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St. Anthony Retreat Center

front view of St. Anthony Retreat Center

St. Anthony Retreat is a retreat and conference center of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno that is located in Three Rivers.  It was founded in 1955 by the Franciscans of the Santa Barbara Province, who wanted to provide a place of prayer and reflection for people of Central California. By chance, Franciscan friar Fr. Gregory Wooler, OFM, met Dan Alles, a local rancher at the Three Rivers post office and asked him if he knew a good place for a retreat center.  The rancher led him to the present site. 

Construction began in 1959 and was completed in 1963.  Built in the contemporary Franciscan Mission style, today St. Anthony Retreat provides a comfortable, peaceful and naturally beautiful setting for individual and group retreats, as well as both religious and secular conferences and gatherings, with meetings space, dining, and overnight accommodations for up to 100 guests.   

The retreat center is located on sixty acres of land overlooking the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River four miles from the entrance to Sequoia National Park.  At an elevation of 1,250 feet St. Anthony Retreat enjoys year round access, well below the snow line. The grounds include beautifully landscaped gardens and courtyards, an outdoor stations of the cross, magnificent views of the Sierra Nevada high country and its snow covered mountains, as well as 60 acres of walking trails through open grasslands and blue oak woodlands that host a variety of animals, birds, and plants that are native to the Upper Sonoran Zone. 

Of special interest is the magnificent 12' x 48' wood mural of the Sierra Nevada's "Great Western Divide" that graces the sanctuary of the large chapel.  Designed by Fr. John Griesbach and built by artist Peter Doyle, it is made of natural woods from around the world, and was installed in 2008.

St. Anthony retreat is a spiritual oasis for people of all ages for individual and group retreats. Visitors are welcome anytime between 9:00a.m. and 5:00p.m.  Reservations are needed for retreat accommodations and meals.

Lodging Style and Amenities

St. Anthony Retreat features 39 rooms furnished with two twin beds and a private bath. In addition there are 4 rooms providing 3 twin beds and a private bath.  The Retreat Center is open to individuals as well as families on retreat. Rates include three full meals a day featuring organic foods and fresh produce.

St. Anthony Retreat also has a gift shop featuring Christian books and gifts.

Wi-Fi accessibility is available in our Lobby.

7:30 a.m.daily Mass (Tuesday-Saturday) is offered in our chapel and 9:00a.m. Sunday Mass is celebrated at St. Clare Catholic Church in Three Rivers.

Seasons Open: We are open year round.

Recreational Opportunities

Recreational opportunities include hiking, bird watching, and observing the many animals native to this area, including  deer,  wild turkeys, and California quail.  Self-guided nature trails help guests identify the various trees and  plants native to the area.  

The annual  wild flower bloom features an ever-changing array of flowers each spring.  The retreat center is also located in the natural habitat for the rare Kaweah Brodiaea, found only along the Kaweah and Tule Rivers of Central California. 

The retreat center is adjacent to Salt Creek Canyon.  Owned by the Burea of land Management, Salt Creek Canyon offers year around public access to miles of trails for horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking. 

St. Anthony Retreat is also in close proximity to the entrance to Sequoia National Park.

Rate Range: $82 (shared room), $102 (private room). All 3 meals included in price.

Driving Directions

Take Hwy 198 East from Interstate 99 and follow signs to Sequoia National Park.  After passing through the town of Three Rivers, St. Anthony Retreat is located 2.4 miles past the Chevron gas station in town.  Look for the sign that says "Narrow Bridge"  After crossing over the bridge turn right and come all the way up the hill following the signs for the retreat .  St. Anthony's is about 45 minutes from Visalia, and an hour and a half from Fresno, CA.

 Eco-Friendly Notes

Fr. John Griesbach, the director of St. Anthony Retreat is a resident landscape artist, who is becoming well known for his oil paintings of the Sierra Nevada and landscapes of Central California.  Proceeds of the sale of his paintings benefit St. Anthony Retreat Center.

A unique geological feature at St. Anthony Retreat is what geologists say is the largest exposed quartz vein south of the gold country.  This is the same kind of vein that was exploited by placer mining during the California gold rush.  It's preservation is due, most likely, to the fact that it was also a site for Native Americans whose village was located at the base of the hill.  There are also a number of Native American mortar sites within walking distance.

St. Anthony retreat serves organic foods in the retreat center dining room throughout the year.  During the summer months, fresh vegetables are harvested from our own retreat center garden.

 Pet Friendly Notes
St. Anthony Retreat welcomes pets on leashes, but pets are not allowed in rooms overnight.

For More Information, Contact:

Barbara Lahmann

Conference Coordinator
43816 Sierra Dr., P.O. box 249, Three Rivers, CA 93271
(559) 561-4595 · fax (559) 561-4493

Harold Ivie wrote on January 26, 2014: Sounds picturesque, fresh organic produce, nice rooms, Fr is a resident artist...couldn't help notice the conspicuous absence of anything that referred to a Roman Catholic Retreat. Any thoughts on that?

Richard Isham wrote on April 18, 2011: A treasure nestled in the foothills on the Western slope of the Sierra Nevada range. Very serene and peaceful. Visitors should be aware that while Mt. Whitney is located in the same county, access to the highest peak in the continental United States is from the other side of the Western Divide and there is no passable route across this part of the mountain range. A beautiful route is open through Yosemite during summer months, otherwise a trip to the east side requires a full day’s ride by automobile through Tehachapi or Lake Tahoe.

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Longitude: -118.869055500
Latitude: 36.458689800
Elevation: 1249 FT (381 M)
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