Tioga Lake

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Tioga Lake
An angler at the lake, Mount Dana in the background
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Red pog.svg
Tioga Lake
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Red pog.svg
Tioga Lake
Location Inyo National Forest
Mono County, California
Coordinates 37°55′27″N119°15′07″W / 37.9241°N 119.2519°W / 37.9241; -119.2519
Type glacial lake
Primary outflows Lee Vining Creek
Basin  countries United States
Max. length0.65 mi (1.05 km)
Max. width0.25 mi (0.40 km)
Surface elevation9,638 ft (2,938 m)
References U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Tioga Lake

Tioga Lake is a small glacial lake in the Inyo National Forest of Mono County, California, about two miles (3 km) north of the Tioga Pass entrance to Yosemite National Park. The lake bed is alongside State Route 120 in the Sierra Nevada of California.



Unlike most passes through the Sierra which are named for an individual, tioga is an Iroquois word, meaning "where it forks" or "swift current". Tioga County, New York, is the namesake for the lake. [1] The area is believed to have been settled as early as 10,000 years ago by indigenous peoples. John Muir was among the first Americans to see the area. The next major interest came from the mining and logging industries.


The lake offers trout fishing, a picnic area, and a 13-site managed campground. Some of the wildlife in the area are brave enough to approach humans, especially birds and marmots. Occasionally a bobcat or bighorn sheep can be seen, although the latter are particularly shy.

Tioga Lake in spring looking towards Tioga Pass Tioga-lake.jpg
Tioga Lake in spring looking towards Tioga Pass

Because of its inaccessibility, the region and Tioga Lake itself are popular with campers who want to avoid the crowds of Yosemite, photographers, anglers, and nature lovers in general. Birds of prey are more common here, making Tioga Lake and its surroundings popular with bird watchers. Because of the altitude and its location at the crest of a major pass, the weather is extremely unpredictable, and the length of the seasons varies from year to year.

See also

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Inyo County is a county in the eastern central part of the U.S. state of California, located between the Sierra Nevada and the state of Nevada. In the 2020 census, the population was 19,016. The county seat is Independence. Inyo County is on the east side of the Sierra Nevada and southeast of Yosemite National Park in Central California. It contains the Owens River Valley; it is flanked to the west by the Sierra Nevada and to the east by the White Mountains and the Inyo Mountains. With an area of 10,192 square miles (26,400 km2), Inyo is the second-largest county by area in California, after San Bernardino County. Almost one-half of that area is within Death Valley National Park. However, with a population density of 1.8 people per square mile, it also has the second-lowest population density in California, after Alpine County.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mono County, California</span> County in California, United States

Mono County is a county located in the east central portion of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2020 census, the population was 13,195, making it the fourth-least populous county in California. The county seat is Bridgeport. The county is located east of the Sierra Nevada between Yosemite National Park and Nevada. The only incorporated town in the county is Mammoth Lakes, which is located at the foot of Mammoth Mountain. Other locations, such as June Lake, are also famous as skiing and fishing resorts. Located in the middle of the county is Mono Lake, a vital habitat for millions of migratory and nesting birds. The lake is located in a wild natural setting, with pinnacles of tufa arising out of the salty and alkaline lake. Also located in Mono County is Bodie, the official state gold rush ghost town, which is now a California State Historic Park.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mono–Inyo Craters</span> Volcanic chain in eastern California, United States

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tioga Pass</span> Mountain pass in the American state of California

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Inyo National Forest is a United States National Forest covering parts of the eastern Sierra Nevada of California and the White Mountains of California and Nevada. The forest hosts several superlatives, including Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States; Boundary Peak, the highest point in Nevada; and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, which protects the oldest living trees in the world. The forest, encompassing much of the Owens Valley, was established by Theodore Roosevelt as a way of sectioning off land to accommodate the Los Angeles Aqueduct project in 1907, making the Inyo National Forest one of the least wooded forests in the U.S. National Forest system.

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Gaylor Peak is an 11,004-foot-elevation (3,354 meter) mountain summit located on the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in northern California, United States. The peak is situated on the common boundary shared by Yosemite National Park with Inyo National Forest, as well as the border shared by Mono County with Tuolumne County. It rises immediately above the park's Tioga Pass entrance station and Tioga Lake. Topographic relief is significant as the summit rises approximately 1,400 feet above the lake in one-half mile (0.80 km). The peak is a popular hiking destination on summer weekends due to easy access via the two-mile Gaylor Lakes Trail from State Route 120 which traverses the east base of the peak.

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Mount Lewis is a 12,350-foot-elevation mountain summit located along the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, in Mono County of northern California, United States. It is situated in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, on land managed by Inyo National Forest. The summit lies less than one mile outside of Yosemite National Park's eastern boundary, and some of the lower western slope lies within the park. The mountain rises 1.8 miles (2.9 km) southeast of Mono Pass, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) northeast of Parker Pass, and two miles north of Parker Peak, which is the nearest higher neighbor. Topographic relief is significant as it rises over 5,200 feet above Grant Lake in four miles which makes the mountain visible from Highway 395.


  1. "Tioga Pass Resort History". Tioga Pass Resort. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2008-03-14.