What to Know About Rush Creek Lodge

Resort amenities a stone's throw from the entrance to Yosemite National Park.
sunset over Rush Creek Lodge near Yosemite National Park
(Photo: Rush Creek Lodge)
  • I’ve stayed at the Rush Creek Lodge twice, once in winter and the next year in spring.
  • I loved the location (the closest to a Yosemite National Park entrance), the outdoorsy-chic rooms, and the amenities including a great heated pool and truly standout spa.

Since it opened in 2016, Rush Creek Lodge has made a name for itself among visitors to Yosemite. To me, it stands out for its unfussy sophistication, playful spirit, and ultra-convenient location less than a mile from the entrance to Yosemite National Park. I like that the rooms and villa suites are spacious, comfortable, and modern, and decks with Adirondack chairs and small tables are standard with every room. A great pool (and hot tubs), abundance of on-site activities, and exceptional spa (really) keeps things lively in between trips to the park. 

Things to Know About Rush Creek Lodge

  • Rush Creek Lodge at Yosemite is just a half mile from Yosemite National Park’s Highway 120 northwest entrance. 
  • The resort’s vibe is relaxed, playful, and comfortable, and there’s plenty of room to roam on the 20-acre property.
  • The rooms feel spacious and modern. Note that there is Wi-Fi but no televisions in rooms.
  • There are a lot of activities on property plus guided trips into Yosemite.
  • Rush Creek Lodge is a newer sister property to the popular and slightly more off-the-beaten-path Evergreen Lodge. The two properties are about a 20-minute drive apart.
  • From Rush Creek Lodge, it’s about a 40-minute drive to the Yosemite Valley.
  • With its nature-inspired elements, the Rush Creek Spa is worth a visit even if you’re not getting a treatment. Daily family hours are between 8 and 11 am; the access fee is reduced for kids. My kids came with me (it was their first spa experience) and thought it was amazing.

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What Families Need to Know

guests playing supersized Connect 4 at Rush Creek Lodge near Yosemite National Park
Outdoor games, zip lines, a playground, and a giant slide are tucked into the property at Rush Creek (Photo: Rush Creek Lodge)

As a parent, I love Rush Creek Lodge. I’ve stayed there both with and without my kids, and part of what I love going there as a family is getting to watch my kids play in, on, and around all the kid-friendly things around the property.

There are outdoor games like giant Connect 4, zip lines, a massive slide, and playground equipment. Indoors, a large game room keeps kids (and their adults) busy with shuffleboard, air hockey, pool, bumper pool, and other games. Across the hallway in the main lodge, the lounge offers plenty of room to gather around the fire and play games, do puzzles, or read. The resort also offers daily activities like nature walks and crafts for kids. We headed to the central fire pit every evening for nightly s’mores. And there are also other fire pits around the property (including by the pool) for more spots to sit by the fire and admire the stars in the evening.

All room options comfortably accommodate up to four people. Families who prefer a quieter option and more room can opt for a villa suite, which are a bit of a walk to the pool and main lodge, but which offer more reliable serenity. The lodge provides Pack n’ Plays and bottle warmers upon request. Rooms are equipped with kid-friendly games and books.

At the restaurant and tavern, a kids menu offers kid-pleasing faves like burgers, grilled cheese, and hot dogs alongside more sophisticated fare like banh mi, shawarma, and steak frites. For quick breakfasts and snacks, we stopped in at the General Store next to the lobby— it offers quick-service and ready-made options like breakfast burritos, bagels and cream cheese, and warm coffee cake; sandwiches, sandwiches, and parfaits for lunch; and ready-made cheese plates and other grab-and-go treats for snack time. 

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Rush Creek Lodge Reviews

The Rush Creek Lodge at Yosemite earns a rating of 8.9 out of 10 on Kayak, 4.5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor, 9.4 out of 10 on Hotels.com, and 9.2 out of 10 on Booking.com. Reviewers praise the spacious and clean rooms, its proximity to Yosemite National Park, and its abundance of kid-friendly activities on property.

Important Details About Rush Creek Lodge


view of a rainbow over the mist trail on the vernal falls hike in yosemite valley
Mist Trail/Vernal Falls Hike (Photo: Christine Sarkis)

Rush Creek Lodge has a prime location just a half mile from the Highway 120 entrance into Yosemite National Park. The seasonal YARTS bus picks up and drops off right out in front of the resort, and will deliver you to the valley floor between mid-May and the end of September. From the lodge, it’s a 30-minute drive to the Yosemite Valley, a 25-minute drive to Hetch Hetchy, a 75-minute drive to Tuolumne Meadows, and a 90-minute drive to Mariposa Grove. 

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By car, Rush Creek Lodge is about three-and-a-half hours from the San Francisco Bay Area, three hours from Sacramento, three hours from Fresno, and a little over six hours from Los Angeles. The closest town to Rush Creek Lodge is Groveland, which is 23 miles west of the property. 

The lodge is perched on a hill above the two-lane highway, but once you’re on the lodge’s property, the road is not particularly noticeable. 

