Located just outside the South Entrance of Yosemite National Park (www.nps.gov/yose), Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite (www.tenayalodge.com) has long been a favorite pick for park visitors. It’s especially popular with wheelchair-users and slow walkers, as this luxury property boasts a variety of accessible accommodations, including king rooms with a roll-in shower, king or double queen rooms with a tub/shower combination, and king cottages with a tub/shower combination. And thanks to the recent addition of five accessible Explorer Cabins and a custom-made accessible tour bus, this AAA four-diamond property is now more accessible than ever.
The Explorer Cabin Concept
Located a short drive away from the main lodge, the Explorer Cabins offer a bevy of creature comforts combined with the personalized services and perks of a full-service resort. Nestled in a sugar pine and incense cedar forest, the cabins exude a dual theme of exploration and community; as they inspire guests to explore Yosemite’s great outdoor areas, and then invite them to commune with their fellow travelers and share their adventures in the intimate public spaces dotted throughout the Explorer Cabin complex.
The cornerstone of the complex is the 1,800-square foot Explorer Clubhouse, an exclusive communal retreat with an expansive deck that offers a panoramic view of the surrounding forest. There’s accessible parking in front, with level access over to the clubhouse, and plenty of room to maneuver a wheelchair inside. Explorer Cabin guests check-in at the clubhouse, or just lounge by fire or grab a bottle of water before a hike.
A grab-and-go breakfast, which is included with the Explorer Cabins, is available in the Explorer Clubhouse each morning. Breakfast offerings include pastries, breakfast burritos, fruit and beverages. And don’t miss the wine and beer reception each evening. Top off your day with s’mores around one of the community fire pits — and don’t worry about bringing along the fixings as a s’more kit comes standard in all Explorer Cabins.
Another exclusive feature of the Explorer Cabins is the onsite Camp Host. This roving ambassador is available to offer sightseeing suggestions, book spa appointments or even offer tips for roasting the perfect marshmallow. Think of the Camp Host as a remote concierge — an ambassador of adventure that’s ready, willing and able to offer personal assistance to create a more memorable Yosemite visit.
Accessible Explorer Cabins
Wheelchair-users and slow walkers were not overlooked in the development of the Explorer Cabins either, as five of the 50 units were constructed to be wheelchair accessible. Cabin 9 — which is a premium accessible cabin — is a good choice for anybody with a mobility disability.
Accessible parking is located right next to the two-bedroom unit, with level access to the front door. Access features include wide doorways, lever handles, lower environmental controls, good pathway access and plank floors for easy rolling.
The living area is furnished with a 11-inch high sleeper sofa and an easy chair, which are nestled in front of a cozy gas fireplace. The adjacent kitchenette is equipped with a sink, a microwave, and a refrigerator. It also boasts counter seating with two bar stools. It’s the perfect place to whip up a quick snack.
The master bedroom is furnished with a 23-inch high queen-sized bed with wheelchair access on both sides, a chest of drawers and two night stands. There’s level access out to the roomy back deck, which offers a sweeping view of Big Creek, and is furnished with two Adirondack chairs. And even with the furniture, there’s still plenty of room for even the largest wheelchair or scooter on the deck.
The second bedroom is a bit smaller, and it’s also furnished with a 23-inch high queen-sized bed. There’s room enough for a manual wheelchair on one side, but this bedroom is really best suited for a slow walker.
The spacious bathroom features a full five-foot turning radius. It’s equipped with a roll-in shower with grab bars, a hand-held showerhead and a fold-down shower seat. Other access features include a roll-under sink with a lowered mirror, and toilet grab bars on the back and left walls (as seated).
The Explorer Cabins also come equipped with binoculars, a flashlight, walking sticks and two souvenir water bottles. Add in some creature comforts like Wi-Fi, television and even a Keurig coffee maker and you’ll be roughing it in grand style.
Cabin 42 is also an accessible premium cabin, and it has the same access features as cabin 9. Cabins 17, 24 and 34 are accessible deluxe cabins. They all have the exact same access features and furnishings as cabin 9; but the deluxe cabins have a porch off the living room instead of a private back deck. Either way, they’re all excellent choices for an accessible Yosemite getaway.
Explore Yosemite in Style
Also new in 2019, is the addition of a custom-made wheelchair-accessible tour bus to the Tioga Lodge fleet. And this isn’t your standard tour bus either. With a retractable glass roof, visitors get a full 360-degree view of all of Yosemite’s grandeur — even in inclement weather. And if you want to enjoy the wind in your hair, the driver can easily retract the glass roof for that real convertible feel.
The accessible tour bus features lift access with a set of wheelchair tie-downs; and wheelchair-users and slow walkers can opt to stay in their own wheelchairs or transfer to one of the comfortable bus seats. And you just can’t beat the convenience of a Tioga Lodge Tour, as you can dodge the traffic and parking woes, and still manage to see all of the major Yosemite Valley sites in one day. It’s the perfect choice if you have limited time in the park.
Tour offerings (www.tenayalodge.com/tours) include a full-day Yosemite Valley tour with stops at Mariposa Grove, Glacier Point, Tunnel View, Bridalveil Falls, Cook’s Meadows, Yosemite Falls, El Capitan Meadow and Valley View. The shorter half-day Yosemite Valley tours include the same stops, except for Mariposa Grove and Glacier Point. Seasonal sunset or star gazing Glacier Point tours are also available. And all tours include knowledgeable guides, so you’ll get the most out of your Yosemite visit. So book a Tioga Lodge tour on your next Yosemite visit, for a perfectly accessible seamless travel experience.