I read tripadvisor's reviews a lot, so I decided to write one to give information about Tuolumne's group sites. Just got back from 3 nights (Wed.- Sat.) early August camping at Tuolumne Campground. We were really lucky to get this Group Site B when someone cancelled. I tried that 4 months early reservation method and that was a joke. My daughter and I tried on two different computers, and all the available sites were gone in 5 minutes. For anyone who wants to try this method, try calling instead or check everyday for cancellations. As you get closer to your trip date, cancellations do pop up at Yosemite campsites. I was able to get this group site plus another individual site. (Hint: Start checking a month before, several times a day.)
Out of all Tuolumne Meadows groups sites, I would have to say that groups sites A and B are the best. They're on flat land with plenty of parking space. The other sites were on a slight hill. They supposedly only allow 5 cars, but they don't check. We were able to park 7 cars. The first night, we got another extra site just in case because we have 30 people, 7 cars, 7 tents, and a shelter tent for eating. We were able to fit everything in the group site, so we didn't even need the individual site.
On the first night, we were visited by a bear around 9:30 p.m. near our food boxes. We started shouting, and it ran away. It then went to the group site across from us, and all the boyscouts there came out with their flashlights. The bear ended up climbing a tree and just sat there. The rangers came and had everyone leave. When the bear came down, they shot a gun to scare away the bear. Unfortunately, we had a bear visit every night, so we were more careful about storing our food away early. I was a bit fearful on the first night but got used to their visits by the last nights. They weren't agressive; they just wanted some food. They ran away as soon as they heard shouting. Finally, on the third night, the rangers brought a trailer to trap the bear, but I don't know if it was caught. They came by and told us that they think it's the one they trapped last year. The bear that we saw had two little pegs on its ear which symbolizes how many times they were trapped.
Now, let me move on to our first full day visit to Yosemite Valley which is about 1.5 hours away from Tuolumne. Too crowded!!! Don't go there if you've already been there before. Since we had families who were there for the first time, we did go. A word of advice...park your car by any of the shuttle bus stops and just get around the valley on the shuttle bus. They come pretty often and parking is terrible. We ended up hiking Vernal Fall, and it was beautiful. Yosemite fall which is by fall less strenuous had no water because of the low snowfall last year. Afterwards, we showered at Curry Village $5. They give you everything..towels, soap, shampoo. I think you can also swim in their swimming pool. We got there late when the pool was closed.
The next full day we spent at Tuolumne Meadows. We walked up Puppy Dome (? not quite sure of its name, definitely not Lembert Dome) and went to the beach at Tenaya Lake. Our group liked this day the best. The pictures from top of the Puppy Dome came out great (easy short hike...make a left when you come out of the campground), and Tenaya Lake was beautiful and relaxing. The little kids and teenagers had a great time swmming in the lake. They found a big log and had a blast trying to stand on top it and peddling.
All in all, we had a great time at Yosemite. Don't let the bears deter you. The rangers came soon after we called them. We kind of felt sorry for them. This was the first time that we came across bears in our 10 years of camping. It wasn't as intimidating as I thought it would be. Next year, we're going to try Kings Canyon/Sequoia.
- Also Known As:
- Tuolumne Meadows Campground Hotel Yosemite National Park