Yosemite Hikes » Yosemite Lodging » Buck Meadows

Buck Meadows, California

entrance to Buck Meadows, California

Location:  13 miles (21 km) from Yosemite entrance; 30 miles (48 km) from Yosemite Valley; via Highway 120 (map)

Population 50; Elevation 3,000 feet (915 meters)

Location:  13 miles (21 km) from Yosemite entrance; 30 miles (48 km) from Yosemite Valley; via Highway 120 (map)

Population 50; Elevation 3,000 feet (915 meters)

Buck Meadows, like imaginary numbers and unicorns, is as much an idea as a tangible part of the universe, lacking a zip code, stoplights, or even a reduced speed limit. Downtown Buck Meadows has a shorter yellow pages listing than your neighborhood mini-mall. Still, it's there (see the above photo for proof), and it's a useful construct. As you pass through Buck Meadows on Highway 120, you'll only spot the America's Best Value Inn and the Yosemite Ridge Resort, but it turns out that several more inns and resorts lie scattered among the trees in the area, from intimate owner-run bed & breakfasts to gigantic RV parks with hundreds of sites. See the hotels section below for a full inventory.

Shopping & Gas:  There's a small convenience store and gas station (including diesel) at the Yosemite Ridge Resort. There's another at the turnoff to the Yosemite Lakes Resort, but it closes early. The Evergreen Lodge has a restaurant and convenience store.

ATM Machines:  At the Yosemite Ridge Resort convenience store and at the Evergreen Lodge.

Local Attractions:  The Rainbow Pool is a popular swimming hole. It's 3 miles (5 km) east of Buck Meadows; the signed turnoff is on Highway 120 just west of a bridge over the Tuolumne River.

The Strawberry Music Festival, a three-day bluegrass-and-beyond concert series that takes place over Memorial & Labor Day weekends, is held at nearby Camp Mather. It attracts some well known artists (recent headliners include Patty Griffin and Keb'Mo') and generally sells out, so getting tickets ahead of time is advisable. Your closest lodging options are the Evergreen Lodge (half a mile away) and the Dimond O Campground (1.5 miles away). The Evergreen recommends reservations three months ahead for the Strawberry Festival weekends.

After Hours Entertainment:  Plan on bringing a good book.

Cell Phone Reception:  You may have luck with Verizon, but otherwise, don't count on reception.

Pro:  Peace and quiet. There are more people in any given Yosemite campground than there are residents of Buck Meadows.

Con:  Contrary to its name, there are no meadows in sight here. This is clearly a failure of imagination. If you're going to name your city after something that's not there, why settle for a meadow, which lots of other places have plainly already got? Why not call it "Buck Rogers' Bloody Crash Landing Site" or "Buck Naked Mermaids From the Watery Deep?" These are the names of places I would make a point of visiting. This error is probably why Buck Meadows remains such a modest size after so many years.

Lodging Quick Summary

Closest to Yosemite:  The Sunset Inn is 2 miles (3.5 km) outside the Highway 120 entrance, and the Evergreen Lodge is 1.5 miles (2.5 km) from the Hetch Hetchy entrance.

Best Reviews:  The Blackberry Inn and the Sunset Inn both get consistently high marks on TripAdvisor (see the reviews links below).

Conventional Hotel Rooms:  At the America's Best Value Inn and the Yosemite Riverside Inn.

Cabins:  Available at the Evergreen Lodge, the Sunset Inn, and the Yosemite Ridge Resort. The Yosemite Riverside Inn deals primarily in conventional hotel rooms but also has two cabins. The Yosemite Lakes Resort has cabins, but they lack bathrooms.

RV Sites:  At the Yosemite Lakes Resort and the Yosemite Ridge Resort.

Buck Meadows Hotels & Lodging

America's Best Value Inn/Yosemite Westgate Lodge

7633 Highway 120 · (800) 253-9673 · Map · Street View · Reviews · Website · $100 - $359*

45 guest rooms; 13 miles (21 km) from Yosemite entrance; pool & spa, playground, and coin-op laundry onsite; restaurant next door; summer weekend rates $199 - $359/night**

Blackberry Inn Bed & Breakfast

7567 Hamilton Station Loop · (888) 867-5001 · Map · Reviews · Website · $220 - $305

10-bedroom bed & breakfast; 13 miles (21 km) from Yosemite entrance; one ADA-qualified room available; $220 - $305 for double occupancy (see rates page)

Evergreen Lodge

33160 Evergreen Road · (209) 376-2606 · Street View · Map · Reviews · Website · $115 - $1,350

83 cabins, 15 tents, and a 2,500-square-foot house; 1.5 miles (2.5 km) from Yosemite's Hetchy Hetchy entrance, and 8 miles (13 km) from the Big Oak Flat entrance; restaurant, tavern, and store onsite; massage, yoga, and variety of guided activities; rates from $115 - 1,350 (see rates page)

Lillaskog Lodge

27557 Packard Canyon Road · (209) 962-1818 · Map · Website · $1,100

5,000-square-foot, 6-bedroom, 7-bath cabin; 13 miles (21 km) from Yosemite entrance; satellite TV, wireless Internet; main floor (including 2 bedrooms) ADA-compliant; $1,100/night (see rates page)

Stanislaus National Forest Campgrounds

The forest service maintains nine campgrounds along the Highway 120 corridor between Groveland and Yosemite, ranging from 7 - 35 miles outside the park, with prices from $0 - $90. All have pit toilets, most have potable water, and none have showers.

Sunset Inn Yosemite Cabins

33569 Hardin Flat Road · (888) 962-4360 · Map · Reviews · Website · $295 - $440

1 historic cabin on a 2-acre site surrounded by national forest, 2 more nearby; $295 - $440 (see rates page)

Yosemite Lakes Resort

31191 Hardin Flat Road · (800) 533-1001 · Map · Reviews · Website · $40 - $330*

Yurts, cabins with and without bathrooms, hostel rooms, RV sites, tent sites; 6 miles (10 km) from Yosemite entrance

Yosemite Ridge Resort

7589 Highway 120 · (800) 706-3009 · Map · Street View · Reviews · Website · $40 - $225

Cabins and RV sites; 13 miles (21 km) from Yosemite entrance; cabins sleep 2 - 6; RV sites have full hookups; satellite TV in all cabins; coin-op laundry onsite; pets allowed at RV sites; barbecue and picnic table outside each cabin; summer RV sites $60, cabin rates $135 - $225 (see rates page)

Yosemite Riverside Inn

11399 Cherry Lake Road · (800) 626-7408 · Map · Reviews · Website · $99 - $275

19 hotel rooms and 2 cabins; 11 miles (18 km) from Yosemite entrance; bordered by the San Jose summer camp and national forest; Tuolumne River runs through the property; 2,700 feet (820 meters) elevation; $99 - $275 (see rates page)

* Asterisked hotels don't list rates on their websites, so rate ranges were obtained by haranguing hotel employees or checking a variety of dates in their reservation systems. Since they generally don't bother to inform yosemitehikes.com when they change their rates and calling them or checking their reservation sites every day would be intolerably boring, there's a chance that they've changed, so you'd need to check with the hotel to make sure that these rates are still accurate. Also, listed rates generally do not include taxes.
** Summer weekend rates are per-night rates for a two-night (Friday/Saturday) stay Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends, double occupancy.