Located on 114 acres along the South Yuba River, the Rainbow Lodge has provided guests traveling in the Sierras with a place to stay for 150 years. Travelers making the journey west to California in the mid-1800s, whether by horse or covered wagon, found shelter and camaraderie at the Rainbow Lodge. The Lodge was built on a popular camping spot where trekkers would water their horses, fish in the mountain stream, and rest up during their arduous journey. The Lodge got its name from the numerous rainbow trout that visitors would catch from the banks of the river and have prepared in the lodge’s kitchen.
The Rainbow Lodge was built in 1869 from local granite and the same hand-hewn logs used to build the Trans-Sierra Railroad. The original lodge was a stagecoach stop for those journeying through the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It was located near a well-traveled area of the Emigrant Gap where a number of trails originating in Independence, MO merged. The popularity of the Gold Rush no doubt necessitated the construction of the lodge to provide respite for the adventurers and fortune seekers. One of the most notable groups of the western migration, the Donner Party, spent its infamous winter of 1846-47 10 miles away.
The Lodge was expanded in 1930 and the beams and wood used in construction were taken from the snow sheds that still line the railroad tracks running through the Sierras. Shortly thereafter, the Lodge offered one of the first ski hills in the area. In the late 1930s a J-Bar lift was installed and later a gondola was added. The house behind the lodge was originally the ski lift house. When the ski hill was closed, the lift house was converted into a residence and still stands today.
The Rainbow Lodge has a rich history and many vibrant stories.
A ghost named Mary still captures the imagination of lodge guests. Shot by her husband for her infidelities, Mary roams the upper floors of the lodge and many have experienced the cold spots she leaves behind in her forlorn rambling.
Prohibition brought a new and colorful chapter to the Rainbow Lodge’s history. An illegal Speakeasy sprang up in the basement and became a popular spot for rambunctious card games. A dispute over a reported $40,000 in gold coins from one of these cards games resulted in the shooting death of one of the players… The loot was buried near the lodge and has never been found. Perhaps some lucky modern-day visitor will solve the mystery, if the ghost of the gambler doesn’t get them first.
The Rainbow Lodge retains the allure of the past with a cozy and nostalgic atmosphere. Guest rooms and common areas have been updated with modern furnishings within the context of the original construction. A pair of historic skis purportedly worn by the infamous 1800's Sierra mail carrier Snow Shoe Thompson hang in the bar downstairs. Around the base of the bar is one of the last historic bar spittoons remaining in California. For today's guests, the lodge offers a year round getaway: hike the Sierras, downhill or Cross Country ski at one of the nearby resorts, fish the South Yuba River for trout, or just relax and be rejuvenated by the mountains and river – it is all here at the Rainbow Lodge.
With 27 individual guest rooms and multiple, flexible common areas for groups to gather, the Lodge is an ideal environment for productive off-site meetings.
The Rainbow Lodge offers two authentic Tahoe meeting spaces: The 650 square foot Yuba Room features views of the Sierra Nevada and the South Yuba River. The 670 square foot Sierra Room offers mountain views, direct access to the outdoor deck and barbecue, and is outfitted with a digital projector and drop down projection screen.
The Lodge includes state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment, Fiber Optic fed Internet, and Wi-Fi for maximum connectivity and productivity. Once business is complete, the rooms quickly convert to comfortable settings for social hours. Our team will help you create an indelible event for your co-workers and special guests.
Sample Retreat Itineraries:
Start the day with a morning hike to a mountain lake, followed by afternoon presentations in our comfortable meeting spaces. When the day’s work is done, unwind with a sunset cocktail hour next to the stone fireplace on the banks of the South Yuba River.
Enjoy a brisk morning on the slopes to get your team motivated for an afternoon of meetings in front of a blazing fire in the Sierra Room. Relax over a full range of cocktails in our historic bar after the close of business.
Skiers visiting the Lake Tahoe area will find Rainbow Lodge to be the ideal home base thanks to our convenient location. Rent a portion of the lodge with friends and family to spend time at any of the area’s world-class runs like Sugar Bowl, Boreal Ridge,
Our catering partners will work with you to tailor menu items for your group. Social hours are flexible and can include a tended bar or beer and wine services