Tioga Road may be off Broadway, but it's remoteness, not quality, that's the cause. Most visitors enter Yosemite through one of the three western gates, and far more people spend their time cavorting in Yosemite Valley than make the winding drive up to see the brightest lights of the Tioga region, which are at the eastern end of the park.
It's worth the trip, though. Tenaya Lake and Tuolumne Meadows would be stars in any lineup, and the Tioga Road area is packed with overlooked gems like the Gaylor Lakes trail. The Tuolumne Grove, though not as large as the more famous Mariposa Grove, still contains dozens of thousand-odd-year-old Giant Sequoias. The numbers are in your favor, too: there are more hikes along the Tioga Road than in any other part of Yosemite.
There are both wood-frame and tent cabins at the White Wolf Lodge, which lies about 15 miles (24 km) from the Tioga Road's western intersection at Crane Flat. The Tuolumne Meadows Lodge, just east of Tuolumne Meadows, is not a lodge at all, but a series of tent cabins. Like the Tioga Road itself, these accomodations are summer only. They're usually reserved months in advance, but you can check for availablity here. You can also try the Tioga Pass Resort, just outside the park's eastern entrance at 9,600 feet (2,925 meters) elevation. It has both cabins and traditional motel rooms and is open year round.
You can buy snacks at Crane Flat and at the Tuolumne Meadows store. If you're the sort who likes to photograph the sunset on your hikes and doesn't get back to the trailhead until dusk is falling, you'll likely find these both closed by the time you reach them. There's a cafe at the Tioga Pass Resort, just east of the park.
You can buy gas at Crane Flat, the western terminus of the Tioga Road, and at the store near the east end of Tuolumne Meadows. Make sure your credit card is well below its limit.
You'll also find various gas, food, and lodging options 12 miles (19 km) east of the Tioga Pass entrance at Lee Vining, where the Tioga Pass Road meets Highway 395.
Construction crews are repairing the westernmost 15 miles of the Tioga Road (from Crane Flat to White Wolf), so expect construction delays ranging from 15 to 60 minutes, depending on time of day, during the week - specifically, from 11 pm Sunday evening until 4:30 pm Friday afternoon. The construction project is expected to last until November of 2015. In addition, the Tuolumne Grove parking lot will be closed for three weeks in October 2014. See the NPS Current Conditions and Road Construction pages for the latest status. Delays will be up to an hour from 11 pm to 6 am; up to 15 minutes from 6 am - 7:30 am and from 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm; and up to 30 minutes from 7:30 am - 3:30 pm and from 4:30 pm - 11 pm.
|Crowd Factor||Scenery Factor||Difficulty|
|Cathedral Lakes||7.0 (11.2)*||800 (240)*|
|Clouds Rest||14.5 (23.3)||1,775 (540)|
|Dog Lake||2.8 (4.5)*||750 (225)*|
|Elizabeth Lake||4.6 (7.4)||900 (270)|
|Gaylor Lakes||3 (4.8)*||600 (180)*|
|Glen Aulin (Tuolumne Falls/White Cascade)||13 (21)||600 (180)|
|Harden Lake||5.8 (9.3)||300 (90)|
|Lembert Dome||2.8 (4.5)*||900 (275)*|
|Lower Gaylor Lake||4.6 (7.4)*||800 (245)*|
|Lukens Lake||1.6 (2.5)*||200 (60)*|
|Lyell Canyon||1.4 (2.2)*||< 100 (30)*|
|May Lake & Mt. Hoffmann||2.5 (4)*||500 (150)*|
|Mono Pass||7.4 (12)*||900 (275)|
|North Dome||8.8 (14.2)||-560 (-170)|
|Olmsted Point||0.25 (0.4)||< 100|
|Pothole Dome & Tuolumne River||2.5 (4)||250 (75)|
|Snow Creek Trail||10 (16)*||1,700 (520)*|
|Spillway Lake||8 (13)||800 (240)|
|Sunrise Lakes||8.8 (14)*||1,300 (395)|
|Tenaya Lake||2.5 (4)||0|
|Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias||2.5 (4)||-400 (-120)|
|Tuolumne Meadows||2 (3.2)*||0|
Gaylor Lakes Basin
The Tioga Road is Yosemite's highest, peaking at just under 10,000 feet, and is usually closed from sometime in November until May or early June. It typically gets shut down for the season after the first big winter storm, whenever that happens to arrive.
|Year||Opening Date||Closing Date|
|2013||May 11||November 18|
|2012||May 7||November 17|
|2011||June 18||January 18, 2012|
|2010||June 5||November 19|
|2009||May 20||November 12|
|2008||May 21||October 30|
|2007||May 11||December 7|
|2006||June 17||November 29|
|2005||June 24||November 25|
|2004||May 14||October 17|
|2003||May 31||October 31|
|2002||May 22||November 5|
|2001||May 12||November 11|
|2000||May 18||November 9|
|1999||May 28||November 23|
|1998||July 1||November 12|
|1997||June 13||November 12|
|1996||May 31||November 5|
|1995||June 30||December 11|
|1994||May 25||November 10|
|1993||June 3||November 24|
|1992||May 15||November 10|
|1991||May 26||November 14|
|1990||May 17||November 19|