Distance: 1.2 miles (2 km) round trip to Mono Meadow; 3.5 miles (5.5 km) round trip for Mono Meadow plus the Sierra overlook
Trailhead Elevation: 7,300 feet (2,225 meters)
Elevation Change: 300 feet (90 meters)
Map Notes: The red line marks the trail to Mono Meadow itself, and the yellow line marks the bonus hike to the Mt. Starr King overlook. Click on the balloons to see bite-sized photos of these spots.
The hike starts with a steep descent to Mono Meadow. From there it's mostly flat until you cross a tributary of Illilouette Creek roughly halfway between Mono Meadow and the overlook. From the creek, there's a gradual ascent to the overlook. You'll pass through the remnants of a forest fire on the way.
If you continue past the overlook, you'll reach a pair of forks in the trail, both visible on the map. At the first fork, turning left will take you to the Panorama Trail just before it descends to Illilouette Falls, and turning right will lead you south to Buena Vista and Royal Arch Lakes, which generally require an overnight trip to see. At the second fork, turning left will again lead to the Panorama Trail, just before it merges with the John Muir Trail above Nevada Fall. Turning right will take you to the park's remote southeast corner, with Upper and Lower Merced Pass Lakes being the nearest attractions, 7.5 miles (12 km) away.