The south entrance to Yosemite National Park just 12 miles away, the Episcopal Conference Center Oakhurst (ECCO) is the home base for Road Scholars with a thirst for learning and a love of nature’s grandeur. ECCO sits on 160 lovely acres forested with oaks, manzanita, incense cedar and ponderosa pine. It's a perfect place to set out on field trips for perhaps a first glimpse of Half Dome and Yosemite Valley from historic Tunnel View. Or to learn about the geological saga of the park, as well as the interwoven natural and human history. Upon returning to the lodge for an early evening stroll, a Road Scholar may even find a friendly mule deer at their side.
Set amid 160 lovely acres of forested oaks, incense cedar and ponderosa pine, the two ECCO lodges used by Road Scholar participants — Sanford Lodge and Beardsley Lodge — are split-level with ground-floor parking and an entrance at each level. The dining room features a full wraparound deck overlooking a pond populated by mallards, egrets, herons and one mute swan. There are several casual relaxation rooms for socializing, with plenty of novels to borrow.
The expansive and picturesque grounds of ECCO offer ample recreational possibilities. A self-interpretive nature trail is a mostly level, half-mile single-track trail passing 11 informative posts that explain edible plants, foggy meadows, ancient oaks and more. You are likely to see a number of resident creatures and wildlife before the path ends at the “Frog Pond". Other recreational options include a basketball court, grass volleyball court, soccer field and horseshoes. Indoors, there’s ping-pong, pool, puzzles and games.
This is a Road Scholar Retreats program. Our Retreat programs offer a tranquil respite from daily life in locales that lend themselves to outdoor exploration, reflection, or study. The accommodations may be basic in nature, but the facilities offer communal spaces to gather and to relax. During the week, opportunities usually exist for some combination of light exercise, a locally sourced meal, or evening entertainment.