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The Tuolumne Meadow(s) area of Yosemite National Park is quite different from the valley and Wawona. It's the high country, with an altitude of 8,500 at it's lowest point. Nearby Tioga Pass, the eastern gate of the park is at the 10,000 foot elevation and is the highest elevation you can attain by car. By comparison, the valley and Wawona areas are at the 4,000 foot elevation. It is quite a bit colder here, and weather patterns are different as well. It rains more in Tuolumne, as it is situated closer to the east slope of the Sierra Nevada. In years past the mosquitoes were worse, but that seems to have been lessened for some reason that has excaped me. Bear activity is much higher here. Bears are very active in the campground and all along the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River in the Lyell Canyon.

Tuolumne Meadow is just that; an enormous meadow, very beautiful, but even more so in the spring with the wild flowers. Highway 120 goes through the area, a paved road in very good condition.

There are very few services in Tuolumne, the basics, really. During the summer, which runs on average from mid-June to mid-September, there's a campground, small grocery store, grill, post office, small gas station open 24 hours (automated) and visitor center. There's also a year-round ranger station and seasonal High Sierra Camp with restaurant. It's the center of the universe for those embarking on long backpacking trips to Glenn Aulin, Vogelsang, and Donahue Pass along the John Muir Trail and Pacific Crest Trail. Although the Tioga Pass Road (as it is also called) is open from just before Memorial Day to well into October or November, services are available only during summer.

This is an area where you can find solitude very easily. With only a leisurely stroll north or south along the Tuolumne River, one can find a spot along the river bank and be very private. Swim, fish, or just sit and stare at the sky...

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