|Elevation||9,945 ft (3,031 m)|
|Traversed by||SR 120|
|Location||Mono / Tuolumne counties, California, United States|
|Topo map||USGS Tioga Pass|
Tioga Pass is a mountain pass in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California. State Route 120 runs through it, and serves as the eastern entry point for Yosemite National Park, at the Tioga Pass Entrance Station. It is the highest elevation highway pass in California and in the Sierra Nevada at an elevation of 9,945 ft (3,031 m) . Mount Dana is to the east of the pass, and Gaylor Peak to the west.
Tioga Pass is named after Tioga Mine, whose name came from the Tioga River in New York: Tioga is an Iroquois and Mohawk term meaning "where it forks".[ citation needed ]
This pass, like many other passes in the Sierra Nevada, has a gradual approach from the west and drops off to the east dramatically, losing more than 3,000 ft (910 m) by the time the road reaches U.S. Route 395.
The pass is subject to winter closure due to high snowfall, normally from around the end of October until the end of May the following year, though these dates are subject to considerable variation. In heavy snow years, the road has closed in early October, and has remained closed as late as early July. In light snow years, the road may remain open until December and open as early as April.
Tioga Pass is the most direct route from Bishop or Mammoth Lakes, California to Fresno, Merced, and Stockton. There are four highway passes to the north, between Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, but none to the south for about 200 mi (320 km), until Sherman Pass in southern Tulare County.
This is on the Great Basin Divide, which demarcates the Great Basin. The latter is the largest area in North America from which waters don't drain towards an ocean.
There are several trailheads into the Yosemite backcountry which begin at Tioga Pass, including the trail to the Gaylor Lakes to the west/northwest, and the trail to the summit of Mount Dana. Dana Meadows is immediately south of the pass alongside the highway, as the pass itself is roughly angled north–south as opposed to east–west. Dana Meadows contains several small lakes.
A popular recreation and camping area exists just north of the summit of the pass at Tioga Lake. It is in the Inyo National Forest.
Less than 7 miles to the southwest of the pass, inside Yosemite National Park, is Tuolumne Meadows. The Pacific Crest Trail passes through, and it crosses the highway here.
Some of the wildlife in the area include birds of prey, marmots, bobcats, and occasionally bighorn sheep can be seen.
The Sierra Nevada is a mountain range in the Western United States, between the Central Valley of California and the Great Basin. The vast majority of the range lies in the state of California, although the Carson Range spur lies primarily in Nevada. The Sierra Nevada is part of the American Cordillera, an almost continuous chain of mountain ranges that forms the western "backbone" of the Americas.
The John Muir Trail (JMT) is a long-distance trail in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California, passing through Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. It is named after John Muir, a naturalist.
Tuolumne Meadows is a gentle, dome-studded, sub-alpine meadow area along the Tuolumne River in the eastern section of Yosemite National Park in the United States. Its approximate location is . Its approximate elevation is 8,619 feet (2,627 m). The term Tuolumne Meadows is also often used to describe a large portion of the Yosemite high country around the meadows, especially in context of rock climbing.
Mount Whitney is the highest mountain in the contiguous United States and the Sierra Nevada, with an elevation of 14,505 feet (4,421 m). It is in East–Central California, on the boundary between California's Inyo and Tulare counties, 84.6 miles (136.2 km) west-northwest of North America's lowest point, Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park, at 282 ft (86 m) below sea level. The mountain's west slope is in Sequoia National Park and the summit is the southern terminus of the John Muir Trail, which runs 211.9 mi (341.0 km) from Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley. The eastern slopes are in Inyo National Forest in Inyo County.
Mount Dana is a mountain in the U.S. state of California. Its summit marks the eastern boundary of Yosemite National Park and the western boundary of the Ansel Adams Wilderness. At an elevation of 13,061 feet (3,981 m), it is the second highest mountain in Yosemite, and the northernmost summit in the Sierra Nevada which is over 13,000 feet (3,962.4 m) in elevation. Mount Dana is the highest peak in Yosemite that is a simple hike to the summit. The mountain is named in honor of James Dwight Dana, who was a professor of natural history and geology at Yale.
