Best time to visit Yosemite

Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite

One of the biggest high-elevation meadows in the Sierra Nevada Mountains

Best time: June–October

Tuolumne Meadows
Tuolumne Meadows
Tuolumne Meadows
Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne Meadows is a large sub-alpine meadow area located in the eastern section of Yosemite National Park on the elevation of 8,619 ft (2,627 m). Water that goes through Tuolumne Meadows becomes the drinking water for San Francisco, via the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. The meadows are free of snow from late May or early June to some time in November. Thus, the best time to go is from June to October. Late spring and early summer also bring wildflower bloom including such rare species as Purple Webber lupin. In the winter, the Tioga road that provides access to the Meadows from Highway 120 is closed.

Tuolumne Meadows is popular among hikers and rock climbers since they provide excellent views of the Cathedral Range, Unicorn Peak, Lembert Dome, and Mount Dana. Many hiking trails begin or pass through Tuolumne Meadows, including those to Mount Lyell, The John Muir, and the Pacific Crest Trails. Hikers can also opt for easy one-day hikes to Gaylor Lakes, Lembert Dome, Cathedral Lakes, and Mono Pass. The easiest 1.5-mi (2.4-km) hike to Soda Springs and Parsons Lodge is just one-hour round-trip. Rock climbing is concentrated at Stately Pleasure Dome and Lembert Dome on the east side, as well as Daff Dome, and Medlicott Dome.

Yosemite park also provides Shuttle service in the Tuolumne Meadows that is usually available from approximately mid-June through mid-September.

Practical info

What is the best time to go to Tuolumne Meadows?

The meadows become snow-free from June to October, and that is the ideal time to visit Tuolumne Meadows. Late spring and early summer is the best time to catch the wildflower bloom, and there's excellent wildlife too. It's important to note that the road to the meadows, Tioga Road, is closed during winter, so plan accordingly. Show more

Where does Tuolumne Meadow water go?

The drinking water for San Francisco originates from Tuolumne Meadows, which feeds the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. It's detrimental to the ecosystem if visitors swim, use detergent or contaminate the water as it's principal to any cities in California. It's important that visitors take care of the environment while around the water. Show more

Which rare wildflowers are found in Tuolumne Meadows?

Tuolumne Meadows is abundant with wildflowers, including rare species like Purple Webber lupin, Red-banded polygala, Rosy pussytoes, and Dwarf willow. The best times to witness this amazing ecosystem is in late spring to early summer, during wildflower blooms. The site is a tourist attraction for people who are enthusiasts of plants and unique species. Show more

When does Tioga Road close?

Tioga road, the main way to enter Tuolumne Meadows, remains closed during the winter seasons. The road closes for most of the year but is often accessible from late May or early June and November. Visitors should confirm road closures and conditions before setting out on trips. Mid-June to mid-September is when shuttle service is available within the meadows. Show more

What hiking trails can I follow from Tuolumne Meadows?

Tuolumne Meadows is a hiker paradise, with an abundance of fantastic trail options to select from. A few of the day hikes that are popular include the Lembert Dome, Gaylor Lakes, Soda Springs, and Parsons Lodge, which are easy 1.5-mile hikes. Hikers seeking prolonged treks can try the Pacific Crest trail, The John Muir trail, or the Mount Lyell trail. Plan your trips wisely. Show more

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