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Tioga Pass

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New Jersey
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177 posts
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Tioga Pass

On our first day in Yosemite, we'll be coming from Lee Vining. I wasn't planning on spending any real time in the Tioga Pass area, with the exception of pulling over to take pics of any beautiful areas. BUT, after reading everyone's advice, I've decided to spend our first morning in the area before heading to the valley.

First question, we'll be coming the last week in June. Will there still be snow on the mountains?

Second question is will there be wildflowers in the meadows?

Next question is the big one...I definitely want to spend at least a little bit of time at Tuolumne Meadow, Tenaya Lake and Olmstead Point. We will probably have time for one short "walk"- 2 miles or less.... Question is if you had to pick one lake to walk (and photos were of utmost importance), which would you pick?

Ideally, I'd love to see a beautiful color lake with evergreens in the background and wildflowers in the foreground and maybe some mountain reflections in the water. Does this exist?

San Diego...
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1. Re: Tioga Pass

The amount of snow varies from year to year. It can't be predicted how much snow will be left in late June. It depends on the amount and timing of the storms in the winter and spring that leave snow. If this coming winter/spring is the same as this past winter/spring, there will be tons of snow on the ground in June. Tioga Road did not open until June 18 this year. But even if it is an average winter/spring, you will still probably be able to see snow on the peaks from a distance, if not necessarily right next to the road. If it is a year exactly like this year, your drive along Tioga Road might be between snowbanks on both sides of the road, in June anyway.

Since Tuolumne Meadows and most of Tioga Road is at a higher elevation than the floor of Yosemite Valley, wildflowers appear later in the year at Tuolumne Meadows than they do at Yosemite Valley. I'll leave it to the destination experts for Yosemite to predict whether Tuolumne Meadows will have wildflowers at the time of your visit. My own guess is that June might be too early for wildflowers at the high elevations. It really will depend on the weather patterns next year.

The hikes available in the area of Tioga Pass Road are listed here. yosemitehikes.com/tioga-road/yosemite-tioga-… I'll leave it to the destination experts to recommend one that fits your description of what you want.

The opening dates of Tioga Road vary from year to year and can't be predicted in advance. You can see the history since 1933 at www.monobasinresearch.org/data/tiogapass.htm Your best strategy is to have 2 routes planned; one for if Tioga Road is open, and if it is, use it, and an alternate "Plan B" route to use as a backup if Tioga Road is still closed when you are there.

New Jersey
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2. Re: Tioga Pass

Yosemite experts, any other suggestions?

California
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3. Re: Tioga Pass

Since you asked about one lake for a walk - I'd recommend Tenaya Lake. It's gorgeous. It's a short and easy hike. And it's right off the road so it would be easy to fit in your schedule. If you don't have enough time to walk all the way around, start off at the western end and go as far as time allows.

You could also easily fit in Olmstead Point. I don't know that I should even call it a walk, it's so short. Magnificent views, even from the parking lot.

Los Angeles
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for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
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4. Re: Tioga Pass

Thank you, BW, for the excellent suggestions - that take into account the high probability that many roadside trail may be muddy or under snow, as they were this year.

Saint Germain...
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5. Re: Tioga Pass

Tenaya Lake is roadside and easily accessible but there are also a couple of lakes before you enter Yosemite from Lee Vining that are stunning and along the road, again, easily accessible. If Saddleback Lake is open, that's a very short drive, (a couple of miles) and has everything you are looking for except perhaps the wild flowers, June is fairly early in the season for those high elevations.

Have a terrific trip!

Redlands, California
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6. Re: Tioga Pass

One problem with Tenaya Lake for a hike is that it may be hard to get around it with the inlet and outlet streams being high. You can certainly get fabulous views from each end, in any case.

Consider Pothole Dome. Its an easy scramble up for amazing views--including some peaks hidden from the road--and at the "back end" as the Dome slopes down, you run into a beautiful stretch of the Tuolomne River with a small waterfall.

7. Re: Tioga Pass

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