Lee Vining, California

downtown Lee Vining, California, facing north on highway 395

Location: 12 miles (19 km) east of Yosemite's Tioga Pass entrance; 69 miles (111 km) from Yosemite Valley; via Highway 120 (map)

Population 398; elevation 6,781 feet (2,060 meters)

Lee Vining is a small, high-elevation town on the eastern slope of the Sierras. In addition to being close to the Tioga area of Yosemite, it's on the western shore of Mono Lake, and it's a short drive to Bodie, California's most famous ghost town, and to Mammoth Mountain, a gigantic ski resort.

Gas & Groceries:  Lee Vining has a small but fetchingly painted grocery store (visible above) and multiple gas stations.

Dining:  A stay in Lee Vining should include a visit to the famous Whoa Nelli Deli, located just south of town inside the Mobil Station at the intersection of Highway 395 and the Tioga Road.

Pro:  It's closer than any other town - or even Yosemite Valley, for that matter - to the spectacular eastern section of the Tioga Road, where the highlights include Tuolumne Meadows and Tenaya Lake. And when was the last time you stayed in a town named after a miner who died after his own pistol went off in his pocket?

Con:  The Tioga Road, your route from Lee Vining to Yosemite, is closed in the winter. See the Road Conditions page for the road's opening and closing dates in recent years.

Lee Vining Lodging

El Mono Motel

Highway 395 & 3rd Street  ·  (760) 647-6310  ·  Street View  ·  Reviews  ·  Website  ·  $70 - $100

Open May through Autumn

Lake View Lodge

51285 Highway 395  ·  (800) 990-6614  ·  (760) 647-6543  ·  Street View  ·  Reviews  ·  Website  ·  $60 - $270*

Hotel rooms from $70 - $160 during summer (May - August), cottages from $140 - $270*

Lee Vining Motel

51439 Highway 395  ·  Street View  ·  Reviews

11 guest rooms

Mono Vista RV Park

Highway 395  ·  (760) 647-6401  ·  Street View  ·  Reviews  ·  Website  ·  $23 - $40

RV and tent sites $23 - $40; open April 1 - November 1

Murphey's Motel

51493 Highway 395  ·  (800) 334-6316  ·  (760) 647-6316  ·  Street View  ·  Reviews  ·  Website  ·  $60 - $130*

6 room types; free wireless Internet; refrigerators in all rooms; all rooms non-smoking; Rooms from $60 - $130; small pets allowed ($10 fee)

Tioga Lodge

54411 Highway 395  ·  (760) 647-6423  ·  Street View  ·  Reviews  ·  Website  ·  $110 - $160*

Open May - October; rooms from $110 - $160

Tioga Pass Resort

85 Highway 120 West  ·  Street View  ·  Reviews  ·  Website  ·  $125 - $260*

10 cabins and 4 hotel rooms; Less than two miles from Yosemite's Tioga Pass entrance at 9,600 feet elevation; no maid service, no smoking, no pets; motel rooms $125, cabins from $170 - $260*
*** (Closed for 2017 due to snow damage) ***

Yosemite Gateway Motel

51340 Highway 395  ·  (760) 647-6467  ·  Street View  ·  Reviews  ·  Website  ·  $160 - $200*

20 hotel rooms; summer rates from $160 - $200

* Asterisked hotels don't list rates on their websites, so rate ranges were obtained by haranguing hotel employees or checking a variety of dates in their reservation systems. Since they generally don't bother to inform yosemitehikes.com when they change their rates and calling them or checking their reservation sites every day would be intolerably boring, there's a chance that they've changed, so you'd need to check with the hotel to make sure that these rates are still accurate. Also, listed rates generally do not include taxes.