Kings Canyon National Park is an American national park in the southern Sierra Nevada, in Fresno and Tulare Counties, California. Originally established in 1890 as General Grant National Park, the park was greatly expanded and renamed on March 4, 1940. The park's namesake, Kings Canyon, is a rugged glacier-carved valley more than a mile (1,600 m) deep. Other natural features include multiple 14,000-foot (4,300 m) peaks, high mountain meadows, swift-flowing rivers, and some of the world's largest stands of giant sequoia trees. Kings Canyon is north of and contiguous with Sequoia National Park, and both parks are jointly administered by the National Park Service as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
Cathedral Peak is part of the Cathedral Range, a mountain range in the south-central portion of Yosemite National Park in eastern Mariposa and Tuolumne Counties. The range is an offshoot of the Sierra Nevada. The peak which lends its name to the range derives its name from its cathedral-shaped peak, which was formed by glacial activity: the peak remained uneroded above the glaciers in the Pleistocene.
Mount Gibbs is located in the Sierra Nevada of the U.S. state of California, 2.6 miles (4 km) south of Mount Dana. The mountain was named in honor of Oliver Gibbs, a professor at Harvard University and friend of Josiah Whitney. The summit marks the boundary between Yosemite National Park and the Ansel Adams Wilderness, and Mount Gibbs is the sixth-highest mountain, of Yosemite.
State Route 120 is a state highway in the central part of California, connecting the San Joaquin Valley with the Sierra Nevada, Yosemite National Park, and the Mono Lake area. Its western terminus is at Interstate 5 in Lathrop, and its eastern terminus at U.S. Route 6 in Benton. While the route is signed as a contiguous route through Yosemite, the portion inside the park is federally maintained and is not included in the state route logs. The portion at Tioga Pass at Yosemite's eastern boundary is the highest paved through road in the California State Route system. This part is not maintained in the winter and is usually closed during the winter season.
Tenaya Lake is an alpine lake in Yosemite National Park, located between Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows. The surface of Tenaya Lake has an elevation of 8,150 feet (2,484 m). The lake basin was formed by glacial action, which left a backdrop of light granite rocks, whose beauty was known to the Native Americans. Today, Tenaya Lake is easily accessible by State Route 120 and is a popular lake for water activities.
Mount Lyell is the highest point in Yosemite National Park, at 13,114 feet (3,997 m). It is located at the southeast end of the Cathedral Range, 1+1⁄4 miles northwest of Rodgers Peak. The peak as well as nearby Lyell Canyon is named after Charles Lyell, a well-known 19th century geologist. The peak had one of the last remaining glaciers in Yosemite, Lyell Glacier. The Lyell Glacier is currently considered to be a permanent ice field, not a living glacier. Mount Lyell divides the Tuolumne River watershed to the north, the Merced to the west, and the Rush Creek drainage in the Mono Lake Basin to the southeast.
The High Sierra Trail (HST) is a hiking trail in Sequoia National Park, California. The trail crosses the Sierra Nevada from west to east. According to the Yosemite Decimal System, the HST is a Class 1/Class 2 trail, which means simple scrambling, with the possibility of occasional use of the hands for balance.
Sonora Pass is a mountain pass in the Sierra Nevada in California. It is the second-highest pass with a road in California and in the Sierra Nevada. It is 321 feet (98 m) lower than Tioga Pass to the south. State Route 108 traverses the pass, as does the Pacific Crest Trail.
The High Sierra Camps are nine rustic lodging facilities located in two national parks and a national monument in California's Sierra Nevada mountain range. Open most years from June or July to September, they are staffed camps with tent cabins and food service facilities. The backcountry camps receive their supplies by pack mules.
The Tahoe–Yosemite Trail (TYT) is a long-distance trail in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California. The trail courses 186 miles (299 km) from Meeks Bay at Lake Tahoe to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park. The trail is a foot and equestrian path that passes through the Desolation, Mokelumne, Carson-Iceberg, Emigrant, and Yosemite Wilderness Areas and the Meiss Country (Dardanelles) Roadless Area.
Hiking, rock climbing, and mountain climbing around Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park has many options.
Tioga Peak is located in Mono County, California, approximately two miles outside of Yosemite National Park. It is situated in the Hoover Wilderness on land managed by Inyo National Forest.
False White Mountain is a mountain, in the northern part of Yosemite National Park. It is the 24th highest mountain, in Yosemite National Park. False White Mountain can be climbed, as a day hike, from Tioga Pass.
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.