The Ahwahnee Hotel – Yosemite National Park, California - Atlas Obscura
Free iron-on Atlas Obscura badge when you preorder our new kids’ book. Shop now.

Yosemite National Park, California

The Ahwahnee Hotel

The interior of The Shining's Overlook Hotel was based on this Yosemite original. 

Opened in 1927, this classic example of “Parkitecture,” or a building designed to fit in with the natural landscape surrounding it, was the inspiration for the interior sets of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.

While the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado was the inspiration for Stephen King’s bestselling book, and the iconic exterior shots in Stanley Kubrick’s movie adaptation were filmed at the Timberline Lodge in Mount Hood, Oregon, the queasily overbearing interior sets of the movie, were heavily influenced by Yosemite’s Ahwahnee Hotel. Inside the lobby, visitors will find the cavernous ceilings, Native American-inspired patterns, and even the frightening red-doored elevators from the movie.

Today, the hotel also features an excellent gallery of old-school winter sports photos, some of which were taken by Ansel Adams. The large first floor has couches and desks that are open to the public. Unfortunately, no big wheels are allowed.

There has been a recent dust up over the hotel’s name. Due to a trademark dispute between a contractor (who is essentially holding the intellectual property, which they were mistakenly given the rights to in 1993, for ransom) and the National Park Service, the hotel has been forced to change its name as of 2016 to the Majestic Yosemite Hotel. 

Know Before You Go

Located near Camp Curry (now called Half-Dome Village due to the trademark dispute) on the valley floor. Due to a dispute with the park concessionary, the hotel is currently signposted as the Majestic Yosemite.