Soda Springs is an easy, quick and scenic hike at Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park. Just a one-mile round trip on flat ground, it ends at a fascinating spring where cold, carbonated water bubbles out of the ground.
My sister and I hiked to Soda Springs during a recent trip to Yosemite and decided to check it out based on the recommendation of a park ranger who lives in Tuolumne Meadows. (She also recommended hiking to Lembert Dome, which we did as well.)
Tip: Tuolumne Meadows is at an elevation of 8,000 feet above sea level. It’s important to stay hydrated at higher altitudes so be sure to bring enough water with you!)
We parked our car along Tioga Road close to the Lembert Dome Parking area (you can see a map here) and made our way to the trailhead to begin our leisurely walk.
We were told that we could complete the hike in about 30 minutes because it was pretty short and easy, but we ended up there for maybe an hour or so because we couldn’t resist admiring the scenery. It reminded us a lot of the background image options that come with computers, except being out in the meadows was 100 times better.
The trail was short, but we got slightly lost along the way. Although there was a sign telling us where to go, we missed the second one and wound up going a little off track for a few minutes. If you find yourself walking alongside the river, you’ve gone in the wrong direction. When you reach the sign, it’ll say to go to the left. But keep an eye out for a narrow path with a slight incline lined with rocks that goes toward a building.
From the top of the slight incline, Soda Springs will be just a few minutes away, right behind the log enclosure.
To be entirely honest, we enjoyed the scenery along this hike more than the endpoint, but Soda Springs is still a cool sight to see. The info board near the spring says that the small, carbonated mineral springs are a mystery that geologists can’t explain. It also explained that both animals and people have visited Soda Springs for thousands of years, that deer and birds get the minerals they need from here. But an enclosure was built around the spring to shield it from grazing animals.
People have been able to drink from Soda Springs as well, but it’s possible that animals and people have contaminated the water. (The info board also includes a photo of visitors to Soda Springs in 1872 – pretty cool!)
Facing the enclosure, you can get back to the trailhead by going back the same way you get there – going to the right – or you can loop around by walking to the left. We opted to do the latter just to take a different way back and see other views.
If you find yourself in Tuolumne Meadows with a limited amount of time or are just looking for a leisurely hike where you can immerse yourself in incredible, scenic views, Soda Springs is a must!
For more information on Soda Srpings and other day hikes in Tuolumne Meadows, click here.