About Tuolumne Meadows
Tuolumne Meadows Campground is located in breathtaking Yosemite National Park in Central California's rugged Sierra Nevada Mountain Range at an elevation of 8,600 feet. The site is situated along the scenic Tioga Road just five miles from the Tioga Pass Entrance Station. Within Yosemite, visitors can gaze upon waterfalls, sheer granite cliffs, deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, vast wilderness areas, and so much more. Yosemite National Park's reservable campsites are available up to five months in advance on the 15th of each month at 7:00 a.m. (PT) or 10:00 a.m. (ET). For example, on January 15, the time period May 15 to June 14 becomes available to reserve, and therefore, the full booking window would be from January 16 to June 14. Recreation Popular activities in the area include hiking, rock climbing, backpacking and fishing. The 4.8-mile roundtrip trail to Elizabeth Lake begins in the campground and climbs to a glacier-carved lake at the base of Unicorn Peak. Other trails in Tuolumne Meadows include Soda Springs and Parsons Lodge, Lyell Canyon via the John Muir Trail, Cathedral Lakes, Mono Pass, and Glen Aulin. Nearby Tenaya Lake is a magnificent spot for picnicking, swimming and canoeing. Facilities This large, popular campground contains family, horse and group camp sites with picnic tables, fire rings, and a food storage lockers. Flush toilets, drinking water, and an amphitheater are provided. Tuolumne Meadows' seasonal shuttle bus stops at the campground entrance, and provides service between Tioga Pass/Gaylor Lakes Trailhead and Olmsted Point, stopping at various trailheads and viewpoints along the way. Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center is within walking distance, as is a general store and gas station. Natural Features Tuolumne Meadows embodies the high-country of the Sierra Nevada, with its broad sub-alpine meadows and granite domes and peaks. The gentle Tuolumne River, Lyell For, and Dana Fork flow through the vast, colorful meadows bursting with seasonal wildflowers. The meadows are surrounded by stands of Western White pine, Mountain hemlock, and Lodgepole pine. Nearby Attractions Yosemite Valley, an awe-inspiring landscape containing many of the famous features for which Yosemite National Park is known, is 55 miles and two hours from Tuolumne Meadows. Hiking trails and bike paths are abundant in the valley. Rafting the Merced River is a fun way to cool down on a summer day when water levels are sufficient. Yosemite Valley also offers numerous guided bus tours, educational programs, museums, ranger-led activities, and an art center with workshops. Glacier Point is an hour from Yosemite Valley, with sweeping views of both Yosemite and Little Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Vernal and Nevada Falls, and Clouds Rest, among other notable landmarks. A visit to Wawona and the Pioneer Yosemite History Center is like stepping back in time. Charges & Cancellations Cancellation of individual or equestrian site reservations will be charged a $10 service fee. If the cancellation is within 48 hours of the arrival date, the first night's fee will also be charged. Cancellation of a group site reservation will incur a $10.00 service fee plus the first night’s use fee when the reservation is cancelled within 14 days of the scheduled arrival date. Cancellations for a single night’s use will not be assessed a service fee. No-shows for any type of reservation will be charged a $20 service fee and the first night's fee. ADA Access: N
Drive In, Walk In, Hike In
National Park Service
Tuolumne Meadows is located in California
Take Highway 41 north from Fresno, Highway 140 east from Merced, Highway 120 east from Manteca or west from Lee Vining (State Route 395) into Yosemite National Park. Tuolumne Meadows Campground is located 5 miles from the Tioga Pass Entrance station (Hwy 120 from the east), and is 55 miles (2 hours) from Yosemite Valley.
22 Reviews of Tuolumne Meadows
This is a great campground to use as a stopping point on the JMT. If you were hiking the traditional route, it is a nice point to meet family or friends, have a hamburger, and get geared up for the next leg of the trip.
Our camp site was near the back of the campground and we were tucked away in the trees. The site was beautiful and had a nice spot to park, a bear locker, and picnic table. All the staff members were very friendly and helpful. We really enjoyed staying here.
