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Yosemite today announced that the park will reopen again this coming Friday morning at 9 a.m. The smoky conditions and unhealthy air from the nearby Creek Fire have diminished somewhat – at least temporarily. Note that day-use and/or overnight reservations are still required for entry to the park from the www.recreation.gov website (which unfortunately, may not yet be updated.)
The arrival of fall is a perfect time to visit Yosemite’s high country. Historically, the Tioga Road and its access to this area will close for the winter sometime in November.
Adjacent to the Parsons Memorial Lodge in Tuolumne Meadows is Soda Springs, a natural, cold-water mineral spring bubbling from the ground. There remain remnants of a cabin built over the main portion of the spring, but a larger pool with reddish mineral deposits sits outside.
Drinking this spring water is not advised.
The hike to the springs (and Parsons Lodge) is about 1-1/2 miles round trip from the Tioga Road parking area, The trail is broad and flat, and is actually a section of both the Sierra High Route and the Pacific Crest Trail. For a more detailed trail description, please visit our friends at yosemitehikes.com.
Original inhabitants of this area were Native Americans. In 1885, Jean Baptiste Lembert (whom nearby Lembert Dome is named for) made a seasonal homestead here, and John McCauley used the area as a pasture for his livestock later in the century.
In 1915, the Sierra Club built the Parsons Memorial Lodge next door.