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History of Yosemite National Park

A scenic view of mountains and forest amidst sky and fog

129 years ago, on October 1, 1890, Congress created Yosemite National Park – America’s third national park! Here is a brief history of Yosemite National Park.

Native Americas were the original residents and stewards of the Yosemite Valley, but the 1849 Gold Rush brought in miners, explorers, settlers, and tourists.  Hotels and saloons were soon built, which made it clear that protections were already desperately needed.  In 1864 the Valley and Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias came under the protection of the State of California under President Lincoln.  However, in 1889 naturalist John Muir discovered that the area surrounding the iconic Valley was being exploited and devastated by domestic sheep grazing.  He championed for the 1,500 square miles of land be brought into the young National Park System.  In 1906 the state protected Valley and the grove of Sierra Redwoods came under federal jurisdiction along with the rest of the park.

The Valley had been known by the indigenous people as Ahwahnee, meaning “big mouth.”  The Ahwahnechee (dwellers in Ahwahnee) occupied the Valley for nearly 3,000 years, though human habitation in the area may have been for as long as 10,000 years.  The name Yosemite means “killer” in Miwok, originally referring to a tribe which was driven out of the area by the American Militia to suppress Native American resistance to the occupation of their historical lands.  The name Yosemite Valley is credited to Lafayette Bunnell, a military physician, after interviewing the displaced Chief Tenaya.

Yosemite’s natural beauty was created by glaciers cutting through granitic rock about a million years ago, carving out steep narrow canyons of bare polished rock, and leaving behind such majestic features as Half Dome and El Capitan. The Tuolumne and Merced River systems, originating in the Park, continue to make their marks on the ever-changing landscape, carving even deeper into the canyons. The Park features one of the world’s tallest waterfalls, three groves of the world’s biggest trees, and contains thousands of lakes and ponds, 1,600 miles of streams, and 800 miles of hiking trails winding through the wilderness.

Visitors to the Park, from John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, Ansel Adams to the current 4+ million guests that arrive each year, find nature’s handiwork in Yosemite National Park awe-inspiring, and a little humbling – there is nothing like it anywhere else in the world.  Come see it for yourself!  The Groveland Hotel is happy to host you at the northern gateway into the wonder that is Yosemite National Park.  Book Direct for the best deals – and take advantage of our lower winter rates.

The Groveland 18767 Main Street circle logo

Winter Menu

Appetizers – $15

~Fried Brussels Sprout with Sriracha Sauce

~House Made Focaccia with Marinara

~Phyllo Wrapped Baked Brie with House Focaccia

~Steak Bites with Smoked Gouda and Blue Cheese – 

Cream Sauce


Salads – $15

Cesar Salad – romaine, arugula, croutons, fresh cesar dressing
*add 4oz Chicken, Ribeye, Salmon, Shrimp + $10 
Roasted Pear Salad with Thyme Verjus Dressing – romaine, arugula, pears, blue cheese and pecans *add 4oz chicken, ribeye, salmon, shrimp + $10


~Pot Roast $35

Beer braised slow roasted beef, served with roast baby potatoes, onions, brussel sprouts and carrots

~Kobe Meatloaf $35

Meatloaf served over confit garlic mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables and house Au Jus

~Homemade Pot Pie $25

Yes, the famous dish from our childhoods! Peppers, carrots, squash, mushrooms, onions and peas in a rich cream sauce. *add 4oz chicken, lamb, braised beef +$10

~Shepherd’s Pie $25

Peppers, onions, squash, mushrooms, peas and carrots in a savory house broth covered in mashed potatoes and smoked gouda cheese, broiled to a bubbly crispy brown

*add 4oz chicken, lamb or braised beef +$10

~Portobello Steak $25

Served with sauteed mushrooms, compound butter, smashed baby red potatoes, seasonal vegetables

*add 8oz chicken, ribeye, salmon +$20

~Mushroom Stroganoff $25

Portobello and button mushrooms sauteed with aromatics in sour cream over butter noodles

*add 4oz chicken, ribeye, salmon, shrimp +$10

~Fettuccini Alfredo $25

Fresh fettuccine and house alfredo sauce served with fresh focaccia

*add 4oz chicken, ribeye, salmon, shrimp +$10 seasonal vegetables +$5

~Spaghetti and Meatballs $25

Handmade meatballs made 50/50 with sausage and ground kobe beef cooked in house marinara, served with house focaccia

Dessert $15


Seasonal Fruit Cobbler

Black Forest Brownie

Chef’s Suggestion – Ala Mode +$5 


Room 110 is situated at the back of the hotel in the Annex building on the lower floor.  This cozy room features a queen bed, with a large private bathroom containing a tub/shower.  This room accommodates two guests. This is a pet-friendly room.

Accessibility Features: Entry door is 32” wide; there is an outlet within 4’ of the telephone jack; the door lock is located 44” from the floor; there is more than 36” of room to the right side of the bed; hangers are located 53” off the ground.  Currently, the door handle is a historic twist knob, but we are working with our locksmith to replace this with a levered handle that can easily be operated with one hand and without tight grasping, pinching or twisting the wrist.

The bathroom has room to do a t-turn; the toilet seat is 18” off the ground and has a grab bar located behind the toilet; the wash basin is 30” off the ground with insulated pipes; the wash basin faucet is easy to operate with one hand without tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist; the towel racks are 46” off the floor; the bathroom floors are slip resistant.  There are no grab bars on an adjacent wall in the bathroom for the toilet as there is not an adjacent wall to place them on. 

The tub has faucet controls positioned at the center of the end wall and open side of the tub; faucet can easily be turned on and off with one hand without tight grasping, pinching or twisting the wrist; there is a grab bar at the foot of the tub and at the head of the tub; and there are two 40” grab bars alongside the tub to serve for low and high needs.  The fixtures in the bathtub are historic and therefore we do not have a 60” hand held shower wand.

Due to the historic nature of our property, our rooms are fairly small, therefore we are unable to provide 36” around both sides and the foot of the bed.  However, we do provide full clearance between the door and the right side of the bed.

You can book this room online or please call us 24 hours/7 days a week at 209-962-4000 or email us at guestservices@groveland.com and we would be happy to find the room that most meets your needs.  

Pet Friendly

Your search for pet-friendly vacation lodging near Yosemite National Park ends here.  Our four-legged guests love the Groveland Hotel as much as our two-legged ones!  We’re happy to offer select pet-friendly rooms, located on the first floor, for your stay in Groveland, California.  The pet fee is $75 per reservation, with a limit of one pet per guest.  We welcome pets 60 lbs or less.

For dog-friendly activities near the Groveland Hotel, we recommend a walk along the Hetch Hetchy Railroad or going for a refreshing dip in the pet-friendly Rainbow Pools swimming hole.  If you are heading into Yosemite National Park, check their website for pet rules and restrictions.

Looking for a local dog sitter/boarder where you can keep your dogs for the day while exploring Yosemite?  There is a great nearby facility called Big Creek Boarding.