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“High priced camping”

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Tuolumne Meadows Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reno, Nevada
Level Contributor
61 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“High priced camping”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 August 2012

I normally camp so it is hard for me to pay $150 to basically camp but on this trip I was unable to bring my gear so decided to give this a try. I have visited YNP and the high country many, many times. I stayed for one night during high season. The tent was $130/night with breakfast about $20 when it was all said and done. Day temperatures were in the 80's, night in the 40's. The tent includes a wood stove which helps take the chill off in the night and morning-- don't forget to save some of your kindling for the morning! There is one bath house for the entire camp with 4 toilet stalls, 4 shower stalls and about 6 sinks. Be prepared for waiting during peak hours. Beds are basic camp fare. The food is basic and pricey. With all that said, the scenery is spectacular and never disappoints. There are many incredible hikes and activities in the vicinity-- it's a one of kind experience. The lodge does a good job of orienting visitors to all the park has to offer. The shuttle makes is easy to get around the high country and definitely recommended as the park is overrun with people during the summer months. For out of towners, the dilemma is would you be better off renting a motor home and staying in the campground or staying at the lodge?? The experience would be similar in ruggedness ; you would need to cost it out to decide. I saw many rental RV's and rented vans with equipment in the campground so this seems like a popular option too. You will meet more locals in the campground and more out of staters in the lodge. Overall, the lodge is a great option for experiencing the high country if you are unfamiliar with the park; next time, though, I will camp.

Room Tip: Ask for a tent by the river if you are a light sleeper.
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  • Stayed August 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
3 Thank UNR91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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206 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (63)
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English first
Chicago
Level Contributor
101 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 August 2012

Tuolomne Lodge is a great tent camp experience, nestled up next to the river you feel as if you are really camping without all of the work. The tents are spaced well apart, are clean and comfortable. They feel very homey with their table and chairs. The food served at the lodge is delicious, if a bit pricey. The portions are huge so you are getting a good value for your money.
The communal bathhouse is absolutely fine for your needs while staying here. This is not a fancy lodge, but a tent camp with a lodge building where meals are served. It is a great base for hikes in the area.
My only issue with the place was the staff's inability to answer seemingly basic questions about the area, such as where we could leave our car while we hiked. This is frustrating because you will not have cell service, and their map/book selection is small so your resources are very limited once you have arrived. Otherwise they were all very nice.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank seenitChicago
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Texas
Level Contributor
88 reviews
74 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 116 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 August 2012

Phenomenal stay. Originally part of the high sierra camp loop and many visitors (like us) staying there on the way to or out from one of the back country camps. It's not a lodge or a hotel - it's a tent... If you are used to camping, you will find it very comfortable; if you aren't, embrace the rustic experience in such a remote spot with such great views and for Yosemite very uncrowded.
Tents are tents - mattresses on cots (our double as some other reviews mention sagged), woodstoves work very well once you get them going (wood provided as part of price), and we thought showers were very nice for camp showers. Very lively friendly atmosphere in dining room with family style service. Food can be expensive but tasty, ample and think of the logistical challenge of catering in this location. Wonderful spot with cascading river just behind and awesome views.
We ordered packed lunches but just had the sandwiches - we found these quite reasonably priced and excellent.
Suggestions for management - replace double mattresses, include brooms in tents for guests to sweep out the inevitable dust and dirt from the location, hiking boots and gear etc.
Front desk staff - uneven and some offhand. Very casual re bear boxes when we checked in compared to rest of Yosemite and we noticed many people not using the boxes; didn't mention coffee/tea available in "lobby" at 7 am (in fact a very nice touch); overcharged us at check out and charged me $2.50 each for two hot chocolates made with water for our daughters who don't drink tea or coffee (are bags of instant hot chocolate really so much more expensive than teabags or coffee that they have to be charged for?); often very unforthcoming about even basic information we and other guests asked about.
Other staff excellent - friendly, helpful etc.
Overall a great experience. We loved it.

Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
Helpful?
5 Thank Texastrips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
25 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 July 2012

Our family really enjoyed our stay at the lodge. The staff was exceptionally friendly and went out of their way to meet our special needs. My wife had recently injured her foot and was on crutches and the staff shuffled our reservation to get us a tent near the bathrooms and dining facility. In addition, we had a cooler that was too larger for the bear lockers and they helped us store it indoors.

Be warned, If you're new to "camping" in areas where bears are present, you'll be expected to put anything with an odor into one of the public bear lockers. I'm glad the staff was able to store my large cooler, but it would have been better if I had a smaller cooler that would have fit into the locker.

The evening meal and breakfast were both very tasty, but also very pricey.

