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“I'd rather camp”

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Tuolumne Meadows Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Oakland, California
Level Contributor
118 reviews
90 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 128 helpful votes
“I'd rather camp”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 2, 2011

The tents are very rustic with cement floors and cots with thick wool blankets which are very musty. The tent smelled of mildew and since it rained every afternoon it was a dreary place to be in. The communal bathrooms were dirty and the toilets were often out of order. You had to roll up your pants when in the bathroom or they would get wet.
Our tent had an additional problem in that when it rained the rain soaked the floor. That was fixed when we told them the problem.
The reason it gets 2 stars instead of one is that the scenery is fabulous and the hiking breathtaking. It is also the only place to stay in the high country of Yosemite

Room Tip: Ask for tent 57 to 60 or 1 to 3 that are on the outskirts of the propery so you look towards the riv...
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank abby7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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206 reviews from our community

Traveler 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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (63)
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English first
Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 28, 2011

My boyfriend and I spent 2 days/nights at Tuolumne Meadows Lodge in July 2011 - actually the first two days of the season they were open. We had no idea we got so lucky making reservations the week before (only open bc they had to cancel all reservations prior due to the late opening).
For me, it was camping without many of the drawbacks! Your tent is always dry and ready for you, bedding is warm and you dont prepare your own food.
We went on some great hikes and there are trails of all distances/levels leaving right from the campground. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone!
The restaurant's breakfast was great - dinner was on the pricey side but overall a good value considering where we were. Cheesecake was amazing and avoid the chicken soup. We'll be back!

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank ArielleinMiami
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Level Contributor
37 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 22, 2010

My husband and I really enjoyed our tent cabin! It was cute and comfortable! We enjoy camping, but since we opted to fly instead of drive to Yosemite, we ditched the tent, and I was glad we did. Tuolumne Meadows Lodge is not a lodge by any stretch of the imagination. There is a lodge on the property for check-in and dining, but you stay in a canvas tent with a wood platform floor. It's like camping, but a little more luxurious. There are cots to sleep on (read: no backache the next day), you and your stuff stay dry, there is a wood-burning stove for heat, and you can stand up without hitting your head!

Tuolumne Meadows Lodge would be perfect for families. As a couple, I thought it was romantic (my hubby made me a fire each night!). The location can't be beat, and it's a welcomed retreat from the hustle and bustle of the Valley.

Bring warm clothes and some old-fashioned entertainment (books, cards, games, scotch) for the evenings. Don't forget to check for stars!

Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank trvl17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Westfield, New Jersey
Level Contributor
90 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 26, 2010

This is not a hotel room, it is a tent cabin at 8600ft, you get the basics without having to carry them on your back, including access to hot showers with dispenser soap,flush toilets. canvas tents on cement platform have 4 singles, firm mattress (some 1 double,2single), sheets, pillow, wool blankets, quilt, towel and washcloth, new wood burning stove, card table, candle, matches, chair, water pitcher, a few logs, door, 2 mesh windows. bring your own flashlight, tea light candles, newspaper. for $8 a small box of firewood at tioga road store/grill just west of tm, if you are unprepared for a cool night.
Tuolomne meadows lodge building, where you check in, includes a dining room, view of the dana fork of the tuolomne river, serves breakfast, dinner, box lunches, snacks, has electricity and a pay phone, drinking water supply just outside. the parking area is for guests with bear boxes for your food. housekeeping may be available for a fee, but if you are careless with your food in the tent, the nearby chipmunks will take care of it asap. don't feed the wildlife. always grateful for tm staff who are helpful & friendly.
Tuolomne is a wonderful base camp for high sierra camps and day hikes. there are trails to enjoy for all ages and abilities, with breathtaking views, rivers, lakes, meadows. a free shuttle runs daily to different trailheads along tioga road. cell reception can be spotty.
over the past 20 yrs i have returned to Yosemite and always found something new to discover; of the high camps sunrise and may lake are favorites. the yosemite creek trail can take you from tioga road to the valley floor, best when the falls are at peak, stop by the Ahwahnee for some rustic luxury as well!

