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Tuolumne Meadows Through a Horse’s Ears

Riding horses in Yosemite’s beautiful high country is always a special treat. Riding along the trails in the Tuolumne Meadows area gave me a different perspective of the country, viewing the country through my horse’s ears. My friends were staying in one of the horse campsites at Tuolumne Meadows and invited me to come up and ride with them. How could I say no to that fabulous invitation?

Where: Yosemite National Park
Distance: 12.65 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevational Range: 8,396′ – 8,747′
Date: August 20, 2018
Topographic Maps: Falls Ridge Topographic Map
Dog Hike? No

Meet my trusty steed for this day: Chotta.


We headed out through Tuolumne Meadows toward Glen Aulin. Chotta was happy to hang with his buddy Honey.

The trail led us across Unicorn Creek as a look toward the east revealed Lembert Dome.

We stopped for a drink of water along the way.

And another drink of water a little farther down the trail.

And we stopped for photo ops.

Me and Chotta (Photo by Debra Sutherland)

Photo by Debra Sutherland’s Camera

And we stopped to take in the view.

This view was from between Honey’s ears.

Photo by Debra Sutherland

The Tuolumne River was beautiful, with clear reflections.

We found a good lunch spot while the horses rested up in the shade of some trees. And of course, the horses also received some snacks. We headed back a different way in order to make a big loop, coming back along the stables and a whole herd of long eared distant relatives came out to say hello. They sure sounded funny to Chotta and Honey. I bet Chotta and Honey looked pretty funny to those mules because they were very interested in getting to know us better.

We crossed Tioga Road and walked by the Tuolumne Lodge area, across the Lyell Fork and back into the back side of the campground by the horse camp on teh trail. What a fun trip I had. I got to smell horse sweat and leather and see the Tuolumne Meadows area from a different perspective. I am very appreciative of this opportunity that my friends gave me.

Not all stock are well suited to riding the trails in and around Yosemite. Well broken, gentle and sure footed animals are needed for this type of ride. Overnight boarding facilities and other horse and mule trips are available from Yosemite Hospitality whose liveries are located within Yosemite National Park. Horse owners are responsible for making advance arrangements for overnight use and reservations are suggested for all services. Information may be obtained by calling Yosemite Hospitality at 209/372-4386, or by visiting Yosemite Hospitality‘s website.

Yosemite High Sierra Camps Pack & Saddle Trips are offered to visitors who’ve been awarded a reservation at the High Sierra Camp through the lottery.  Also, several commercial pack stations are authorized to provide certain services in Yosemite. If using trailheads within Yosemite, please use Yosemite Hospitality. If you are starting outside the park at a US Forest Service trailhead, contact the pack station in the appropriate area.

In the front country, privately owned stock may be kept overnight only in campgrounds with designated stock sites. Stock sites are available seasonally at Wawona Campground, Bridalveil Creek Campground, and Tuolumne Meadows Campground. Reservations are required. There is no stock camp in Yosemite Valley.

The Wawona and Bridalveil Creek horse camps have two sites each; the Tuolumne Meadows horse camp has four sites. Each site can accommodate up to six people and six head of stock. There is a limit of two vehicles and two stock trailers per parking area.

Dog Hike?

No, dogs not allowed in Yosemite National Park Wilderness.

Maps and Profile:

Tuolumne Meadow Horseback Doarama

Tuolumne Meadows by Horseback Topographic Map

Tuolumne Meadows by Horseback Profile

Prior Related Blogs in this Area:

Tuolumne Meadows to Boothe Lake by Horseback July 26, 2015

Tuolumne Meadow to Lower Gaylor Lake Horseback July 19, 2013


Horseback Riding at Yosemite National Park

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