When visiting the Tuolumne Meadows area of Yosemite National Park, there are two quick and easy attractions that most people choose to see, Soda Springs and Parson’s Memorial Lodge. These two spots are pieces of history in Yosemite and make for a great little hike in the area.
- 1.5 miles round trip
- Location: Leaves from Visitor Center or Lembert Dome parking area
After driving into Yosemite National Park’s east entrance (Tioga Pass) you will want to make your way to either the visitors center or the Lembert Dome parking area. This particular post is from the Lembert Dome area, but there is a nice easy trail from the visitors center as well.
History of Soda Springs
These puddles of carbonated water bubble up from underground, and while some of them are outside of the cabin, most are located directly inside. This is because John Baptist Lembert, the first settler here, decided to build a cabin right above it. It is believed that this area was a springhouse for him and not an actual residence though.
From the parking lot for Lembert Dome, you will want to continue down the road to the trail sign for Glen Aulin and Soda Springs.
From here the trail meanders through a meadow with epic views of Lembert Dome behind you. Keep your eyes peeled in the meadow as I saw two deer there when I went.
The trail continues over a small hill and into a shaded forest before you see the cabin in the distance.
As you reach the cabin, you will walk over a series of rocks that cross the red water stream to the cabin.
The cabin has no door and no roof, but you can peek your head into it and watch the water bubbling.
After taking some pictures, head over to Parson’s Memorial Lodge which is only 100 feet from Soda Springs.
Parson’s Memorial Lodge
The lodge, built in 1915 by the Sierra Club, is a functioning little museum now. The building itself was one of the first in the park built of stone, and the wood is taken from trees local to the area.
It is a lot of fun to go inside and see the exhibits they have set up which talk about the area’s unique history.
They also have a fireplace with chairs set up in the back, which looks like somewhere you would love spending a cold winter night.
The lodge was made a National Historic Landmark in 1987.
There is not much more to explore here, but you can walk around the outside and see a few of the other buildings as well.
After finishing the hike, head back the way you came. If you have some more time in the area, consider hiking up Lembert Dome as well, which is a short but tough hike in this area of the park. Let me know what you think in the comments.