Usually from the months of June through September, if you're heading to Yosemite and on a budget, camping is the only option. Simply put, park lodging is not cheap.
However, beginning Aug. 23 and running through Sept. 30, the rustic and charming Evergreen Lodge is now offering 25 percent off its cabins on weeknights.
On the western border of the park, Evergreen provides that authentic Yosemite experience you definitely won't find sleeping at the five-star Ahwahnee. The 90 cabins are dispersed among the grounds under the pines, and while in-room amenities are basic--who wants a TV on a nature trip anyway?--they're perfectly cozy and comfortable and do offer modern perks like wireless Internet (though we recommend you leave the laptop at home). In the commons, you will find a bar, general store, restaurant, beer garden, tennis and Bocce ball courts, and a pool.
This spring, the Evergreen completed a long-awaited renovation, which included many upgrades. Twenty-four cabins were added, and on top of all the other fun activities on site, the recreation hall now boasts a 25-seat movie theater, parlor games and a toddler playroom. The outside now features a new outdoor dining area, plaza sun deck, kids' layground, expanded restaurant and open-air massage cabana.
If you're interested in organized trips around the park, the resort's recreation program offers a guide service with a featured hike on tap each month. The September trek is the High Country Naturalist Hike to Mono Pass, a 9.4-mile trip with panoramic eastern views beyond the park and an elevation ranging from 9,700 to 10,600 feet. The hike takes five hours, is recommended for guests with a good fitness level and costs $110 for adults, $65 for youth ages 12 to 14.
Evergreen Lodge's normal rates are $99 to $299, depending on season and accommodation type (you can choose from one- or two-bedroom cabins). Custom campsites, including tents, sleeping bags, mattresses and lanterns, start at $55. To take advantage of the current 25 percent off special, visit the Evergreen website or call 209-379-2606.