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Situated in California's vast Sierra Nevada Mountains is Yosemite, one of the most visited national parks in the country, and with good reason.
Within its 1,200 square miles are famous waterfalls, wetlands, rolling meadows, ancient giant sequoias, vast valleys and some of the most iconic rock formations in the world.
When it comes to planning a trip, lodging is important as there aren't too many options within the park itself. Located in the southern heart of the Sierras is Tenaya Lodge, just two miles away from the south entrance of Yosemite along Highway 41. It's located 3.5 hours from the San Francisco Bay Area, and 4.5 hours from the Greater Los Angeles area.
Situated at an elevation of over 5,000 feet, Tenaya Lodge offers guests gorgeous views of the surrounding Sierras. The property features 352 guest rooms and suites, including charming Cottage Rooms that each include three separate guest room units. And for those looking for a more secluded experience, the property recently built 50 Explorer Cabins, which opened in 2019. These stand-alone, two-bedroom cabins are modern, rustic and immersed in nature, while still having access to all the amenities of the lodge. Each cozy cabin has its own fireplace; kitchenette; living room and private deck looking out toward nature.
The sprawling property features countless firepits; indoor and outdoor pools; saunas and hot tubs; and a 10,000 square-foot LEED Silver Certified Ascent Spa. Tenaya Lodge also offers its guests on-site activities that include guided hikes, a rock climbing wall, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, stargazing and more, depending on the season. Also on property is a gorgeous nearly four-mile trail, which cuts through the forest and ends in the stunning Tenaya Falls.
In addition, in addition, Tenaya Lodge offers four dining options that include Jackalopes Bar and Grill for breakfast, lunch and dinner offering a menu of locally grown, sustainable and organic menu items; Timberloft Pizzeria, a seasonal pizzeria serving brick oven-pizzas, pastas and Italian fare; Gold Rush Barbeque which serves bbq classics, s'mores and live music; and Parkside Deli, a grab-and-go spot with gourmet foods.
Guests can explore Yosemite National Park on their own, or opt for a guided Yosemite 360 Bus Tour on one of an all-new fleet of buses that are open to both resort guests and non-guests. It's good to note that those on the tour don't need a park reservation to participate. It's a great way to see most of the park without the strenuous hiking, navigating crowds or tedious driving. The guides are primarily locals and are extremely knowledgeable of the park, its history and the best vantage points and views to see.
Highlights of the park include Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias; Tunnel View with its unobstructed views of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome and El Capitan; the epic Glacier Point and its view of the High Sierra; Half Dome and El Capitan, the two absolute must-sees of the park; the gushing Yosemite Falls; rolling Tuolumne Meadows and the winding Tuolumne River and so much more.
In the nearby town of Oakhurst, also known as the Gateway to Yosemite, visitors can spend some time away from the vast nature of the park. Attractions include Yosemite Axe Throwing Adventures, the only company in the world that uses 100% deceased trees as targets; and the nearby Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad, a historic three-foot narrow gauge railroad with two operating steam train locomotives located nearby.
To get around town, hop on the new Oakhurst Trolley, which offers free rides around town. When hunger hits, stop by South Gate Brewing Company, a popular restaurant that's known for handcrafted, small-batch brews and menus featuring local sourced ingredients. And or those with a sweet tooth, Reimers Candies is an old-world sweet shop with the best ice cream, in-house made chocolates, candies and more.
Chelsea is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco whose passion revolves around exploring the world, immersing herself...
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