Wawona Hotel at Yosemite National Park

June 6th, 2011 by Craig Mullins

Located four miles from the south entrance into Yosemite National Park, the Wawona Hotel sits between the magnificent Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and the lively Yosemite Valley.

wawona hotel yosemite

In 1855, a miner by the name of Galen Clark was in failing health when he passed through the Wawona Valley with a group of tourists on their way to the Yosemite Valley. He was immediately entranced by the area, and in 1856 returned to build a 12-by-16 foot log cabin near a spring on the west end of the meadow, where he expected to live out his remaining time on earth.

Clearly a smart man, Clark built his abode along the main trail leading into the Valley, making it inevitable that travelers would stop both on their way to the Valley, and on their way back. And when they stopped on their way back, they would be out of provisions. According to Clark, he always had a healthy supply of fresh venison and trout, which he would provide to passing visitors.

This led to Clarks Station, which was later called Big Tree Station – the predecessor of the Wawona Hotel.

wawona hotel

In 1878, a kitchen fire destroyed all of the old buildings at Clarks Station and the entire establishment was rebuilt and opened the following year. The only buildings to survive the fire of 1878 were the stable and Long White (now named Clark Cottage in honor of Galen Clark), which was opened in 1876.

…Within a week of the fire, they hired Joseph Shelly, builder of the Long White, and staked out a large two-story building that would include a lobby, sitting room, dining room, office and 25 guest rooms. Although accounts vary, it is believed the new hotel was ready and open for business in the summer of 1879.

Today’s Wawona Hotel is National Historic Landmark and a perfect place to stay for those who prefer a more relaxed environment. Explore the property’s lush meadows and tranquil streams, play a round of golf at the Audubon Certified Sanctuary, do a little cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, or simply take in the sights while enjoying a cocktail.

hotel wawona

The Wawona Hotel offers 104 guest rooms, including 54 with access to shared bathrooms; rooms without a private bath are often compared to European-style hotel rooms, with conveniently located restrooms and shower facilities in each building.

Rooms are furnished with a mix of reproduced and authentic period furniture, marble-topped dressers, overstuffed chairs, and upscale country décor. In March 2002 a $400,000 guest-room renovation was completed, during which 48 rooms received new window treatments, wall coverings, furniture, carpeting, lighting, bedding, and bathroom fixtures.

For more information on accommodations, as well as a complete history of the Wawona Hotel, visit the Official Wawona Hotel Website

Wawona Hotel
8308 Wawona Road
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
Reservations: (801) 559-4884

wawona hotel historical landmark

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