Tuolumne Meadows is the center of Yosemite’s High Sierra experience. The huge flowered meadow is surrounded by snow caped peaks and glistening granite domes. Hiking trails lead off in every direction inviting exploration. Anything from a leisurely stroll to a strenuous backpack is available here.
In the winter Tuolumne Meadows is virtually inaccessible and buried under 10 or more feet of snow.
As the snows melt, and after a few weeks for the mosquitoes to die, visitors flock to the meadow just as the Native Americans did for hundred of years. Tuolumne Meadows, at 8,600 feet offers welcome relief from the heat you might experience in Yosemite Valley in the summer being consistently 15 to 20 degrees cooler.
Tuolumne Meadows also offers a slightly less crowded experience of Yosemite than the madness of Yosemite Valley at peak season. Of course, anytime you want additional solitude just start off on any trail in any direction. After hiking you can pay for a hot shower at Tuolmne Lodge if you’ve worked up a sweat.
August and September pretty much guarantee ideal hiking conditions at Tuolumne Meadows but at any time of year be sure you have warm layers available. Nights are chilly to downright cold even in mid-summer and especially by September. Thundershowers are rare but happen in the summer and a bit of snow is not unknown.[sam id=1 codes=’false’]
What’s Available At Tuolumne Meadows
There is a small visitors center at Tuolumne Meadows where you can get current trail and weather reports as well as see natural history exhibits and shop for books.
The nearby Wilderness Center is where you can pick up your permits for the back country. The Tuoloumne Meadows Store, located by the Tuolumne Campground, offers a very complete selection of groceries, books and basic supplies. The next door Tuolumne Mountain Shop has a large selection of camping gear.
A gas station next the the shop offers 24-hour fuel with credit card payment.
Among the activities at Tuolumne Meadows are ranger led hikes and campfire programs, a mountaineering school and the Tuolumne Meadows Stables offers horseback riding along the local trails.
A free shuttle will get you between Tuolumne Meadows, Tioga Pass and Olmstead Point.
Tuolumne Meadows Eating Options
The Tuolumne Lodge offers a sit down dining option for breakfast and dinner.
The Tuolumne Meadows Grill offers simple take-out foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
If you’re willing to leave Tuolumne Meadows and go a little ways out of Yosemite Park to the east there are two very good eating options. Tuolumne Lodge is a few miles out the park and offers very nice sit-down breakfasts and dinners-reservations required.
A little farther from the park as you enter the town of Lee Vining you come to the Whoa Neli Deli at the Mobil gas station. There is a well stocked store and the deli prepares a wide variety of delicious, moderately priced meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner in a fast food environment. Get a delicious dinner to go and eat it back in Tuolumne Meadows at your campsite. Pure Heaven!