CAMPGROUND REVIEW: Coldwater Campground, Mammoth Lakes, CA
A beautiful 77 site campground nestled in at over 9,000 ft in the Inyo National Forest of the Eastern Sierras.
Amenities: large sites, modern restrooms spaced throughout the camp (two unisex doors, includes one sink with running cold water, a flush toilet, and metal mirror), water spigots near the latrines.
Each site has a large picnic table, a fire pit with sliding cook grate, a double door bear cabinet and small paved parking pad.
We chose site 66, as it sprawled to s mountain stream, nestled in shaded pines, had a couple flat tent spots and was relatively close to restrooms and water.
No electric, no showers (nearby Twin Lakes Campground Store rents shower time at $7.00…one person per shower.
Coldwater Campground is a short drive from Mammoth Lakes, which has all you should need or desire.
The trails from the back of Coldwater Campground go up, up, up…but offer spectacular mountain views, glacier lakes, picturesque alpine meadows, waterfalls and cascades. A short drive and bus ride away are trails to Iconic Rainbow Falls and Devil’s Postpile, among other ridiculously beautiful mountain trails!
Mountain bike trails are innumerable…and the paved multi-use trails are stellar and travel for miles. https://www.visitmammoth.com/blogs/top-5-xc-mountain-bike-trails-near-mammoth-lakes
There are rentals nearby for every sportsman. This is the active person’s Mecca! Also close-by is Mammoth Ski area that offers the downhill mountain bikers absolute Nirvana, during summer months.
At $24 a night, this seems to be the standard rate for this region…and that without showers.
Note: Even during hot summer months, it gets chilly at night. August 6, it was 50 degrees at night. A 40 degree dip from the cloudless daytime temps.
It did not take long to fall in love with the Eastern Sierra Nevadas. I would not hesitate to camp here again, and am already planning a return visit.
This section of the park, while not as popular as the Valley, is arguably just as beautiful, and is much easier to secure camping. This campground is MASSIVE. Reservations can be made in advance, but we didn't have any trouble finding a walkup site in the middle of June. The elevation here means that it gets fairly cold at night, even during the summer.
Groceries may be conveniently purchased a short drive down the road, but keep in mind that the markup is pretty substantial, so you probably only want to use it for last-minute essentials.
While there is running water, if you're looking to take a shower, you'll need to head down to the Valley.
This is the only high Sierra Campground that is accessible by car. Camping is half reservations, half first come first serve, but can be hard to get into. There is potable water and flushing toilets, but no showers or RV hookups. There is a small store with the basics close by, and a little grill restaurant. Due to high elevation, it gets cold at night, but its worth it. Lots of great hiking and climbing close by. An awesome place to camp!
It's not always easy to get a site, but it's the only place I choose to camp in Yosemite. There are bathrooms, ranger station, Outpost with basics and walk-up grill, but you won't find any showers. Horse sites & a few RV sites, but roadways within the grounds are best for seasoned trailer owners.
Very big campground. Group sites available. Tent, backpacking and RV available. Long walk in lines in summer. Lots of mosquitoes. Good hiking and fishing nearby. Walk to campstore and restaurant. PCT camp sites nearby.
I was three days early- the campground would not open for three more days! But I was able to talk with a fellow that works at the store just outside the campground to get some info. The campground is used by lots of thru hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail as well as the John Muir Trail (I saw a large group of thru hikers filling up on food from the the store and grill on picnic tables outside) as well as campers who wanted to enjoy the high Sierra area of Yosemite Park instead of hanging out in the crowded Valley. The campground is huge with around 300 sites that accommodate tents, RV’s, Camper’s, and even a few equestrian sites. I was told that the sites in the A loop are the best sites since they are a bit more spread out, are near the river, and the backpacker’s area is there and that is where you get the best stories. Across the road is the Tuolomne Meadows area with great hiking and access to the big trails. There was a really neat soda spring you could hike to where ice cold water bubbled out of the ground. There were some historical buildings in the area that were pretty neat to check out as well.
