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The Wawona Meadow Loop Trail

In October, my husband and I took a six-day trip to Yosemite. I’ll cover the hikes we did in this series of blogs.

My husband and I began and ended our trip to Yosemite by hiking the 3.5 mile Wawona Meadow Loop Trail. If you are staying at the Wawona Hotel, this walk is a perfect way to say hello and goodbye to Yosemite. We hiked in the afternoon on our arrival day, and in the morning on the day we left.

The main building of the Wawona Hotel was built in 1879. The site was first established by Galen Clark in 1856.

The Wawona Golf Course

The Meadow Loop trailhead lies across the street from the Wawona at their 9-hole golf course. You take the path across the golf course (don’t go left toward the 1st tee like we did) and begin your hike at the fire road. Hardly anyone walks along this trail, so you will have much of it to yourself. If you live at sea level, like we do, it is a nice way to start getting used to Wawona’s elevation of 4200 feet.

The Wawona 9-hole golf course opened in 1918.

By the way, we only saw a handful of people using the golf course, but one morning I was excited to spot two coyotes on the green. I heard them yipping from my hotel room across the street and grabbed my binoculars to look. Their yips carry a long way!


Near the 1st tee of the Wawona Golf Course.

The Wawona Meadow

The hike is easy, with pretty views of the meadow and informative signs along the way. Before I saw the trail, I pictured a path encircling a gentle green meadow with flowers and butterflies–but that was just my storybook imagination! The actual meadow is full of brush, shrubs, trees, and some fallen logs. It is very pretty but much wilder looking than I imagined.

Looking across the Wawona meadow in the early morning.
They used to keep horses in this meadow up until the 1970’s. These are remnants of the old pasture fence.

We didn’t see any wildlife, except for some Northern Flickers (woodpecker-like birds), but we did see a fresh pile of bear poop! I’ll use the scientific term (scat) to describe it. The bear’s scat was a big pile of . . . and full of red berries. I was excited to see evidence of a bear but immediately starting calling out, “Hey bear, hey bear!” I did not want to actually run into a bear and this scat looked fresh! I wish I had taken a photo, but luckily for my readers, I did not.

I did take photos of some of the neat looking vegetation (I know the word “neat” is dated, but I still like it!).

A Black Oak Tree in its Autumn glory.
Unidentified, but isn’t it pretty?
I love the bark of this Incense-cedar.
This sign is worth reading.
This photo is stolen from the above sign.


After our last morning hike, we walked back across the street to the Wawona Hotel and had a great breakfast. Galen Clark built a homestead and way-station at this location in 1856. It was known as Clark’s Station. However, the Miwok tribe called the whole area Pallahchun, meaning “a good place to stop.” We found that the Wawona Hotel was indeed a good place to stop, and a great place to stay while exploring Yosemite.

Walking back to our room in the Annex building of the Wawona Hotel.

Stay tuned for one more blog in this Yosemite series about the Pioneer Yosemite History Center. My husband and I plan to return to Yosemite this winter, so please subscribe if you’d like to learn more about Yosemite in different seasons.

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