As I researched accommodations near Yosemite National Park, I discovered Tenaya Lodge in Fish Camp, California.
This location allows for easy access to Half Dome, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, Glacier Point, Tenaya Lake, Tuolumne Meadows and Mariposa Grove.
The lodge was described as a "mountain retreat in the design of a grand alpine lodge".Guests have everything at their finger tips--wireless Internet, spa services, great dining and superb service.
Entering the lobby (picture 2), the stone fireplace and tall ceilings grabbed your attention. This was the ideal spot to 'chill' while waiting for your dinner reservation to be called! Most of the guest rooms have been renovated and are spacious, with thick comforters on the bed to slip beneath. (picture 3) Two nice gift shops were off the lobby.
There were two indoor dining rooms, plus a snack bar and outdoor dining on the patio. Each morning a buffet breakfast was served--ummm, I can still taste the bacon! At check-in, we were given two complimentary full breakfast buffet tickets for each day of our stay, but were charged for our grandson's meal.
Many activities could be scheduled at/from the hotel: we participated in some complimentary STARGAZING one evening, which allowed us to see Jupiter. On our last night we booked the Jamboree Cookout ($40 per adults;$20 per child).
A haywagon pulled by two strapping horses carted one and all to the cookout site, where we enjoyed a simple dinner, s'mores and singing around the campfire (picture 4). The kids learned how to lasso! (picture 5). It was a memorable evening.
We scheduled a full day of sightseeing with Yosemite Sightseeing Tours which departed from the hotel--it took us to all of the highlights without having to find a parking space. Afterall, the park was busy this time of year!
The hotel didn't forget the kids: there was an game arcade, rock wall and sparkling pool for their amusement. We had a terrific stay at Tenaya Lodge!
Yosemite's vast backcountry is one of the true marvels of the National Park system. I doubt there is a more elaborate network of trails in any park, possibly anywhere in the world. What the average visitor to the park sees is less than 5% of this immense wilderness. The only way to see the rest is to backpack.
The most amazing things about it is how many people are out there on these remote trails. For this reason, there is a very intricate system for issuing permits. The easiest thing to do is to reserve ahead of time to ensure getting the spots you want and avoid disappointment. They charge $5 per reservation plus $5 per person for this peace of mind. Obviously, not everyone can do that due to not knowing when exactly they will be there. We were in that situation ourselves. Fortunately, the park keeps 40% of the spots open for walk-ins.
The permits themselves are free so since you are not reserving them it is a way to camp in the park for free. That sounds like a lot but each trail head has only so many spots and popular ones fill up quickly. So, you will need to generally get to a backcountry office early in the morning if you are looking to do a popular multi-day hike. Another thing to keep in mind is there are numerous backcountry offices and the one closest to a particular trail head gets precedence for those spots. To give yourself a better chance it is best to go to that one though in practicality, it might mean doing a lot of driving so weigh your options.
This worked out very well for us. While camping at White Wolf, we could get into the Valley backcountry office easily enough and secured spots for the most popular trek in the park to Half Dome. We got there in the afternoon but still got them so it's always worth checking no matter when you get there. The worst that happens is you see what is open and if you really have your heart set on a particular trek, you just go back early the next day. The rangers will let you know how it looks for a particular hike in the coming days as well.
We later went to camp at Tuolomne Meadow which is on the other side of Tioga Road and got permits for hikes on that side of the park, to popular Cathedral Lakes and North Dome. For us it made sense as we wanted to see that part of the park but if your time is limited, you can always try and get permits for hikes on Tioga Road down in the Valley if that is where you are staying.
We spent a wonderful four days in this large and comfortable home. It was the perfect spot for our family reunion as it was very close to Yosemite Valley.
The kitchen was well equipped. The bedrooms were comfortable and linens were provided. The living room was spacious and there was a large selection of dvd's and videos. The fireplace was nice.
Camping at Yosemite National Park is a bit more complicated than at most National Parks. This is in part due to its vast size but also to its proximity to a big population of people who use it regularly. This is not a once in a lifetime destination for many of its visitors, it's a regular getaway. While the park is huge, most visitors spend their time primarily in Yosemite Valley and its sizable campgrounds are routinely full, especially in summer as well as Spring and Fall weekends. You can reserve the sites online months in advance and often that is just what you must do. What if you don't know exactly when you will be there? Well, you will have to be a little more inventive but flexible but there are places to camp. You just have to know where to look.
