Explore the most popular camping trails near Tuolumne Meadows with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
2 days ago

This is a strenuous one day hike. The first ascension is the most difficult. The view of Half Dome and the Yosemite valley from Clouds Rest is breath taking. The trail goes through a variety of landscapes. Part of the John Muir trail was burnt in a wild fire but it's still interesting to see how resilient mother nature is. There are some streams to get fresh water along the way. The temperatures in October are already pretty cool, especially when it’s windy. Make sure to pack up extra layers.

the scenery is great but the trail is basically soft sand the entire way and littered with horse shit. the campground area is a nice place to have lunch and spend some time but gets very busy so get there early or late if you plan on staying the night.

Great Long trail! There’s a clear path for the most part. There are laid out rocks when not clear. We were in pursuit of the Tuolumne Waterfall but it’s a simple stream running down creating many mini waterfalls.

Only spent one day backpacking out here but wish we could’ve spent more. Absolutely beautiful trail with delightful surprises with new views as you make your way to camp. Definitely want to do this again with more days because from Glen Aulin, there’s other falls 3-5 miles out that I heard are gorgeous!

I spent 6 days hiking the Yosemite High Sierras and stayed one night in each of the 6 tent camps and the best photo I have of the quintessential Yosemite view was taken from the bridge going over the Tuolomne River just before coming into the Glen Aulin High Sierra camp.

Absolutely stunning. Perfect first backpacking trip with plenty of water along the way.

Got eaten by mosquitoes. Bring bug spray. Footbridge to the campsite is down, had to go upstream to wade through the Creek or walk across a fallen tree (not Tuolumne River but Conness Creek). The creek crossing wasn’t bad, but care must be taken.

Challenging hike through melting snow up and off the pass in August. Great camping spots a few miles below the pass. Top of the pass offers some spectacular views.

Beautiful Northern California hiking. Relatively easy until you hit the switchbacks

backpacking
Friday, October 13, 2017

Gorgeous hike, though after schlepping our heavy backpacks for 6 miles had a hard time crossing the little river hopping from rock to rock. It was slippery and my daughter got her foot wet right before sunset and her shoes was frozen the next morning. The waterfall there is beautiful, it's a stunning place. Be forewarned that only 3 official fire rings are open for use among over 25 camp sites, so if you grab a fire pit, please invite others to join you as it's getting colder at night.

way better than i expected... moderately flat until the last 2 miles then you switchback down beside some impressive waterfalls... still alot of water as of 8/12/17... this is also the PCT... i saw maybe 150 folks along the way on a Saturday... trailhead parking scared me... i thought there could easily be a thousand with that many cars

First day I ever backpacked was on this trail. Beautiful hike of the meadows and not too challenging to get to Glen Aulin from TM

absolutely great views and very peaceful. I have hiked this a few times and love it more and more every time I do.

Beautiful hike. I did this in July-- beautiful weather and lots of wildflowers out still because of the higher elevation.

Absolutely stunning!

So amazing!
We completed this in late September and had great weather, plenty of water, lots of wildlife (no bear). Donohue Pass was challenging with gale force winds and rain at the top.
The day after we finished in October it snowed, so glad Mother Nature waited

A great way to experience Yosemite NP without the crowds!

From Tuolumne Meadows, this hike is mostly downhill and passes Glen Aulin, following the Tuolumne River past Waterwheel Falls. You'll also get an amazing view of Hetch Hetchy reservoir from the high ground above the river inlet where peregrine falcon nest on the cliffs below.

As a three day hike, you'll have plenty of time to experience the various waterfalls and swim in some natural pools. Though most of the trail is downhill, the exit to White Wolf has a small uphill climb. You can also stretch this hike over to Yosemite Falls and back into the valley!

Anything but moderate from Tuolumne, southbound to Donohue Pass. Nasty.

Oh my!

Monday, July 27, 2015

It was beautiful. However, after the waterfall it wasn't so easy. We saw deer and a coyote. Recommend using walking poles to hike. Be careful wali g the boulders, the trail is not marked really well.

Hiked from Sonora Pass, heading south along the PCT. Went about 8 miles in on a day hike. Absolutely beautiful on a clear day. Overall the trail is well maintained, I had to hike through a half dozen snowy patches in late June, but the snowfall was light this year. There is a bit of elevation loss and gain, but because you start at 9600 feet at Sonora Pass, it isn't bad. There is also a quick side trail to get to the top of Leavitt Peak, which at close to 11,600 ft is the highest peak in the Sonora Pass area as far as I know. On a clear day the view from the summit is great. If you are looking for an incredible hike in the Sonora Pass area, this shouldn't be missed. I can't wait to hike the full segment someday.

