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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

The Yosemite Lodge

I struggled with where to stay when it came to booking my hotel for my visit to Yosemite National Park. On one hand, I could save a good chunk of change by staying outside of the park, but then I would have a long drive in and out each day of up to an hour. On the other hand, I could stay in the heart of the park at the Yosemite Lodge, but I would also pay for that convenient beauty with a big hit to my wallet. When I walked out of my room on my first morning, I knew I had made the right decision.
The stunning panorama slapped me hard across the cheek when I passed through the first tunnel on the Big Oak Flat Road on my way to the Yosemite Valley. I had seen some amazing views in my life before, but I was not prepared for this one as I descended into the valley and my room at the Yosemite Lodge. Blanketed in low-lying clouds, my first glimpse of the Yosemite Valley was simply stunning, rightfully earning its place amongst places like Antarctica and New Zealand.

A giddy excitement came over me as I drove through the valley and checked into the lodge. I now understood why close to four million people visit the park annually. And I was going to be staying in its heart in the Willow building (above) at the Yosemite Lodge.

The lodge is located a short walk from the stunning Yosemite Falls, a highlight for many visitors to the national park that I’ll discuss in another story. For now, it held me in awe. I wanted to unpack my car and get settled into my room, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the falls. They were spectacular and almost inspiring enough for me to do something incredibly stupid the next day. But, for now, they were a dream that would transfix me through dinner.

After getting settled into my room I wandered over to the restaurant area of the lodge grounds. Three different restaurants – a cafeteria, a fine dining restaurant, and a bar – are situated in a half-moon position around the lodge’s main reception building. I ate at all three of them during my stay and found all of them quite enjoyable despite the price. But, when staying in the heart of a national park, higher prices are to be expected. And albeit a relatively simple meal, I wasn’t going to scoff over it while enjoying a fantasticly prepared pork chop and baked potato.

Darkness covered the valley quickly that night, so I spent the remaining hours of my day relaxing in my room preparing for a lot of hiking the next day. My room at the Yosemite Lodge was simply decorated with two queen beds, an old tube television with a refrigerator in the cabinet below it, and a small table. There was also a huge amount of storage space available for those checking in for an extended stay, a nice patio with chairs for relaxing after a long day exploring the park, and a bazillion other conveniences and amenities – like a pool, laundromat and a post office – within a very short walk from my front door.

I slept peacefully and comfortably that night in my room. The beds were good enough and the contentment I felt in knowing what I would enjoy while hiking the next day helped me drift off to a restful night. Waking up early the next morning I felt ready for the day and the hikes I had planned. I hurriedly got ready, packed a few necessities for the hike, and threw open my door to the day.

It was then that I knew I made the right choice on where to stay. Despite a nice night in my room, an excellent meal followed by beers in the bar, I was still grumbling a little over the price of my room. But, when I opened my door to find a small herd of deer feeding, momentarily startling one, I knew I was where I wanted to be. The Yosemite Lodge was worth the extra expense for both convenience and beauty.

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  1. Yosemite National Park | MowryJournal.com - August 18, 2014

    […] For a review of The Yosemite Lodge – a hotel at the base of Yosemite Falls – here’s a review from Jason’s Travels. […]

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