The safest thing to do, especially if you have your heart set on camping in Yosemite Valley, is to go online (www.recreation.gov) , even last minute as they do have cancellations. This will save you a lot of running around as well as possibly having to camp outside of the park. If you do arrive without a reservation, go immediately to the campground reservation office. There are a couple so ask at the entrance station on arrival and they will send you to the closest one. You may get lucky and get a spot.
Otherwise, you are looking at camping at one of the first come, first serve campgrounds, only one of which is in the Valley. One problem is they do not open until prime season so either late June or July and also close earlier in the year as well. Check at the campground reservation office or ask at the entrance station for a list of currently open campgrounds. They can be quite spread out so it's not like you are going to go check one out and if you don't like it, you'll go to the next. If you see a spot, just grab it. You can get up early the next day and try and get a different spot.
Camp 4 is the only one of this type in the Valley. Glacier Point Road overs Bridalveil Creek. Tioga Road has White Wolf, Yosemite Creek and Tuolumne Meadows. The last of these is all the way on the other side of the park and quite a long drive from Yosemite Valley. It's a very beautiful area but remote from where many first time visitors are likely to spend the majority of their visit. That said, secure a spot and enjoy where you are. It's a big park and all of it is stunning. You can still get into the Valley and it's not like you are going to be driving on a boring highway. It's a very scenic drive.
One very closely guarded secret in the camping world of Yosemite National Park is their backpacker's campground. It is not open to the general public and hence does not accept either reservations or walk-ins. The only people allowed to camp there are people with backcountry permits that either begin the following day or end that day. You can therefore only stay there one night, either just before going on a backcountry trip or on your return.
It is only $5 per person but is very basic though there are flush toilets, potable water and bear storage lockers. Since it is only a place to pitch your tent for the night, it's not very well spaced out and it can get a bit crowded with all the “real” spots taken. Still, it allows people a good vantage point to start Valley trips early in the morning as well as a place to crash after coming back from a trip, potentially late in the evening.
Our first night in the backcountry campground was not the best. We had come back from our three day hike up to the top of Half Dome and since our car was parked at Curry Village, we decided to have some pizza and beer, and to grab a shower before going to the campground. Since the backcountry campground is a walk-in, we figured we would leave most of our food/toiletries in the lockers at Curry Village and only take what we needed to the campground. By the time we were doing this, it was very dark and the campground is not marked. We had only very basic directions on how to find it. The shuttle bus drivers were as helpful as can be and eventually we found it though it was quite a dark walk to get there. Obviously, by then all the spots were taken so we set up in what free ground space we could find, knowing we would be out of there the next morning anyway.
The second time we used this facility, we were better prepared. After that particular multi-day hiking trip, we went to the campground first, set up and then went for pizza and beer. Since we knew where it was, it was a lot easier to find and we didn't have to search around and set up in the dark. While this is not a great place to camp, it is a great thing for the park to have set up for backpackers and if you use it correctly is a real life saver, and quite fairly priced, especially if you are hiking solo. Avoid confusion by set ting up early and you'll find it a great way to camp in the Valley with no reservations.
When we couldn't find a place to stay in Yosemite Valley -- oops -- always make reservations! -- we headed to Groveland, the town just outside YNP, to the West. It's a small town, with Highway 120 running straight through the middle.
We got the last room available in the Groveland Hotel, and it was sweet. Two twin beds covered with thick feather beds and thick down comforters. The beds were obviously beautiful, wooden antiques. And the shower? Well we'd been camping for the previous couple days, and that shower had the most water pressure you could ever want. It was HEAVEN!!
They sell antiques and teddy bears and dolls. Not my style, but hey, I'm sure plenty of people like that kind of stuff!
The hotel has been around for a long, long time, and is on the National Registry of Historic Landmarks. Also, breakfast is included with the room, and it's a good, filling, continental style breakfast.
This hotel is just 2 miles from the west entrance gate of Yosemite in the town of El Portal. The room was fantastic overlooking the rapids of the Merced River. The sound of the rapids was quite loud which I didn't mind, and the noise could be almost drowned out by closing the sliding glass door. I believe we were in a recently completed building as everything looked new. The mini kitchen really came in handy since there aren't too many restaurants around. We had several meals at the main restaurant and food was very good. Most entrees include soup and salad bar.