Glen Aulin is a great place to visit. The hike there from Tuolomne is beautiful and relatively easy. You can do some great day hikes out of GA and you can book dining reservations at the High Sierra camp for a reasonable sum.
If you spend the night camping out, be sure to walk through the campground and up the hill to the sites on the bench overlooking a creek - they re much nicer than the damp dark and crowded sites near the sierra camp.

Glen Aulin, in recent years nicknamed "Glen All Men" due to a coincidentally all male staff, is a wonderful hike and is fairly easy. The trail itself runs parallel to the Tuolumne River and goes downhill towards the Grand Canyon of Yosemite, taking you through a meadow and lots of granite. Water is not an issue for this hike for once since you are usually within earshot of the river. When you reach the high sierra camp you get your own waterfall and swimming hole, along with some great lookouts for sunset. The way back up to the trail head is not bad; you are going uphill but it is a lot more gradual compared to a lot hikes in Yosemite Valley. If you stop by the high sierra camp, or any high sierra camp actually, bring the employees some whiskey- they will adore you ;P

Great hike!

This was an amazing hike! Definitely in my top 5, along with the hike in to Glen Aulin. Many people miss this hike because they are just hiking from one high sierra camp to the next. This is a must!!! It was all downhill to Waterwheel Falls, which made the way back all uphill. The best part of the hike was to California Falls (not too downhill). These falls were amazing! I probably stayed at these falls too long which made me tired for the rest of the hike. Le Conte falls and Waterwheel were awesome but I was pretty tired at this point, and somewhat stumbling. Waterwheel was cool but it was a low water day and the "wheel" wasn't as huge as it could have been. It was an awesome hike, I'd like to do it again when I wasn't so tired. I stopped at the top of Waterwheel and rock scrambled for good pics. To get to the bottom of Waterwheel you have to go down some good switchbacks. I really wanted to, but was too tired. I definitely need to another time. I met a few back packers that planned on camping at Waterwheel or before then. One guy was coming up from White Wolf headed to Tuolumne, that would be all up hill.

In Tuolumne Meadows we turned on the road to Lembert Dome from Tioga Pass, we parked where the road ends at a trail head and starts up to the stables. There were plenty of spaces at 745am. We then had to walk half a mile or so to the Tuolumne Meadows store/grill. We got breakfast there (it was way cheaper then White Wolf). We all got the kids breakfast: one buckwheat pancake, 1 egg, 1 bacon/sausage. It was quite good, the pancake was filling. The grill opened at 8am. We then walked back to the car, loaded our packs, made sure there was no food/drink/trash in my car and headed out on the trail.
We started at 1000am and I arrived at 2pm. I stopped for pictures often and went a leisurely pace. My parents hiked together behind me and I saw them at many of the stops I made, including lunch. It took 6.24 miles instead of 5.4 because I took many off shoot trails for good pics. It was an amazing hike in, it was flat at first to downhill the whole time. First you pass by Soda Springs and Parsons Lodge, which is owned by the Sierra Club (I did not stop). Then I passed the trail from the stables which said it was only 0.9 miles away, if true, then it would have been shorter than the way we came in… I ate lunch with my parents at Midpoint Meadow. We hiked along the Tuolumne River the whole time, passing Footbridge Falls, unnamed falls, and Tuolumne Falls. It was gorgeous. Then the last mile and a half is quite downhill, you pass the McGee Lake trail and see White Cascade which the camp is set next to, pass 2 bridges and come into camp. Glen Aulin has 8 tent cabins with 4 beds each (32 people max) with a office/eating area, a womens/mens wash area with 2 sinks, 2 mirrors, and a shower for employees only, and toilet facility with 4 toilets. Andrew, the manager for 10 years, said I was the first to arrive, my parents were not far behind me, 20 minutes. He gave me a free piece of cobbler cake from last night and they always have lemonade throughout the day (back packers have to pay for all this). We had 4 hours till dinner so we unloaded our stuff in the tent cabin. It was the same layout except there were no sheets, so I slept in my sleeping bag while there. White Cascade is a super loud waterfall right in camp, its awesome. The weather the whole time was overcast and cold, it rained the second day. The dinners were amazing!! We had turkey the first night, chicken the second night, and pasta with meatballs the third. At dinner they always had delicious soup, salad, homemade bread (to die for!), entree with veggies, and a fantastic dessert!! At half an hour before dinner (630pm) they served hot drinks - an assortment of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and soy milk. The first night there was a ranger there leading a group of 16 on the whole high sierra loop (7 nights, 5 camps). Glen Aulin was their first stop, they took over the camp. But the people were very nice to talk to. After dinner the ranger did a geology presentation by the camp fire, including a song a two. The ranger was put in our tent because we had an open fourth bed. She was a bit strict, and controlling but nice. She decided we would not have a fire in our stove that night. :( The next morning (our first full day there) there were hot drinks again before breakfast and I loved making mochas. Breakfast was fantastic, buckwheat pancakes, cream of wheat with toppings, eggs, fruit, and sausages. It was too delicious. We headed out for the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne Hike. On the third day I hiked off trail to Pluto Dome, then went to McGee Lake, then met my parents at the bottom of the White Cascade falls out of camp. On the fourth day, we headed out at 930am and I got to the car at noon. My parents didn't arrive until 230pm. I went too fast. 200 yards before my car I twisted on ankle then the next immediately and fell into the dirt! I was quite surprised, there was no reason to fall but I think my ankles had had it. It was stupid of me to go fast. So I limped to the car, unpacked my stuff, iced my feet and calves in the Tuolumne river while I waited for my parents. There was cell phone coverage in Tuolumne which was nice. When they got back we drove to the Tuolumne Store/Grill and had lunch. We all ordered hamburgers, I also got fries and a frosty. The hamburgers sucked - they were cold, cheese wasn't melted, and had no taste. The fries were okay and the frosty was good. On the way home we decided not to stop at Keough's Hot Springs as we had planned because we already we're going to get to my parents at 830pm.

