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Tuolumne Meadows Lodge
Reviewed 12 July 2013 via mobile

I stayed here for 2 nights with my 7 yr old last month, a week after it opened for the season. Check-in was efficient and we were offered a choice of several tent cabins. We chose #51 which was higher up and we could hear the river from there. We had no problem with mosquitoes or noise here.

The bear lockers were as noted by other reviewers by the parking lot. We had no problem finding room for all our scented items including some very long toasting forks! And the cubby hole system by the bathrooms worked well for toiletries.

The tent cabin was clean and surprisingly spacious although it may have felt a little cramped at full capacity of 4. It got very cold at night. We used 2 quilts each as we had a 4 bedded tent and wore hats and were never uncomfortable. I found the communal washrooms to be generally clean and well maintained and never had to wait in line.

We ate both evenings and breakfasts in the lodge and had 1 bag lunch from them. The evening food was pretty good, the breakfasts and bag lunch were average. The communal dining atmosphere was fun and we had some great dinner conversations.

Overall, we greatly enjoyed the whole experience and it was one of the highlights of our road trip through the Sierra's.

  • Stayed: June 2013
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2  Thank nelnelLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 9 July 2013

LOCATION: My wife and I were traveling to Tioga Pass Resort on June 7, 2013 when we stopped by Tuolumne Meadows Lodge (TML) to take a look at a possible future habitat during our summer stays. We were driving on highway 120, Tioga Road, which had opened in early May. This is the much less traveled area of the Tuolumne High Country, far from the tourist mob overrunning Yosemite valley, 55 miles and 90 minutes away.

NEARBY HIKES: We pass by a multitude of nearby Hikes: Pothole Dome, Cathedral Falls, Elizabeth Lake. We stop by the Visitor Center, and check out the status of these trails, and move on. Last year Upper Cathedral Lake was closed due to restoration and trail repairs.

PLACE TO EAT: A big white tent appears on my right, next to a gas station. This is the Tuolumne Grill, open only after the road is snow plowed. . This is one of two places nearby where Tuolumne Meadow Lodge people can eat. We drive in, and get the very last of several dozen parking spots. The place is packed, as there is nowhere else within a dozen miles to eat. Where did all these people come from? Tuolumne Meadows Campground is just behind this area. We've driven 4 hours from Silicon Valley, and are starving. $6 for a bare bones hamburger? I

MORE HIKES: A massive granite mountain rises up in the distance. This is Lembert Dome, with the trail head to Glen Aulin, Young Lakes and Dog Lake. Hiking around the entire Dome takes several hours, and you can hike all over the mountain of rock. We've done this, but not today, as thunderstorms loom in the distance, a very common afternoon occurrence in these areas.

NOT THE RIGHT PLACE: We drive a little farther, and we pass the wilderness center on our right. Sign says Tuolumne Meadows Lodge this way. We take a right turn and wander down the road. Big tent cabins with brown wooden floor structures on our left. Lots of them, running for a quarter of a mile. If this is Tuolumne Meadows Lodge, I'll stay! Sorry to disappoint, but this is the staff's tent cabins. .

TRAILHEAD: We reach a large parking lot on our left, with a dozen bear lockers. This is the parking area for the trail heads nearby. On our right is the John Muir trail head to the Lyell Canyon trail, leading to the Twin Bridges. A good warm up hike for today, as not too strenuous, with little elevation gain, and lots of cover -this is one of the hottest days of the year.

ONE WAY ROAD: Continuing on, the road narrows from two lanes to a single lane, as we approach TML. Not only is it a single lane, but there are few places on the lower side of the road to pull off, due to the slightly elevated roadway. Don't want to meet another car going the opposite direction here at night! One wrong move, and your wheels will go off the road into the gutter and ruin your wheel alignment! This goes on for about three tenths of a mile, according to my odometer.

BEAR LOCKERS: Finally we reach a vast parking lot with over 100 parking spaces -enough for the 69 tent families and their staff handlers. Surrounding the parking lot are bear-proof food storage lockers, numbered 1 to 37, each 17"x 17" by 49" wide. Your ice chest must fit upright in this food locker, and the ice chest is the only way to keep food cold. Best thing is to keep a number of containers for food, snacks, toothpaste, each able to fit inside the locker. The lockers are all metal, and act like sweat boxes. No cooking of food in the tents, although your food will cook inside the lockers! No perishable foods!. And you will have to share the locker with another family, as there are not enough lockers for each family to have one to themselves. Of course if you are a selfish guy like myself, you bring a lock, and lock the locker for yourself. Get here early, as first come first served. Arrive very late and you may not get a place to store your food!.

