Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center

Yosemite National Park

Built by the Sierra Club in 1903, this small, rustic, granite-and-wood lodge offers a glimpse of a relatively unknown chapter of California architecture. Designed by Berkeley architect John White, the building sits firmly within a style known as the First Bay Tradition, a movement that was intimately linked with the 20th-century Arts and Crafts movement. The First Bay Tradition placed great importance on reflecting the natural world and insisted that each work of architecture be specific to its surroundings.

The Sierra Club built the lodge in honor of Joseph LeConte (1823–1901), a University of California Berkeley geologist and a cofounder of the Sierra Club. The building was initially erected in Camp Curry and then moved here in 1919. Formerly called LeConte Lodge, it's one of three National Historic Landmarks in Yosemite, along with the former Ahwahnee Hotel (now the Majestic Yosemite Hotel) and the Rangers’ Club (a valley building currently used as employee housing).

Sierra Club members staff the lodge, which houses exhibits and information on LeConte, Sierra Club cofounder John Muir and photographer Ansel Adams, along with an excellent library of park-related ecology, geology and other nature books for browsing. There’s also a fun children’s corner. Evening activities take place most Fridays and Saturdays and are posted out front and in the Yosemite Guide.

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