I also went from Tuolumne Meadows to Glen Aulin Camp. It was a relatively easy hike since it was mostly flat and downhill. Getting back to the car was more difficult but worthwhile either way. You follow the river and as you get closer to Glen Aulin there are small waterfalls along the trail.

Freaking love Glen Aulin. Make the trip out to Waterwheel Falls; totally worth it. Well-maintained trail, although it is also a horse trail, which means a lot of poo.

First of all I did not hike on the Glen Aulin Trail for about 80% of the time. I hiked on the along the South side of the Tuolumne River. The Glen Aulin trail or AKA WaterWheel Falls Trail according to my gps, is on the North side of Tuolumne River. Nevertheless, even though the map did not show any trails on the south side of the river, there is a trail to follow. We did a short day hike. Parked at the southwest corner of the Tuolumne Meadows, next to Pothole Dome (saved a couple miles instead of starting at the northeast of the meadows as everyone else). The trail was easy and I recommend bringing a camera. There are parts when the trail disappears along the river when the ground turns into granite rock. Just follow the river and you'll be fine. There are several waterfalls to view. The main trail (the one everyone uses) does cross the Tuolumne River near the Campground. Its a beautiful trip. I'd say its easy, just make sure you have sure footing of the granite.

On the way back at dusk hiking through a smaller meadow West of Tuolumne Meadows we saw many deer grazing in the meadows. Roughly counted 40 deer in 1 hour. Simply beautiful.

I've thought about if I'd hike the entire trail from the parking lot at the east side of the meadows or if i would hike the same trail. My conclusion....hike from the same spot. I'll save a couple of miles since I start at the far west end of Tuolumne Meadows. Therefore, I can hike further past Glen Aulin next time. We only saw 1 other person till we connected with the main trail at the bridge crossing. While many other people were on the other side of the river.

A special note...
At the time of this hike I used my Iphone 4S as a GPS device using NeoTreksGPS app. I had no Sprint service. I noticed and was surprised when my Iphone was able to locate me WITHOUT the use of my Dual XGPS150 GPS connection. I know the Iphone has Assisted GPS tech. So I used the Iphone's internal gps the entire trek and it worked wonderfully. Very surprised it worked so great especially since I was way out of my cell coverage. Yes, I did bring a portable battery charger for my Iphone since the battery drains quickly with no service.

This is a nice, fairly flat hike most of the way. There are numerous cascades and small waterfalls along the way, and Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp is a great place to spend the night, especially in the backpacker area. The trail really gets great as you go past Glen Aulin and start descending into the Tuolumne River valley. I think that will be my next lengthy excursion in Yosemite: to make the hike all the way from Tuolumne Meadows down to Hetch Hetchy, along the river.

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