Tioga Pass, May Lake and Mt Hoffman

The Tioga Road is open! This road, Highway 120, crosses Yosemite National Park from west to east, crossing the 3,031 m (9,943 ft) high Tioga Pass at the park boundary. The pass is the highest in California, so it’s understandable that the road closes over winter once the snows begin.

I drove the Tioga Road for the first time last year, when I stayed for a couple of nights in the lovely little town of Lee Vining on Mono Lake just east of the Pass. My plans for the trip this year include driving from Death Valley, via Bishop (stopping at the gallery of Galen and Barbara Rowell), and entering Yosemite at Tioga Pass, so I’ve been watching for updates of the opening of the road.

There are plenty of things to see and do along the Tioga Road, and I managed to catch many of them last year (Olmstead Point, Tenaya Lake, Tuolumne Meadows, including the hike from near Tenaya Lake to Clouds Rest for an incredible view of Yosemite Valley).

This year I’m planning on hiking to May Lake, and if I’m feeling good, Mt Hoffman. The hike to the top should take around 4 hours return, and it will be a nice warm up for Half Dome, if I decide to tackle that. For a sea-level dweller like me, it takes a while to get used to hiking at higher altitudes, so an easier hike to start is a very good idea. And like much of the wilderness area that the Tioga Road passes through, the scenery is fantastic, and it’s way less crowded than the valley itself.

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