Planned out a trip with reservations for months but due to fires and hurricanes our reservations were null and void. We were able to score one night a Tuolumne and for the next three just head to the ranger station in the am and request to stay. We stayed in mid September, very cold nights, but doable with proper tent, cot, insulated pad and sleeping bag this Florida girl survived. Loved this campground, no crowds like the Valley, and beauty everywhere you look. Perfect place to camp to check out both Lake Mono & the Valley. The Tuolumne Meadows store has an attached quick serve restaurant that was a blessing for coffee and breakfast, food was excellent.
Tuolumne Meadows: Yosemite's Hidden Gem of a Campground
One of the tricks with campgrounds in Yosemite is that you either have to 1. Book 5-6 months in advance on the exact correct date within 15 minutes of the site becoming available online, or 2. risk a walk-up by standing in line starting as early as midnight the night before you want to camp.
Enter Tuolumne Meadows, an incredibly beautiful campsite within Yosemite that doesn't normally become available until early June AND leaves half of their sites open to first-come, first-served campers. I was thrilled to grab a spot at Tuolumne online for mid-June with just one-week's notice, and there were even a handful of spots still available when we arrived. The campground is about an hour-and-a-half drive from Half Dome and other sites in "the valley," but there's so much to see and do closer to Tuolumne with a bonus of avoiding the standing-room-only crowds. I would definitely stay here again and fully enjoyed coming in from the east side of Yosemite with its breathtaking mountains (we normally enter from the busier west side).
Tuolumne is a large campground surrounded by trees, tiny rivers, and breathtaking meadows. As with all campgrounds in Yosemite, there's no electricity, water hook-ups, or showers, but there are water faucets and flush toilets throughout. One thing to note is that camp sites vary greatly, so if you can scope out your site first in person or online, it's worth the research. For example, our site was so large and set back from the road that at first we couldn't find it, while our neighbor was right next to the road and barely had room for their camper and absolutely no privacy. There's also a large group campground, horse camp, backpackers camp (permit required), ranger program, and a really cute visitor center a 1/2 mile away.
Product Review: Gregory Grandeur Series Sucia 28 Backpack
My absolute favorite day pack is an old Gregory Iris that I've had for almost a decade, so as a family we were pretty darn excited to win TWO Gregory backpacks in a recent dyrt.com contest. For my oldest son, we chose a Gregory Grandeur Series Sucia 28 with the hopes that it would do double duty as both a camping/day pack as well as a school bag he can take to class and soccer practice.
The pack has three main areas he'll be putting to use: first is an outside mesh stuff bag for stinky soccer clothes, muddy cleats and/or wet clothes for camping and summertime trips, second is a large internal area with padding for both a laptop as well as an ipad and a small zippered mesh area for keys/chapstick etc., and finally there's a second large internal area with dividers for things such as pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. There's also a separate, smaller top zippered area for keys/wallets/phones as well as spots for water bottles on both sides. All-in-all, a pretty perfect setup for both school and road trips.
So far after putting the pack through the ringer during our recent 1700-mile road trip, it still looks brand new and passed every test as far as usability and comfort. It's the perfect size to fit the basics for a night or two of camping including sleeping bags, clothes, etc., as well as the pounds and pounds of books he'll be taking to middle school. For reference in looking at the photos, my older son is 5 feet tall and the pack fits him well now and should also grow with him just fine (it also fits my husband well who's 6-feet-tall). The red bag in the photos is the Gregory Miwok 18, worn by our younger son who is 4 feet tall.
Sturdy and well-made. I keep noticing features such as the reinforced stitching at the stress points and the reinforced zipper pulls.
Perfect combination of features for both work/school and camping.
Looks great and feels comfortable.
My only wish for this pack is that the outside mesh are was the tiniest bit bigger to more comfortably fit a soccer ball. I know, this is a pretty specific request and there are other bags specifically for soccer balls, but just a little bit more room there would be ideal and they we wouldn't have to cram it in quite so tightly (though it does actually fit with some pushing).
I was also going to add a "key clip" request for an inside pocket, and then I looked inside the small mesh compartment near the laptop area and found one (and felt kind of dumb when I found it). It really is a pretty perfect pack for our needs, and with my experience with other Gregory bags, I'm pretty confident it should hold up well.