The Property

As at its sister property Evergreen Lodge, play is prioritized at Rush Creek Lodge. The large heated saltwater swimming pool is open 24 hours, as are the separate and sizable family and adult hot tubs. Oversized outdoor versions of games like checkers and chess are always available, and there’s also a 60-foot hillside slide, three zip lines, and nature-inspired playground. Bocce, horseshoes, corn hole, and ping pong set-ups are scattered around the property. In the main lodge, the game room is full of board games, books, comfortable couches and tables, plus a roaring fire in the evenings. A second game room features an indoor climbing area for kids plus pool, air hockey, and other games. Rooms are stocked with additional board games. Fire pits (both communal and individual) dot the resort, and complimentary nightly s’mores kits bring both kids and adults to the campfire. 

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Hiking trails and a stream through the Rush Creek Lodge’s 20 acres bring nature close. The property’s Recreation Desk acts as a nature concierge, offering advice, equipment, and guided tours of natural sites around the region. 


HIllside villa room at Rush Creek Lodge Yosemite
Some rooms have cast-iron fireplaces (Photo: Rush Creek Lodge)

The lodge is the closest building to the pool, reception, and main lodge. Standard lodge rooms can sleep up to four people and face either the pool and the sunset or the forest at the back of the property. Lodge suites have a separate living area with a pull-out couch, and also sleep four. Suites also have a cast-iron gas fireplace. 

Scattered throughout the property are four-unit hillside villas. Each hillside villa unit has two bedrooms, a spacious hallway for storage, a gas fireplace, and a bathroom. There are multiple layouts for the two-bedroom villas, and during some times of year one-bedroom villas are also available. 

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All rooms at Rush Creek Lodge Yosemite include private decks, Keurig coffee brewers, refrigerators, custom furnishings, and Alexa, comfortable beds and hypoallergenic feather pillows, and free toiletries including hand soap, lotion, shampoo, and conditioner (and are available at the lodge’s gift shop if you want to take some home). Free Wi-Fi is available in rooms and common areas.


The Restaurant at Rush Creek Lodge and Rush Creek Tavern offer the same menu in different environments, with the tavern being the more casual option (and the spot to watch games on its TVs). Menu items range from burgers and wood-oven flatbreads to shared-plate items like poke and brisket tacos. A number of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options are also available. 

In summer, the pool bar serves up a rotating array of alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails, wine, beer, and food. Poolside BBQs are also a standard feature of summer. 


kids in the warm waterfall at the spa at Rush Creek Lodge
The spa at Rush Creek Lodge has special family hours when kids can come experience the spa with their grown-ups (Photo: Christine Sarkis)

The Rush Creek Lodge spa has done what more resorts should do: Create a place-specific spa experience. Inspired by the surrounding stone and water of Yosemite and the High Sierra, the spa experience incorporates elements like warm waterfall coves with rain curtains, warm river rock beds, and waterfall hot tub. 

The spa has an aromatherapy steam room, a Himalayan salt block sauna, a cool mist shower and warm deluge shower, and a sensory room. Compared to everything that surrounds it, the out-of-the-way sensory room may not immediately draw you in, but don’t miss it. With its simple use of temperature, sound, scent, and light, it offers a perfect way to calm and center, a gift you’ll be able to carry well beyond the spa walls. 

A covered outdoor section of the spa offers heated floors, hanging beds, and lounge areas. Spa access is complimentary with a spa treatment or available as a day pass for a fee. Family Day Use gives families with kids the chance to use the facilities from 8 to 11 every morning (kids’ day passes are offered at a reduced rate).

Spa staff offers massages in its three treatment rooms. The signature massage extends the theme of stone by incorporating hot stones and chakra stones. The hiker’s delight massage blends massage, hot stone therapy, and light exfoliation. There are also basalt river rock hot stone massages, deep tissue treatments, and pregnancy massages. 

About Our Reviews

We review hotels, cruise lines and cruises, and tour companies and tours. Each of our reviews is based on first-hand experience at the property or with the provider. Reviews are based on independent travel, hosted stays, or site visits. We always offer our unbiased opinions.

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Christine Sarkis
A traveling parent and longtime travel writer and editor, Christine Sarkis is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of FamilyVacationist. She is the former Executive Editor for TripAdvisor travel magazine SmarterTravel.com, she has spent nearly two decades finding and sharing the best places to go with an audience of enthusiastic travelers. Her stories have appeared on USA Today, Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Post, and Business Insider. Her expert advice has been quoted in dozens of print and online publications including The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and People magazine. She has also shared travel tips on television and radio shows including Good Morning America, Marketplace, Here & Now, Life Kit, and California Now. Her stories have been published in the anthologies Spain from a Backpack and The Best Women's Travel Writing 2008, and she is working on a travel memoir. Christine and her husband first met in Paris, and travel remains a big part of their shared experience. With their two kids in tow, they have piloted a barge down canals in France, befriended llamas in Peru, tended olive trees in Italy, and gone snorkeling with sea turtles in Hawaii. The family lives in California and loves traveling around the state. Their California favorites include Yosemite National Park, Point Reyes National Seashore, and the West Shore of Lake Tahoe.