ADVANCE PLANNING: We leave the Prius, and saunter into Tuolumne Meadows Lodge. The Lodge consists of 69 tent cabins surrounding a common shower/toilet facility. We walk up hill from the parking lot to the center of the camp on an asphalt pedestrian trail, just wide enough for one piece of luggage. You need to plan your eating, tooth brushing, shaving well in advance! The distance from the bear lockers to your tent can be as long as a quarter of a mile, over rough gravel trails from the tent to the bathroom. TML does provide luggage wagons for you to drag up the hill to your tent.

TENTS: Each tent has a concrete floor, surrounded by white canvas sides and tops. Some of the tents are 2 person tents, some 4 persons, with one towel provided per person.

FURNACE: Piercing the back is the smoke stack of a wood burning furnace to heat up the tent during the cold nights. You are given a quota of wood, but you cannot put enough wood in the furnace to last the night. Bring sawdust logs and newspaper to start the fire, or rekindle the fire when it goes out during the cold nights. I always wondered what to do with all those fallen pine cones in my backyard from my neighbor's tree!

COTS: Each person gets a cot set on a spring frame, similar to the cots you see Delaware North Corporation use for temporary excess bedding at Yosemite Falls at the Lodge, 55 miles and 90 minutes away. The cots come with sheets, blankets and pillows. I don't know about you, but the last tent I slept in was at Camp Blue/Gold at Pinecrest 20 years ago, where the tents were unheated, so we slept with ski hats! There they had mattresses and box springs, and I still couldn't sleep well. I know I'm not going to get any sleep on a single thin mattress, which is why I didn't stay here, but just scooped out the place.

FURNISHINGS: The tent comes with clothes hangers to hang from the support beams on the tent sides, and an electric lantern, which can be hung from the ceiling (bring a rope) or left in the center of the tent on the single table. The lantern is new for this year, as there is no electricity in the tent, and no lights, no refrigerator, no stove, no microwave. It's portable so can be used if you forget to bring your flashlight to go to the bathrooms. Quiet time is 10 pm to 6 am, but if you get stuck near a loud snorer or crying baby, you are outta luck, unless you bring ear-plugs. Some people like the tents closest to the river, where the sound of the running water drowns out a lot of noises from nearby tents. Of course in June you will have to deal with mosquitoes, and the river is farthest from the parking lot.

ELECTRICAL OUTLETS: There is no electrical outlets in the individual tents. Bring a car adopter plug to recharge your digital camera batteries, cell phone, laptop, electronic games, portable DVD players etc. Otherwise you have to share the single electrical outlet in the check-in office with 200 other people. And guard your stuff during the entire duration of the recharge, as others may disconnect your device.

TOILETS: There is one set of toilets and showers for men and women. The women have 4 showers and 4 toilets. No , I didn't count by peeking inside! So says my wife. The men have 4 toilets, 2 urinals, and 4 showers, and 5 sinks. No power at night from 10pm to 6am. So bring a flashlight. Daily maintenance noon to 2pm, so plan accordingly. Get there early to avoid lines for the womens toilets in the mornings, and showers in the late afternoons, when everyone comes back from hikes. Ratio of toilets to people is about 8 toilets for 210 people, or 1 to 26 -a Boeing 767 has 9 toilets for 250 people, and you've seen the lines on the airplane! And hope that you are not here when one or more toilets goes down for maintenance -not an uncommon occurrence in this heavy usage environment!

New for this year are a limited number of bear lockers constructed next to the toilet/shower facilities .

RESTAURANT: We go along an asphalt path and check out the Tuolumne Meadows Lodge restaurant, in a charming wooden structure next to the parking lot. Indoor and outdoor seating, the latter under colorful umbrellas over circular tables. Menu listed outside: $8 continental breakfast, $11 hamburger, and $27 flat iron steak. About what I would expect for a three star hotel room service, but with the ambiance of the good outdoors!. Reservations for dinner a must -remember the only other place to eat a hot meal nearby is the Tuolumne Grill, and they close at 5pm. You've got a captive audience here, unless you want to drive 10 miles east to the Tioga Pass Resort Cafe, or 20 miles down the Tioga Pass Grade to Lee Vining to Whoa Nellie. There is a general store here, where you can purchase ice bags for the cooler locked in the sweat box of a bear locker, snacks and cold drinks and beer.

COLD STREAMS: One way to cool drinks here is to let them soak in the river running next to the camp. Hey, there goes my beer floating down the river! Bring a bottle opener. The nearest swimming pool is 20 miles away in Lee Vining, and you don't want to try wading in the Tuolumne River until late July. I tried soaking my toes in some shallow areas on big areas of granite. So cold I almost got frostbite after just a few seconds!

