One of the most photographed regions of Yosemite, Tuolumne Meadows is a wide, grassy expanse bounded by high granite domes and peaks. At elevation 8,600 feet, pristine meadow extends for more than two miles along the Tuolumne River, making it the largest subalpine meadow in the Sierra Nevada. From its tranquil edges, hiking trails lead in all directions—to the alpine lakes set below the spires of Cathedral and Unicorn Peaks, to a series of roaring waterfalls on the Tuolumne River, and to the summits of lofty granite domes with commanding vistas of the high country.
While Tuolumne (too-ALL-uh-me) is the cornerstone of a vast playground for hikers, rafters, and backpackers, it’s also a great spot for visitors who simply want to take in the scenery. The meadow’s small visitor center, housed in a historic cabin, features exhibits that focus on the area's geology, wildflowers, and wildlife.
Want to picnic? In summer, visit the highest elevation convenience shop in the state: the remarkable Tuolumne Meadows Store, with groceries, bug repellent, clothing items, maps, and guidebooks housed in a seasonal canvas tent. Under the same tent is the Tuolumne Meadows Grill, serving hearty breakfasts and lunches, including unforgettable buckwheat pancakes. Ice cream cones are big sellers on warm afternoons.
Nearby, the Tuolumne Meadows Lodge offers tent-style overnight accommodations and sit-down meals, and Tuolumne Meadows Campground has more than 300 campsites, half of which are reservable and the other half available on a first-come, first-serve basis from approximately July through late September.