Amongst all the scenic granite peaks and stunning lakes of Yosemite National Park are areas they call meadows. The two main meadows that can be found along the Tioga Road that crosses Yosemite from east to west are Tuolumne Meadows and Dana Meadows. Both meadows have numerous hiking trails that are interspersed with various forests, rivers, creeks and lakes.
Some people seem to just speed their way across the park on the Tioga Road without really stopping to take in the sights, others like me stopped and started all the way to enjoy the scenery and sometimes even watch rock climbers up on the steep faces of all those granite mountains (in some places it was so quiet you could hear the climbers talking to each other from way up high)! To get the best out of Yosemite though, you really need to leave the road and your car to simply go for a wander in the areas you stop to look at.
Tuolumne Meadows has an interesting walk out to a natural spring called Soda Springs and the historic Parsons Lodge a simple yet given it’s setting an impressive stone building that dates back to 1915. The lodge was used as rustic accommodation until 1973 by the Sierra Club (Americas oldest grassroots environmental organisation which was founded in 1892).
Nearby the Tuolumne River flows by and the vista is dominated by Lembert Dome and Pothole Dome (so-called because of the potholes formed on its surface). Once again Yosemite does not disappoint in providing wonderful views!
Dana Meadows is an open alpine area with river ways and creeks winding through it, flanked by alpine lakes, ponds, mountains and forests. This is one of the last areas in the park before you enter the Tioga pass and head for the high desert of Eastern California and Nevada. This opens up another world of sights to take in!