VALUE: Delaware North Corporation was charging $125 to stay at TML or White Wolf during June. Tuolumne Meadows Campgrounds, a mile away, was $20 a night with lots of vacancies in early June -of course there you had to provide your own tent, sleeping facilities, and no heat But for $125 you could buy all that and then some! They supplied the bathroom and shower. Tioga Pass Resort, 8 miles away, was $110 per night for 2 or more nights for a motel room 12'x 15' with your own bed with mattress, bathroom and shared shower, and fully electrified. The only problem there is that they only have 14 units, and don't have an interactive internet reservation web site, nor a phone to take reservations. Curry village had similar prices for tent cabins, but came with electricity and a more central location in the valley. Of course Curry village is like Manhattan -you are barley able to walk between the tents, while in TML there is at least 10 feet between tents. Everyone can and will hear your every snore and talking. Both Curry Village and White Wolf have individual bear lockers for each tent next to the tent.

We pass trail heads for Mono Pass and Gaylor Lakes on our way to Tioga Pass Resort, 10 miles away.

Room Tip: Arrive early to get the best choice of tent locations and bear lockers. Your ice chest cannot excee...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank robert c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2013 via mobile

These cabins are basic, simple yet quaint. They are located in the magnificent high Sierra Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park. They are placed close together and don't offer a view but a few minutes walk takes you to cascading rivers, meadows of wildflowers, and glacial carved mountains.

  • Stayed: July 2013
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Thank Julesann0306
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2013

Four friends stayed for four nights in this wonderful place again this year. Improvements since last year's stay included bear proof cubbies at the central bath house which eliminates a trip to the bear lockers in the parking lot to store and retrieve toiletries. Very nice improvement. Also noticed that the quality of staff interactions was considerably more positive and hospitable. Looking forward to returning again next year. Note to day hikers.....It's not listed on the Tuolumne Meadows Day Hike list, but the hike to North Dome from Porcupine Creek was awesome.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank miandho
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 July 2013

We stayed two nights in June, on their opening weekend. Because of the unseasonably dry weather they opened a few weeks early, but aside from some minor kinks, everything was smooth.

The tents: Pretty basic but quite roomy, with four high-off-the-ground cots, a very small open coat stand/closet, a camp table and chair, and the wood stove. I loved the stove! It did burn out the first night, but we were able to keep it going through the second, and actually we stayed perfectly warm both nights, although temps were, I think, in the 30s.

They now give you one rather weak battery lantern; bring your own to supplement. There are also decent towels, and our unit had several wire hangers. They have some combination locks available on check-in (you are not allowed to use your own lock.)

You cannot keep any food or toiletries in your tent – anything with a smell goes in the bearboxes in the parking lot, or in the bathroom cubbies. The bearboxes are not assigned, and you will need to share with whoever. So cram your stuff together, it can be done – we managed to get all our food etc into one half of a smaller one.

We asked for a tent near the bathroom, and got #4. Lower numbers seem to be near the bathroom and restaurant, higher numbers farther away towards the trees. Staff was very helpful on check-in.

The bathrooms: After enduring Delaware North’s utter failure at cleaning and maintenance in Housekeeping Camp, this was a pleasant surprise. The building is obviously much older, but it’s well kept up and cleaned. Not perfectly – several lights were out, with no apparent intention to fix them, and there was occasionally a vile smell outside (like leaky pipes). But at least here, it seems someone’s actually cleaning and maintaining on a regular basis.

New this year are a row of lockers for toiletries, set right outside the bathroom. Each unit has an assigned cubby, which is about the size of a theme park rental locker. We had plenty of room for two people’s stuff, would have been a bit squeezed for four, but we were relieved we didn’t have to run down to the parking lot each time we brushed our teeth.

Food options are very limited – just the restaurant here, or Tuolumne Grill down the road (which closes at 5pm). The closest official picnic area is a few miles away. We had dinners at the restaurant, but for breakfast we picnicked next to the cascades outside (there are tables and chairs). There were people up and about, but it was still peaceful and lovely. At night, someone lit a fire in the communal firepit and we just sat around it, enjoying the quiet and the stars. Lovely!

This was a wonderful couple of days. It’s probably too rustic for some, and too busy for others, but we had a great time.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
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3  Thank JenAzz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 April 2013

After staying in Curry Village for about 6 days, coming to Tuolumne Lodge for our last 2 nights was a little disconcerting. It was VERY quiet. The canvas tents are just like the ones in Curry village, except these have no electricity. I felt like a pioneer (in a good way), and the light from the candles, along with the wood-burning stove made it seem very romantic. This is camping in style!