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank vista4u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Modesto, California
Level Contributor
578 reviews
94 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 533 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 31, 2010

I stayed here two different times (two consecutive years) before hiking to the High Sierra Camps. Both times enjoyed my stay here. The parking lot is very large. The cabin was comfortable and adequate. Showers and bathroom facilities are in good shape and close by. Enjoyed the campfire at night. It was nice to eat dinner in the main dining room (family style) and meet people from all over. Food was tasty although not inexpensive. At Tuolumne there is a menu with different items to choose from. At the High Sierra Camps, there is just one meal choice for the day. Tuolumne is a good choice to stay if hiking as there are many great hiking trails in this area of Yosemite (or nearby). Staff at the camp were pleasant and helpful. I really like the pretty creek and cascade right next to the camp. A refreshing place to either swim or relax.

If you want a different camping experience in a beautiful location, you will enjoy this camp! I would definitely recommend.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank MSWMom50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southern California
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 6, 2009

We stayed at the Tuolumne tent cabins at the Tuolumne Lodge August 17 to 20, 2009. The High Sierra is for people who have a true appreciation and reverence for the glory of Yosemite. The $100 per tent/night + food price is steep, but worth it if you want to escape the partying mob that is trampling Yosemite Valley. Reservations are dear, so book early if you want a spot (book at least one year ahead). There is a reason that these tents sell out early; people know that this is one of the most spectacular places on earth.

CHECK IN - We were told that our tents (we rented two, one for us and one for our 17 & 11 year old kids) would be ready at 3. The desk made a mistake and thought the tents were cleaned, but they weren't. We unloaded our stuff and staged it outside the tent and finally flagged a maintenance guy who was courteous and straightened it out. We were in the tent by 4:30. We passed the time and got lunch at the only place nearby, the Tuolumne Grill. Our meal there (the kids had burgers, I had the veggie burger) was by far the best meal that we had during our Yosemite stay. The Grill closes at 5pm sharp, so don't count on it for a late dinner. Make your reservations at the Yosemite Lodge Dining Room early in the day if you want a seat int he dining hall.

THE TENT - Clean comfortable beds. (4) twins with sheets, pillow and warm blankies. We moved two twins to make a bigger bed (We're on vacation, right?), but it sort of blocked the tent door. However, I'd move the beds again. The room had a table and candles. Rustic and clean. The wood stove is a champ. Following another trip advisor reviewer's advice, I brought extra kindling ( a bag of pine cones), and it helped alot. The lodge provides as much wood as you want. The stove works great and we were toasty, even sleeping atop the covers at times. If you can't keep the wood lit, try leaving the main door slightly ajar. MICE if you leave any wrappers, or even if you don't. There is a support bar across the back and sides of the tent. I hung everything I could, including my backpack. Use wire hangers or giant S hooks that you bring from home. Someone had left behind a long wire hanger that they had fashioned into a lantern holder for the tent. It was attached to the peak of the tent. Worked great. I also brought a battery operated candle that I left on during the night. Worked great so I didn't feel so disoriented when I woke up durning the night.

THE LOBBY of the lodge sells a few convenience and souvenir items. Bud Light in a bottle, cold for $1.00. I'll take it! Ice cream, gum, batteries. My 11 year old spied a vacant electrical outlet near the front desk and ask permission to charge his video game and the staff allowed it. I saw a few other chargers in that outlet from time to time (cell phones, blackberrys). The staff was nice about it and realizes the importance of the coveted electrical outlet. (No electricity in your tent).

THE RESTROOMS/SHOWERS - Lodge provides towels to your tent, but I brought my own large beach towel so I could make the mad dash back to my tent without shlepping all of my clothes to the showers. Private shower stalls, liquid soap provided, hot water. For camping at this high elevation in this remote place, I appreciated the nice shower. The shower knobs are improved from years' past. True on/off. Great! Private toilet stalls, toilet paper. Restrooms are closed for cleaning between 12 and 2, so don't plan on a shower during that time.

