We were up at Tenaya Lodge near the south entrance to Yosemite this weekend. The area around the place is beautiful, but some architect made some really bad decisions at this place.

Essentially, unless you book very, very early, this is the only place around that will have rooms available. There’s a reason for this: it’s pretty expensive, and not that nice.

The setting is a hill in the mountains, totally denuded of trees (in a very, very dense forest). The building takes no awareness of the land into account – no views, no tucked-in parts, nothing. Just a big building surrounded by parking lots.

I could complain forever, but I should say that for $320 a night, you’d expect a room to be ready for you during normal check-in times (it wasn’t), or that the staff would be nice about it (they told us to go walk around and come back to see when our room would be ready). You’d also expect not to be nickle-and-dimed for things like WiFi ($9.95 per device, not room, so be careful on your iPhone) and games ($6.95/hour for the Lodgenet nonsense on the CRT TV). But, strangely, valet parking is free.

The indoor pool was totally sterile (really just plain ugly), and at the outdoor pool you have to withstand blaring Muzak. It’s really, really loud.

Anyway, the one saving grace was a great running trail. I found it by running south on the highway and ducking in the next road below the place, but there’s also a road out the backside of Tenaya that gets you there. Most signs highlight the horseback riding a mile down – if you see that, you’re in the right place. It’s a dirt road that goes, I think, 13 miles. I didn’t go all the way down. But it’s rolling, and gorgeous, so if you’re looking for a run in those parts, it’s a good place to hit.

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