When I was trying to book my reservation, our trip fell in the earliest part of June, and no one was sure that Tioga Pass would be open, which meant no one was sure when the lodge would be open. The Yosemite staff really worked with us so that we were able to double book, and play it by ear without losing any money. And because of the weather, we actually did not know until we were in the Valley whether or not the lodge would open.

The restaurant at Tuolumne Meadows Lodge was the best food I had for my entire trip. (Make sure you make reservations!!!) I was a little surprised at the family style seating reservations. I am fairly shy and am not very good at small talk, but I absolutely loved getting to know the various people we were eating with each night. This was by far the best food I had in Yosemite. I was introduced to flat iron steak, and I liked it so much, I had it the next night as well. Also had an excellent salad.

After dinner, everyone gathered around a big community bonfire. S'mores were involved. All to the background music of the cascades right around the corner.

We ended our stay with a little trail magic when we were able to give a hungry young backpacker who had been separated from his group all of the stuff we no longer needed from our bear locker and our ice chest.

This place was magical, and you will meet people from all over the world. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank thePeste
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 January 2013

Wonderful stay in August at this well run campground/lodge location.

The lodge part is a small building where you check in, charge your phone if you like, and eat breakfast or dinner in the casual restaurant, if you care to reserve a seat. The actual lodging accomodations are in large, canvas tents, fully set up with pretty comfortable beds, sheets, blankets and towels. Best cot style beds I have ever slept in. There is a wood burning stove and wood provided, which was wonderful on rainy, cold nights. Heats up the tent very fast. Some candles are provided as well, since there is no electricity, so no lights in the tents. Be sure to bring good flashlights for inside the tent at night, and to walk to the bathroom/showers. The paths near the lodge building and bathroom building are lit, but not the others.
the floor of the tents are concrete, so can be cold at night. Warm socks help, and slip on shoes help too. Most tents have a bench or a couple of chairs to sit outside.

The hard part comes regarding all food, medicines and sundries-none of these can remain in the tent; or even in your car. Bears are attracted to them, and they are all harmful to the bears; the park is very strict about protecting the bears. The heavy metal boxes to store all of these items are located along one side of the parking lot, which is a walk from the tents. No locks are needed for these boxes. they are large and are shared by two to three families usually. So, pack accordingly. Have a plastic or fabric carry all for your toiletries and meds, that you will bring back and forth morning and night. Thoughtfully, the bathroom has liquid soap dispensers and paper towels, so you don't have to carry those for sink washups if you don't want to. The food items can be in shopping bags or totes &/ or coolers; ice can be bought at the store a short drive from the Lodge area. No food or eating allowed in the tents or on the poperty where the tents are. Eat int he parking lot, or in the lodge building or off premises. And who would want to anyway? If you have anything left in the tent, bears could come in to get it. We were good,so we never saw, nor were bothered by bears for the week.

There are some wheelbarrows to help you take your stuff to and from the tent if you like. Only needed when on check in and departure really. If you take a tent near the parking lot, you will do less walking. If you take a tent near the bathroom building, it will be a bit busy near you, and the light is on all night on the path. If you take one of the tents up on the hillsides, you have more walking, but wonderful views. That is what we did and were quite pleased.

If you really want to campfire cook, you can do what we did; we reserved a site at the other campground nearby- the "bring your own tent" campground, not far from the lodge area. One of our family members camped there, as well as our using that bear box for the food to be cooked; we made several meals there. Just great. Worth the campsite fee not to have to worry about getting a seat at the scarce restaurant options on the mountain. Each of these campsites have their own, large bear box-next to the campfire/grill; soooo convenient. Just have to remember to add ice to your cooler each day if you have perishables. The setting is lovely there too, with wonderful stream/river, with granite beach area, to get wet on hot days.

We did not find out about the possible illness that rodents carry until after we left the park. We were fine. The problem seems to be more at the tent lodge at the lower, western side of the park. We loved staying up on the eastern, Tuolumne Meadows side. It is at 9,000 ft, but quieter, and open views. Only took less than an hour to drive to the western side, to see the sights there. Certainly worth the drive to see the granite walls, redwoods and such. Nice to get back, away from the crowds though. Managers Mike and Patrick are outstanding.

Room Tip: Some tents have single beds, some have more, some have larger beds, I think. Ask for what you would...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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8  Thank PokeyPaddler
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

Address: Tioga Road, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
Region: United States > California > Yosemite National Park
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 23 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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