This Indian word apparently meant "big tree". Wawona was once an Indian encampment and, later, was the site of a wayside hostel built in 1857 by Galen Clark.
Known as Glares Station, it served as an overnight stop for visitors in transit between Yosemite Valley and Mariposa.
In 1864, when Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove were set aside for protection, Clark became the first guardian of the area.
In 1875, the year the original Wawona road opened, the Washburn brothers purchased the area and built the Wawona Hotel that is still in operation today.
Wawona focuses on Yosemite's human history.
It is the setting of the Pioneer Yosemite History Center, a collection of relocated historic buildings and horse-drawn coaches.
is the home to the historic Wawona Hotel, dating from the late nineteenth century.
The Pioneer Yosemite History Center, a collection of historic buildings, is located just over the covered bridge from the hotel.
Wawona is accessible by car year-round.
Meadows and Wetlands
What's so special about meadows and wetlands? Nowhere else in Yosemite will you find a greater diversity of plants and animals. Meadows and wetlands are vital for deer and bears, for numerous birds, and for an unbelievable number of smaller creatures, all of which depend upon an amazing variety of plants.
And, to top it off, the openess of meadows provides great views of the surrounding area.
When visiting meadows, tread carefully and use existing boardwalks and trails where they exist. If you see wildlife, keep wildlife wild; respect animals from a distance.
You'll find several meadows in Yosemite Valley
, a large meadow in Wawona
, and numerous meadows along the Tioga Road
and, of course, at Tuolumne Meadows