1953 Postcard

History of River Ranch Lodge

Alpine Meadows, California

Dating back to the late 1800s, the River Ranch Lodge & Restaurant is a recognized landmark perched along a celebrated bend on the historic Truckee River.

Initially completed in 1888, the River Ranch (originally called Deer Park Lodge) grew into a fashionable watering hole; with a unique and picturesque location on the narrow gauge railway, the 'Ranch brought many visitors to its door. The Lodge was always a featured and favored spot. It remained a popular resort until the Great Depression in the 1930s, when tourism came to a standstill. The Lodge was abandoned and became dilapidated through disuse.

In 1950, the old structure was cleared and a new building was erected. The 1960s and '70s championed a bygone era of fashion and fun, steeped in rich tradition. During the 1960 Olympic Games at nearby Squaw Valley (now Palisades Tahoe), numerous foreign diplomats used the Lodge as their headquarters. The Who's Who of San Francisco elite rubbed elbows with the likes of the River Ranch Rats and friends, solidifying the trademark culture of this iconic venue. Named one of Time Magazine's top 10 Resorts in 1967, the River Ranch was primed to host anything from lively parties to romantic retreats.

New ownership purchased the property in 1972 and embarked on a major ongoing refurbishment;

current Ownership has continued renovations and upgrades  making the River Ranch the timeless, cozy, wood-shingled lodge coveted by locals and visitors alike. 

Seasonal events such as Wild Winter Wednesdays and the Snow Sculpture Contest, the Truckee Duckee Derbee and Summer Concert Series were long-time staples in the North Tahoe Community.

The restaurant used to consist of just one dining room, where family-style dinner was served; it has evolved into a California-style fine dining restaurant experience with the main dining room and central bar cantilevered over the rushing river, and private dining room situated around a river rock fireplace, which provides a more intimate dining experience and is used for small dinners and receptions.

The spacious outdoor patio is nestled along the docks of a natural pool on the Truckee River, and hosts lunch and drinks for hundreds of summertime visitors daily, who arrive by rafts, canoes, SUPs, inner-tubes, inflatables, bikes, skates, cars, motorcycles, public transit and on foot, and dinner nightly under the stars.

Over time, the 19 lodge rooms have evolved into charming, comfortable Alpine retreats with basic modern amenities to help you feel at home. Each room has a private bath, flatscreen HDMI-compatible cable television, free wifi, Keurig machine for in-room coffee or tea, and mini-fridge, plus basic hotel amenities such as a hairdryer, iron, and ironing board. Most rooms have a balcony or deck overlooking the river, and the décor reflects the mountain charm with lodge pole pine or birch and hickory furnishings and local antiques.

 The River Ranch Lodge & Restaurant is truly a coveted landmark in North Lake Tahoe. Whether blanketed in sparkling white snow or shaded by colorful awnings and towering Evergreen trees, whether bustling with activity or tranquil in seclusion, you'll want to experience all that The River Ranch has to offer!