwood smell. Everything looked bright and cheery in the morning sun.
The modern Restaurant in the Main Lodge has a warm and friendly "canteen" vibe. The mosaic wall echoes the touch of forest green on the side wall and the triangular shape of the ceiling vault. The sturdy wooden dining tables, benches, and dark windsor chairs populate this lively dining area. The menu offers modern Californian cuisine with local and seasonal ingredients.
The adjacent large group dining room has a particularly dashing wood inlay wall, complete with nice industrial pendant lights and a coordinated accent carpet. Imagine having private events here at the resort!
The general store is a good place to stock up on necessities before you go out on a trail. Other than beverages and hot food, they also have a bulk food bar to compose your own trail mix. For lovers of the zero-waste lifestyle, this is a delight.
As we waited for the confirmation of the reopening of Tioga Road en route to the Easter Sierra that morning, we took some time to enjoy the play room facilities with kids, and it made the waiting a breezy game.
If you want to take advantage of the outdoors while chilling at the hotel, there are other fun options around the Main Lodge.
Some require coordination and sportsmanship...
Some doesn't take require much effort at all.
But on a beautiful warm fall day, we couldn't resist the call of the sirens... from the salt-water pool and family-friendly hot tub.
We splashed around in the pool, the water was invigoratingly cold and crystal clear.
It was the perfect way to celebrate the timely reopening of Tioga Pass and end our lovely stay at Rush Creek Lodge. We definitely look forward to another visit some time soon!
If you're ever in the area, stop by the front desk and mention that you read about Rush Creek Lodge on TravelChicMom.com, and get a free flatbread or drink on the house!
Here's the map to Rush Creek Lodge at Yosemite:
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