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“It's Not Luxury, But Come On--Look at Where You're At!!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Tuolumne Meadows Lodge

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Tuolumne Meadows Lodge
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Tioga Road, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389   |  
Hotel amenities
Bonita, CA
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
251 helpful votes 251 helpful votes
“It's Not Luxury, But Come On--Look at Where You're At!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 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, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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109 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (35)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Danville, California
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 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, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thousand Oaks, California
Top Contributor
88 reviews 88 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2012

Four friends stayed for four nights. Three days of fantastic hiking. Bit of a confusing place at first, but definitely clean and comfortable. Bath house was better than expected. The food was a bit pricey, but good. We loved meeting families of four around the dinner table. Highly recommended, but do your homework first so you know what to expect. (No coffee in the morning until 7:00, wood burning stove can be difficult to start and it's not really possible to maintain heat through the night, front desk is helpful but not equipped to handle high traffic periods, cell phone charging station in the lodge gets crowded and people will actually disconnect your phone if you're not there, shower water pressure isn't great.....basically really minor stuff)

Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bolivia, North Carolina
Top Contributor
88 reviews 88 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2012

My husband and I spent one night in a tent cabin at the lodge. We had a double bed and all was fine with the bed and the bath house facilities. Our lunch at the grill and ice cream snack were good. For dinner we had the skillet steak and salmon which were both very good. Our only issue was that we could not get our fire in the tent wood stove started. We would do this again but buy a couple of Yule logs outside the park and use those to get the fire started. It was pretty cold sleeping on June 27th even though we were prepared with our clothes and had plenty of cover from the 3 beds in our tent. We especially enjoyed the late afternoon sitting by the river and after dinner by the Bon fire. Overall great experience just a bit chilly sleeping.

Room Tip: We liked being near the bath. We could still hear the river.
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rome
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2012

I have stayed here several times over several decades, and will certainly be back, love the place. I think it does itself a disservice however by calling itself a Lodge. It's a tent camp, and a fairly comfortable one, but don't expect a lodge, dress very warmly, expect to have the cold winds blowing through your tent at night, basic shared bathrooms etc. The best feature is the dining room, great food and common tables where you just have to make friends. If you come here with a "camper" mindset you will love it. If you come expecting the Ahwahnee you are going to be unhappy and complain a lot.

Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arlington, Virginia
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
112 helpful votes 112 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2012

I think situations like this can be good or bad depending on prior knowledge. For instance, the first night we burned through all our firewood at about 8pm. I woke up nearly frozen to death in the middle of the night. duh! in retrospect, but we were thinking the blankets would keep us warm.
I think this is a great idea for those who are not hard-core campers: Those who want to hike without carrying around a tent; who want to eat decent food without having to carry it on their backs, and don't want to do dishes (or have to carry pots on their backs)
The people--the other tenters--are a subset of those in the Valley. They are sort of an in-shape, more nature-oriented crowd; a little more serious and respectful about the wilderness. I really like that, possibly best of all.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2012

First, let me preface by saying that I've been to Yosemite 7 times and that 6 of those visits i've only stayed in tents, so I'm a little biased. This time i brought my wife and family for their first trip to Yosemite and since we had flown in we didn't easily have the luxury of packing the gear required to camp in a national park.

I made the reservation for TML well in advance for two nights. We got a tent with 4 single beds that was perfect for our family. My only experience with the Lodge was buying a shower after many nights in the backcountry.

After reading some of the review on TA i thought i would try and set some expectations for folks that might be considering TML.

1. Tuolumne Meadows Lodge is not a lodge in the traditional sense. You get a tent cabin with bed(s), a wood burning stove, firewood, linens (sheets, wool blankets and a heavy comforter + pillows), towels, a couple of candles and a shelf to store things. You keep all your food and bathroom items (soap etc) in a bear box that might be a couple hundred yards away if you're fortunate enough to be near the river.

2. There is a dining hall that servers breakfast and dinner and will even pack a sack lunch for you. The food is surprisingly good but it's not cheap. But you're in one of the greatest NPs getting food served to you. You're only other option is to eat at the little grill near the store a few miles down the road. While we were there they had salmon, marinated tofu, chicken, pork and so on as choices.

3. There is no electricity in the tents but there is a place to recharge your cell phones, iPads etc in the lobby of the dining hall.

4. It gets cold at night. We were there at the end of June 2012 and temps were easily down in the low 30s at night so plan accordingly. The first night my wife froze (south FL) while the kids and myself were fine so the second night she required that we build a raging fire in the stove. I promise you we heated up not just our tent but the tents around us as well. She slept much warmer that night :-)

5. The river and falls provide a wonderful backdrop at night.

I look at TML as a luxury since you get to enjoy Yosemite without the overhead of packing a car full of camping gear. The showers are hot and the bathroom facilities are clean. If you want a hotel experience then stay in the Valley or outside the park. My kids enjoyed it immensely and it gave us some quality family time without the usual interruptions (TV, cell phones, etc).

It's not for everybody but we had a great experience.

Room Tip: If you can get a room near the river then you'll have a little more privacy as well as the falls...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
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
Location: United States > California > Yosemite National Park
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 26 Specialty Lodging in Yosemite National Park
Number of rooms: 69
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tuesday August 27, 2013 - With the exception of White Wolf Lodge, all lodging and services are available in Yosemite National Park. Yosemite Valley and Wawona are largely unaffected by the Rim Fire and air quality is good. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Tuolumne Meadows Hotel Yosemite National Park

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