Charlie Russell Nature Photography

Yosemite Flowers: White Wolf

White Wolf is a campground and lodge in Yosemite National Park, just off of the Tioga Pass road. There is a meadow next to the lodge, and if you can time it right there is a wonderful display of wildflowers. This isn’t a “hike”, since you can park right next to the meadow, but if you are driving up Tioga Road it is well worth your time.

Meadow at White Wolf
Meadow at White Wolf

We visited this area in early August of 2011. Since it is about a mile off to the side of Tioga Road we weren’t planning on stopping, but I’m glad we did. What a wonderful meadow!

Note: Click on any photograph to see a larger image.

The Hike

OK, so it isn’t a hike. The road to the lodge runs right through the meadow. There are several small paths around the main meadow (and through some of the smaller ones by the campground). There ARE some hikes that lead away from White Wolf, but these aren’t short day hikes and we didn’t take any of them. To be honest, we weren’t planning on stopping here on this trip, we had some extra time and thought we’d take a look. What a pleasant surprise!

Timing is Everything

The timing of flowers in the Yosemite area is highly dependent on the amount of snow in the prior Winter, as well as how warm (or wet) it is in the late Spring. This year (2011)  was a heavy snow year and a relatively wet Spring, so everything was delayed by at least several weeks. We visited this area in early August, and the White Wolf area hadn’t been open for very long. If you are planning on visiting early in the summer you should check to see if the road is open.


White Wolf is 1 mile off of Tioga Road (Highway 120). The junction is about 14.5 miles to the east of Crane Flat, which is close to the Big Oak Flat entrance to Yosemite National Park. This side road ends at the White Wolf Lodge and campground, and you can’t miss the meadows.


Click following button or element on the map to see information about it.
Lf Hiker | E.Pointal contributor

The Flowers

Please feel free to help me with the identification of any “unidentified” flowers listed here, as well as correcting any errors I may make. Click on any photograph to see a larger image.

There wasn’t a big variety at the time we were there, but there were masses of purple Shooting Stars mixed with white Western Bistort that were phenomenal.

All pictures were taken with a Nikkor 18-135mm zoom lens, or a Nikkor 60mm closeup lens.

Alpine Shooting Star, Primula alpinum
Alpine Shooting Star, Primula alpinum

I don’t think I’ve seen this many Alpine Shooting Stars at one time. In the pictures of the meadow, most of the purple color comes from these.

Western Bistort, Polygonum bistortoides
American bistort, Bistorta bistortoides

By itself, the American Bistort isn’t what I would call a “spectacular” flower. These are about the size of my thumb – and they are the white flowers you see in big drifts in those meadow pictures.

White Wolf meadow, Bistort and Shooting Stars
White Wolf meadow, Bistort and Shooting Stars

I was excited to find violets along the edges.

Western Dog Violet, Viola adunca
Western Dog Violet, Viola adunca

You can’t go out into the meadows for the most part, they are very damp (and you don’t want to disturb the display!). There was a nice variety of other flowers around the periphery – you just had to get down low to see them. Further away from the meadow, where their is some shade, we found quite a few of these violets.

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0 Responses

    1. Mathi, you can spend years exploring the trails in Yosemite. And the ones that are out of the way are usually more fun (less crowded).

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