Great location just outside of the Yosemite Valley.
I'd highly recommend this hotel and would definitely return.
- 1 indoor, 3 outdoor pools
- 1 indoor, 3 outdoor jacuzzis
- king beds
- mini kithcens with stove top, small refrigerator, dishes, utensils, sink, microwave
- each room has a lanai with chairs & small table
- fireplaces in rooms
- in-room coffee maker
- some rooms with fantastic views overlooking the river
- very large spa tubs
- very nice gift shop with grocery area
- dog friendly
- 2 restaurants (1 pizza)
- tour desk
This place is a very practical accommodation for the budget traveler. It feels like a 1960s motel. Just a mile from the Yosemite gales, it is close enough for easy drives into the valley. It's in a rustic setting, and the rooms are clean and comfortable. Nothing fancy or that charming. This hotel is very close to the Sequoia National Forest as well.
The rooms have microwaves and mini refrigerators.
I worked in Yosemite and therefore had my own cabin (No TV, no phone...very simple and small) However, we all had people come visit us who stayed in hotels. They are very expensive...I love the fact it's supposed to be a National Park but yet there are 4 star hotels, restaurants and even a golf course within the boundaries.
Alternative suggestion: CAMP!!!! I always suggest this, but in Yosemite, it makes no sense not to. It doesn't really rain in the summer, every day is mostly likely sunny and hot. And don't camp in the Valley...go up to Bridalveil, White Wolf, Tuolumne Meadows, May Lake, Porcupine Flat, Crane Flat, etc, etc., etc. It's much much cheaper, you can move around...enjoy a National Park the way it's supposed to be enjoyed. You may hear this while you're there, but it's definitely something to think about: "Take from the Earth with a please and and give to the Earth with a thank you."
If you choose to stay in a hotel, look below for what you should expect to pay
A basic, but comfortable motel located 8 miles from the Yosemite gate. The rooms were clean, fairly large, and had a small refrigerator. The restaurant served good food and had a friendly staff. It was a little far from the valley floor of Yosemite, but if you don't mind the drive I would recommend it.
One indoor and one outdoor pool, plus spa. The motel is located next to the Merced River that has picnic benches and a short walking path.
This was my home for the 3 nights I spent at Yosemite. Unfortunately, I didn't write the name in my journal - forgive me! When I arrived, I was told the campground was close to capacity, and to check back in the morning to book an additional night. When I went back, sites at White Wolf were available, which sounded nice, but apparently bears were much more common there, so I stayed put. The sites were close together, without much privacy, but it was just a place to sleep. The main attraction was Yosemite itself.
Those green boxe at the left is the food locker. To keep dinner away from the bears.
only one thing what was strange.
we had breakfastbuffet and had to pay different prices. it depended how much you ate.
the prices of the rooms we dont know because we paid a package.
The Tenaya Lodge bills itself as a spa and lodge where the guest can come and relax in the Sierra. The rooms were spacious and the property is attractive (but not as attractive as the website leads one to believe). The dining room did not live up to expectations. They know how to described mouth-watering food, they just haven't figured out how to cook it.
We got a fall special deal for a Sunday and Monday night and paid less than $200.00 each night for our room. If you stay on a weekend or in the high season, expect the room tariff to exceed $300.00 per night.
There are a few $$$ to $$$$$ lodges within Yosemite Valley, but also a tent cabin ground ($$) and the usual campgrounds. Book all of them in advance! Tuolumne Meadows has a campground, too - and there are motels in Lee Vining which, over the past years, has developed its touristic potential.
Set in beautiful riverside valley settings, I only had one night at this hotel but the facilities are great. It has three outdoor swimming pools and one indoor with jacuzzis. There is a pizza restaurant as well as a full a la carte restaurant where I had a fantastic meal. Rooms have small kitchenettes with microwave and hob with complimentary tea and coffee as well as full facilities including numerous TV channels. It would have been great to spend more time here to further explore the facilities as well as the area.
Yosemite View Lodge has easy access directly into the National Park via Highway 140 or via the YARTS bus which services the Lodge 4 - 5 times daily in either direction with pickups as early as 6:35am through to 11:00am with drops offs at Yosemite Lodge within the park where, of course, you can connect to the Yosemite Shuttle bus which serves 21 stops within the National Park.
Outdoor pools with magnificent valley sunsets! The a la carte restaurant serves great meals too!
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