Room Tip: Get there early so you have a good choice for a bear locker and tent.
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Zayix
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
irvine ca
Level Contributor
26 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 July 2012

Tuolumne Meadow is paradise on earth. You must come here at least once in your life! Tuolumne Lodge is better than expected. Very clean & comfortable. Bath house is clean and the layout is very convenient. It is much better than Curry Village at Yosemite Village. The staffs are very friendly and helpful. Luggage carts are available at the parking lot. They are so handy. We used it to tranport our stuffs to the tent in one trip that made our life much easier. All food and items with scent must be stored inside the bear box that are share used with other tenants. We put these stuffs in a big plastic box before coming so it is very easy to unload them right after parking. The restaurant is very organized. Food is average. Price is not "very" pricey for vacation place. We had our own table with party of 4. No need to share with other people.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
2 Thank QuiQui12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bonita, CA
Level Contributor
79 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 288 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 July 2012

I admit that I'm frustrated when I read reviews where people bemoan the fact that the tent cabins aren't a real 'lodge' and that they're just a mattress on a wire mesh under a canvas roof. I keep wondering that, at $150 a night what were they expecting for being in the middle of wilderness far from your typical resources? Someone to come in and leave a mint on their pillow? Here's the down and dirty--your tent cabin is a canvas roof over a concrete platform with mattresses on supended wire meshes approximately three feet above the concrete floor. You get a stove to keep you warm (and unless you're there in mid-July through August, you'll need it). They bring you wood, but we actually asked for more since we were there at the beginning of June and it dipped down to 31 degrees at night. We kept the stove stoked and felt nice and toasty. You get rough towels for your showers and extra blankets. There is no electricity in the tent cabins, but you can recharge phones, iPads and cameras in the reception area where you check-in. You do get two large candles, but unless you bring your own lantern, plan to go to bed early because the candles don't provide reading lights. I recommend a flashlight that goes around your forehead so you can read in bed and use it to walk to the bathroom at night. They provide bear storage...you don't get to store your bear in there, you get to store your coolers and toiletries in the storage so that the bears can't get to it. Remember, strawberry shampoo smells like strawberries to a bear, so DON'T keep it in your tent with you. That includes mint toothpaste, almond lotion, apple chapstick, etc. You get the picture. The full bed was not the easiest bed to sleep in with another human because it does sink so that you both end up in the middle (so hopefully you're sleeping with someone you like--if not, sleep on the twin and sneak some of that strawberry shampoo in the bed of the person you don't like.) The bathrooms are typical campsite bathrooms. For those of you who expect luxurious bath products, you'll be happy to know that they do provide a generic soap gel for shampoo and body cleaning. The showers are small and, after the rush in the early evening after people return from those dusty hikes, the showers are not the cleanest. But, at least it is a shower! Toilets are flush and there's even a sink where you can rinse and wash things. You cannot cook in the campsite, but you can bring things in your cooler. We had cereal every morning and made and packed a sandwich and snacks for our hikes. We ate a hot dinner in the dining room of the lodge each night, but admittedly it is a very expensive meal. You can get a cheaper meal about a mile down the road at the grill, but beware, it is only open until about five in the afternoon. However, the food in the dining room was good and I didn't mind paying the extra money because I enjoyed the view of the river, the food itself and, the company of other hikers. You typically sit with other families or individual hikers at the tables that seat ten. We enjoyed this because we met people from all over the world and picked up hiking hints for the area. I've made this lodge sound like a second rate school camp, but here's where it gets good--you're in the HIGH SIERRAS of Yosemite National Park! That in itself is worth the $150 a night. We had tent #3, RIGHT ON THE RIVER. When I say right on the river, when we exited the tent we had to turn right or left immediately or find ourselves swiming. The white noise from the white water rushing by our tent was wonderful and put me right to sleep. There are cascades just up the river that you can explore and the John Muir trail is nearby. This is a beautiful setting and if you want to experience the great outdoors, the beauty that is Yosemite, and the wonder that goes with staying on a river in God's country...then this is it! This is where you want your children to spend the night (and if you don't have children, then I guarantee, you'll find it beautiful too.) So I give it five stars because of its location, the nice staff, the good, but expensive food, the fact that you do have a shower, the fact that you don't have to drive in Yosemite Valley, the cooler days (and nights) during the hot summers (compared to Yosemite Valley and Curry Camp) and because it's in the most beautiful park in the world. The only problems is that this is the most difficult camp to book and we only managed to get into it because it opened early this year because of the lack of snowfall over the winter which usually keeps it closed until July. Good luck booking this camp...if you get in, I envy you!

Room Tip: Get tents 1-3 if you want to be right on the river, but you'll be the furthest from the bathroom...
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
8 Thank KBrogan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 July 2012

We are a family of four and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The tent was clean and spartan- but exactly all that we needed for a one-night stay. Our double bed was not comfortable, as the springs were old and tired, but it was just one night. The best part was most certainly the dining experience complete with delicious multi-course family-style meals eaten at large tables with other intrepid hikers. The conversation and exchange of stories was a highlight, followed closely by really good food!

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jorocky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Tuolumne Meadows Lodge

Property: Tuolumne Meadows Lodge
Address: Tioga Road, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
Region: United States > California > Yosemite National Park
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 24 Speciality Lodging in Yosemite National Park
Number of rooms: 69
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

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