Tucked in among the spectacular trees, creeks, and trails of Sierra National Forest just three miles from the South Entrance of Yosemite National Park, Tenaya at Yosemite is a lovely getaway and Yosemite home base for couples, families, and multigenerational groups (and their dogs!). Five types of accommodations (including ADA cabins) and seemingly infinite activity options in both warm and cold seasons make Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite the place to stay on the south end of the park.
Things to Know About Tenaya at Yosemite
- Just three miles from Yosemite, guests can’t get much closer to the Mariposa Grove of the Great Sequoias. In winter, stop along the way at Goat Meadow Trailhead and Snow Play, a coveted sledding spot; and if you are looking for a little more adventure, Badger Pass Ski Area is about a 50-minute drive from Tenaya.
- The Lodge, with both guest rooms and suites, serves as a central meeting point for dining, swimming, relaxing by the lobby fireplace (which is under renovation as of Spring 2023). A short walk away, the Cottages and Explorer Cabins (built in 2019) offer an extra bit of privacy. All rooms have ultra-comfortable new mattresses.
- Year-round, activities abound at the lodge. There’s sledding and snowshoeing; indoor and outdoor swimming pools; a full-service spa; and a game room. Seasonally, there’s also ice skating (for a fee) and mountain biking (included in resort fee); “dive in movies” at the indoor pool, and archery.
- With its location not more than 20 minutes from the town of Oakhurst, Tenaya offers guests the benefit of being nestled in the trees while also having quick access to restaurants and a fabulous candy/ice cream shop. The Sugar Pine Railroad,Lewis Creek, and Bass Lake are all just a short drive away.
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- If you are keen to visit Yosemite Valley (over an hour’s drive) but prefer to let someone else take the wheel, Tenaya’s Yosemite 360 Tours allow you to book a day in the Valley, hassle-free, in a small van-style vehicle.
- Keen to bring your dog? Tenaya offers a pet package that includes a dog bed, dog-friendly trail guides, and even dog-sitting services.
What Families Need to Know
The central Lodge houses the restaurant, deli, gift shop, spa, gym, and indoor pool, so families might enjoy staying in one of the Lodge Rooms or Suites. All rooms have a Keurig and minifridge, and with or without a balcony, views are of the surrounding trees. “Extended” rooms and all suites offer a sitting area, some with pull-out couches.
The Cottages and Explorer Cabins offer more privacy and space, and are tucked in the forest; the Cottage area boasts a Pizzeria and easy access to the Gold Rush BBQ in summer and sledding hill in winter, while the Explorer Cabins offer creek views, an on-demand (free) shuttle to the lodge, and a Clubhouse. Cabins—at 850 square feet—might feel like a home away from home with a full fridge/freezer, kitchen sink and counter seating as well as a microwave (note: no oven or stove), so for those looking to do meals “at home”, these are a great option.
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With trails in several directions leading into Sierra National Forest, guests have easy access to beautiful vistas, waterfalls, and trails along the creek. Included in your resort fees are snowshoe/mountain bike rentals to make those journeys easier. There are both indoor and outdoor pools, joined by family locker rooms (with a nursing room for new moms) and a game room with air hockey, Namco games, skeeball, and foosball (to name a few).
In summer, families can rent poolside cabanas to settle in for the day, and the outdoor pool has an adjoining toddler splash park and snack bar. At designated times throughout the day, there are also opportunities to try out the climbing wall and archery range. In winter, s’more kits are a must for the many fire pits located around the property, and regular ice skating sessions (with requisite hot chocolate bar) paired with an evening dip in the indoor pool and hot tub will keep kids happy and cozy.
What Child-Free Families or Couples Need to Know
While it may seem that Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite is geared towards families, child-free families and couples will find plenty of joys here as well. First and foremost, the contemporary spa and garden suites are located on the adult-only floor near the spa and gym. Ascent, the Spa at Tenaya Lodge, offers a variety of massage and skincare offerings and hosts a sitting room, steam room, and sauna.
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Even guests without appointments can use the steam/sauna and take advantage of the useful touches such as razors, hair dryers, and lovely skin care products; this is a great option after a round of weights or a workout on the neighboring gym’s equipment, which includes Peleton, Mirror, elliptical, treadmill, bikes, rower, and weights.
Tenaya at Yosemite Reviews
Tenaya at Yosemite earns a rating of 4 out of 5 on TripAdvisor based on more than 6,200 reviews, 8.6 out of 10 on Hotels.com based on over 1,500 reviews, and 8.4 out of 10 on Booking.com based on around 1,800 reviews. Reviewers praise the kind staff, abundance of kid-friendly activities on property, and beautiful surroundings.
Important Details About Tenaya at Yosemite
Though just outside the South Entrance, Tenaya at Yosemite is a little over an hour by car to the Yosemite Valley (always worth the trip) and just under an hour to Badger Pass Ski Area. That said, Yosemite and its surroundings are worth the trip for more than just the valley, with seemingly infinite hiking trails, lakes, creeks, and waterfalls in all directions. Access Sierra National Forest land directly from the property, and take advantage of the short drive to Bass Lake and The Mariposa Grove of Great Sequoias.
Arriving at Tenaya, guests pull into the main lodge area. All amenities are located in this main Lodge area. The cottages are off to the right nestled a short walk away in the woods and the Explorer Cabins are on an adjoining property and need to be accessed by car or shuttle.
Lodge Rooms and Suites—including both king and queen rooms—are located in the Lodge proper on four floors. Cottages have both suites and rooms with several units per building. Explorer Cabins are free-standing structures built like small individual houses.
Your resort fee includes most activities onsite as well as a daily guided hike. You’ll pay extra for ice skating, electric bike rentals, tours of Yosemite Valley, and all meals.
The Parkside Deli, located just off the main lobby has both a coffee bar as well as snack, meal, dessert, and alcoholic offerings. Since it’s open most of the day, this is a great option for those looking for food on the go. In the non-peak winter weeks, this deli plus its neighboring restaurant, Jackalope’s Bar and Grill, are the only food service options on the property. During the holidays and peak periods, Timberloft Pizzeria may be open as well. In summer, there is a nightly Gold Rush BBQ, poolside snack bar, and Pizzeria.
Located on the quiet, adult-only floor, the spa area also hosts the Lodge gym. With a small store selling jewelry and skin care products, spa guests are greeted in a lovely and welcoming setting. The locker rooms are cozy and well-appointed, and have robes, slippers, and useful products.