THE LODGE/DINING - Breakfast prices were fair, but dinner prices were way over the top for what you get. Get the continental breakfast for $6.95. It includes cereal/oatmeal, fruit, juice, hot beverage, toast/muffin. Served buffet style, all you can eat. The lodge opens at 7:00 am and coffee/tea are complementary. You can toddle down to the lodge and get coffee and bring it back to your tent while other's in your party awake or get ready for the day. Ask for hot chocolate and they will provide. I wouldn't mind paying $19-27 for a dinner entree if it was worth it. Salad is served ala Olive Garden to the center of your table (8 people per table). Prepare to chat with some erudite guests who have enjoyed the lodge for many years. They will tell you where to hike and what to skip. A great source of information as are the servers. The food was so-so. Steak, trout, pork chop, boneless chicken, all served with the same gloppy starchy side of rice or potato. Totally not worth the price. I had high hopes for the Tuolumne Veggie Burger that was a black-bean based veggie burger. What a disappointment. I could barely touch it. But take heart! Since the Lodge is the only game in town, you need to be creative. I smartened up and ordered the dinner salad, soup of the day, and a baked potato. It totally satisfied me and I didn't pay for food that wasn't worth it. Not too many offerings for my kids besides a hamburger and bowtie pasta with (what tasted like) jarred Ragu and dry parmesan shreds. The Lodge could do alot more to make the food more appetizing and suited to the altitude. What about some chili in a bread bowl, or a hearty beef stew or pot roast or lasagne? The lodge should consider more roasted and braised food instead of grilled and boiled (pasta). The latter are just not suited to the altitude of 8500'. Don't event think of trying to do things on the cheap by preparing some of your own food while you are there. The lodge will prepare a sack/hike lunch for you if you order the night before. The bear boxes are similar to the box in the Bridge over the River Kwai. They get very hot inside, so your cooler doesn't stand of chance. The only thing I would recommend bringing is several bottles of wine. Consider gathering with your group and sitting near the dining hall, along the smooth flat granite next to the Dana Fork of the Tuolumne River. A lovely way to end your day. Put your wine in a cooler in the bear box. I saw several people carrying their own wine bottles into the dining hall. I don't know if there is a corkage fee. A few wine selections are offered on the menu, but bring your own if wine matters to you. Buy beer in 6-packs and submerge it in the river in a secret spot for a quick cool down.

You are in BEAR COUNTRY. Park your car and empty all food contents to the multitude of shared bear boxes along the parking lot perimeter. At night, make one last trip to the bear box to deposit your toiletry kit. Nothing with a fragrance or aroma in the tent is allowed. The only thing we kept in the tent was a 2.5 gal dispenser jug of water and some plastic drinking glasses. We preloaded our toothbrushes with toothpaste before dinner, brought our toiletries to the bear boxes before dinner, then used the toothbrush before bed.

HORSES - We scheduled a trail ride form Tuolumne stables, about 1 mile from the lodge at the base of Lembert Dome. Walker, the man in charge, was totally informed about the Yosemite area and gave us a brief chat before our ride. $60 person/2 hour ride. Make reservations about 3 weeks ahead. The stables were pristine. The mules and horses were groomed and healthy. We are inexperienced riders, and our guides Russ, Tanner and Jen were mature and courteous. 8 riders, 3 guides, a great ratio. A great way to see some tremendous vistas of Tuolumne Meadows and beyond.

During the day, you can enjoy the beauty of this meadow by taking short hikes to the riverside and basking in the sun. We saw deer and chipmunks everywhere. No bear signtings and no one spoke of any. I think that bear control in Yosemite is much improved over the past few decades. The bears have learned that the bear boxes are impenetrable and just not worth their time. Recommended day hikes: Tuolumne Lodge to Glen Aulin. Mono Pass (drive to the trailhead, plenty of parking there),

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
17 Thank TanCalifornian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
53 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 128 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 31, 2009

First of all - this is camping, not a lodge. That said, this is a great choice for someone like me, and here's why...

The actual tent has a concrete floor, raised cots with sheets and warm blankets, a pot belly stove supplied with wood, windows, and a door you can latch. It also has large gaps where insects/critters can sneak in. Again - remember we're camping here.

There are hot showers, real toilets, and sinks with soap. There's a restaurant which is pretty expensive and not great. Every night there's a campfire where you can be social. The grounds are lovely, a stream running through, trails of all length leading to many places.

This is a good starting point for people backpacking to high camps, which is what I did. You can acclimate, get a good night's sleep, then leave your car and any extra weight when you leave for the high camps.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank TerrySF
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
Location: United States > California > Yosemite National Park
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 24 Specialty 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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