Tuolumne Meadows Lodge isn't the easiest place to stay if you're used to conventional lodges or even cabins. It's not really a lodge at all, but a collection of tents. However, even though the parking lot is right next door, staying here is peaceful in a way that conventional accommodations can't match. I used to love camping but haven't done it in years, and this place brings back some of that feeling.
To start with, Tuolumne Meadows is not like Yosemite Valley at all, in terms of crowding and the general human environment. There are far fewer people, and the atmosphere is less tense and fast-paced. Not as many spectacular highlights, but a beautiful place with great views.
Our tent had four twin beds with mattresses, and in the middle was a wood-burning stove and a table. Because of the size and arrangement, it would have been hard to combine two twins for a double. Kindling, fire-starters, matches, candles and a good set of towels were provided. We slept in our sleeping bags on top of the beds, but the sheets seemed to be clean.
The lodge serves meals in a single dining room, where you need to make reservations for dinner and sign in to be seated for breakfast. The food is not included in the room (tent) rate, and it is not cheap. However, the dishes we had ranged from decent to excellent. Diners are seated one table at a time, and some dishes such as salad and rolls are shared. This makes it a bit of a group dinner with people you've never met before, and there was lively conversation during all the meals we enjoyed here. There's a generally friendly atmosphere around the camp. The nights are very quiet.
The shared restroom has good plumbing and hot water, but it's nothing fancy. There are windows near the top of the peaked roof that are open to the air, so expect a draft. There's a private entry area with each shower (two curtains) but the floor gets very wet.
The biggest issue for me was the logistics: You have to put all your food and toiletries in a bear lockers next to the parking lot. They're not locked, and they're shared by the rest of the people at the lodge. Thus, your toothpaste, lip balm, etc. are up to 100 yards away from the place where you sleep. Plus, the tents don't lock from either the inside or the outside. You can latch the door from the inside and there's a place to put on your own padlock from the outside. But cameras and any other valuables have to stay with you or go in your car. And you need a flashlight to get around at night.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Cabins of Tuolumne Meadows are located 60 miles from Yosemite Valley at over 8,700 feet above sea level. Here, you'll find 69 canvas-tent cabins that are available from mid-June to mid-September, conditions permitting. Situated next to a picturesque meadow, it's the perfect place to settle in after hiking in Yosemite-or before embarking on an extended backpacking trip. You'll find the Cabins of Tuolumne Meadows on Tioga Road, near the Park's eastern entrance on Highway 120 East. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Tuolumne Meadows Hotel Yosemite National Park