Walton’s History

Established in 1926, Walton’s Grizzly Lodge has a long, rich history.

walton's grizzly lodge founders
Mom and Pop Walton
Joe and Gert Stein
Gert and Joe Stein
walton's grizzly lodge history
Bob and Denise Stein

Before electricity and refrigeration, our lake was used for harvesting ice. When the lake froze, workers on horseback would drag heavy saws that cut the ice into large blocks. Through a system of trenches, the ice was transported to a large three story building where it was stored until summer. The Western Pacific Railroad would then place the ice in cars carrying perishable goods.

With the invention of refrigeration, the ice harvesting was no longer needed. The land lay dormant until World War II. During the war the facilities were used as a training ground by the Air Force. Many of the current camp buildings, including our historic lodge, were used by the Air Force during this time. When the war ended, the land became vacant once again.

Meanwhile, the camp’s founders, Mom and Pop Walton, were running a school in San Francisco. During this time they also began running a summer camp for children in Lagunitas, a small town in Marin County, California. In the 1940’s, Mom and Pop were on a hunting trip outside of Portola, California when they came upon a beautiful piece of land. When they found that the property was for sale, they purchased it, and in 1943 relocated their summer camp from Lagunitas to its current location in Portola.

In 1966, Mom and Pop retired and turned camp over to their son Joe and his wife Gert. Joe and Gert ran camp until 1981 when their son Bob, and his wife Denise took over. Today, their sons, Adam and Jared, along with their wives, Julie and Erica, are the fourth generation owners and directors.

Year after year our campers enjoy a traditional summer camp experience. The campers who come back to Walton’s each summer are a testament to the truly special place that is Walton’s Grizzly Lodge Summer Camp.

Classic Photo Collection