Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne Meadows

(Pronounced “too-all-oh-mee”) map
Current Real-Time snowpack information go here

Tuolumne Meadows bus

Once you are in the park, reservations may be placed at any Tour & Activity Desk or by calling x1240 from any house phone. To make reservations prior to your arrival in the Park, please call (209) 372-1240. Reservations can be made up to seven days in advance.

Fares vary according to where you are going based on the list above. The most expensive route is the valley to the Tuolumne Lodge at $14.50 one-way and $23 round trip. Any other partial destination is less.

Dining recommendation!

While in Tuolumne, drive down to the “Whoa Nellie Deli” at the Mobil Station in Lee Vining! You’ll be glad you did.


The Tuolumne Meadow(s) area of Yosemite National Park is quite different from the valley and Wawona. It’s the high country, with an altitude of 8,500 at it’s lowest point. Nearby Tioga Pass, the eastern gate of the park is at the 10,000 foot elevation and is the highest elevation you can attain by car. By comparison, the valley and Wawona areas are at the 4,000 foot elevation. It is quite a bit colder here, and weather patterns are different as well. It rains more in Tuolumne, as it is situated closer to the east slope of the Sierra Nevada. In years past the mosquitoes were worse, but that seems to have been lessened for some reason that has excaped me. Bear activity is much higher here. Bears are very active in the campground and all along the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River in the Lyell Canyon.

Tuolumne Meadow is just that; an enormous meadow, very beautiful, but even more so in the spring with the wild flowers. Highway 120 goes through the area, a paved road in very good condition.

There are very few services in Tuolumne, the basics, really. During the summer, which runs on average from mid-June to mid-September, there’s a campground, small grocery store, grill, post office, small gas station open 24 hours (automated) and visitor center. There’s also a year-round ranger station and seasonal High Sierra Camp with restaurant. It’s the center of the universe for those embarking on long backpacking trips to Glenn Aulin, Vogelsang, and Donahue Pass along the John Muir Trail and Pacific Crest Trail. Although the Tioga Pass Road (as it is also called) is open from just before Memorial Day to well into October or November, services are available only during summer.

This is an area where you can find solitude very easily. With only a leisurely stroll north or south along the Tuolumne River, one can find a spot along the river bank and be very private. Swim, fish, or just sit and stare at the sky…

The following are links to various photo pages from various parts of the Tuolumne Meadows area:

South area
North area
Saddlebag Lake

Tuolumne Meadows in early July. The perfect place to lose yourself. This view is looking east. Lembert Dome is on the left.











The Tuolumne River meanders through countless meadows such as this, offering the visitor incredible scenery in complete solitude. This is the view looking southeast from the Glenn Aulin trail.










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Hustling “downtown” Tuolumne Meadows. The general store is on the left, post office in the center, and cafe on the right. During season, the store closes at 8pm, and the grill closes at 7pm. For the season, it closes around the end of September. If you go to Tuolumne Meadows after that, you will have no services whatsoever. The campground is behind this structure.


It’s the only outpost of civilization between Tioga Lake and Crane Flat.


This is the center of operations for climbers, backpackers, cyclists and day-trippers. Casual is the word.


This photo, taken July 4, 2004. Notice how many campgrounds had vacancies. Yosemite Creek and all the campgrounds along Tioga Road had vacancies. Notice Camp 4 (in the valley) even had vacancies at 2:30pm in the afternoon!!


Amazing. I’ve never seen a July 4th weekend with vacancies in the campground. Tuolumne Meadows campground is 1/2 reservations and 1/2 first-come-first-served.


The backside of Half Dome (right) and Cloud’s Rest (left) as seen from Olmstead Point.


How the weather can change

Snow at Tuolumne Meadows in late September, 2004

by Bill

It was my pleasure to drive along The Tioga Road on Monday, Sept. 20, 2004. Perhaps Maw Nature was feeling her oats because she unleashed snow in the Tioga Lake and Tuolumne Meadows area. I thought it was too early, but not her!

When I got to Tioga Lake it really began to come down … enough to put a white dusting on the road and ground and that only added to the accumulation in some places already there. Up to an inch here and there. I saw a guy standing up to his ankles in Tioga Lake having his picture taken. He was dressed in a warm coat. There were a number of picnickers around the Tioga Lake area who were not bothered in the least by the snow. Hearty individuals!

The thing about this storm was it came and went. It would snow for five minutes, then the sun would come out and the sky would turn bright blue. It seemed the temperature would go up ten or fifteen degrees. Then, more snow. This continued as I drove along Tenaya Lake, past Olmstead Point and all the way to Tuolumne Meadows. I stopped at the visitor center at Tuolumne Meadows and bought a pair of bright blue thermal underwear. I was beautiful with those undies under my khaki shorts. Then it was off to the Soda Springs trail to do the hike I had planned. I was in and out of snow three times during that hr. hike.

After the Soda Springs walk I went to the grill at Tuolumne Meadows for a burger and a hot cup of coffee. Still Snowing!

Shortly before I headed over to the Lee Vining entrance for some pictures of Mount Dana it stopped snowing but I was in and out of it several times driving to the park gate.

The snow melted almost as soon as it hit the ground, but it really came down several times. It was beautiful! I have never seen snow at Yosemite so it was a new experience. While I was up on Tioga Road it snowed and rained in the valley so I am told. “They” say it was quite a storm. From my viewpoint that storm came over Lembert Dome, over ME and went right down Tioga Canyon to the valley. I know that when I got to my cabin at House Keeping Camp later that day the roads in the valley were wet and there was some snow here and there still on the ground.

That night I froze! As I said I was in Housekeeping. No heat and all I had was a sleeping bag. I’m told it went down to 37 degrees. Oh well, I flew close to two thousand miles to be in Yosemite and was not about to let a little cold and snow spoil it for me.

As the week progressed the days and nights became warmer. I left the valley on Friday morning and the temperature was in the upper 70s.