Spring and summer are the best times to visit areas in Yosemite National Park outside the main valley. If you have more than a day in the park I recommend heading along the Tioga Pass Road to Tuolumme Meadows. The views along the drive are magnificent. If you’re early in the season there will still be snow on the ground in some places and the peaks will shimmer in the bright light. Make sure to stop often, look out and breathe in the cool air.
Swimming in Tenaya Lake late afternoon Yosemite by Jono Hey. Licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic. Dimensions altered.
One stop not to miss is Tenaya Lake. If you’re lucky and it’s a hot day (or brave on a cold day) you can have a refreshing swim in the water. Especially wonderful after a long hike.
Once you finish your drive, Tuolumme meadows at the end is a beautiful sight. Freshly blooming and green in spring, the vast meadow makes for easy hiking. With the Tuolumme River flowing fast between the meadows you can enjoy the relaxing sounds of water in the quiet landscape.
While you’re there, the short hike across the meadow to the Soda Springs is worth a quick look. The cabin has historical value but the springs are modest and no competition for Yellowstone.
A wonderful way to get a good view out across the meadow and the surrounding peaks is to climb up Lembert Dome. You don’t need special skills or equipment, just be careful where you put your feet and don’t climb in the rain. If you have longer to explore the area add on a short hike out to Dog Lake as well.
I hope you enjoy your first trip to Tuolumme Meadows.