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Yosemite National Park — Olmsted Point to Tioga Pass

Last updated December 09, 2011 - Send Feedback

Yosemite from Olmsted Point past Tenaya Lake all the way to Tioga Pass is a *fantastic* road-cycling route. Park near Olmsted Point, and head East.

For those looking for more riding, continue east all the way to Whoah Nellie Dellie, grab something good to eat (food there is better than anything in town), and then head back.

Ascent and distance

From Olmsted Point to Tioga Pass summit at 10,000' is about 2900 vertical feet of ascent, and about 12 miles.

The climb from Hwy 395 back to Tioga Pass summit is about 2800 vertical feet.

Safety

Hwy 120 (Tioga Pass Road) is in excellent condition, and motorists for the most part are courteous, though some caution is advised for motor homes and frustrated drivers stuck behind them. Use a powerful tail light and a daytime running light to raise the odds in your favor on any road.

Images

Most images can be clicked for a larger view.

More images coming in time.

Tenaya Lake from near Olmsted Point

The view at dusk from near Olmsted Point can be very pretty.

Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Permits
Tenaya Lake from near Olmsted Point

Entering Tuolumne Meadows from the West

I remember this spot because some idiot in an SUV gunned it up where those cars are (in this 35 mph zone, I was myself speeding along at almost 35mph).

A park ranger just happened to be there, and pulled him over instantly. Since I have never seen the cops in my neck of the woods do anything to protect cyclists (they mainly ticket them at the behest of locals who resent cyclists), this was intensely gratifying.

Entering Tuolumne Meadows from the west
Entering Tuolumne Meadows from the west

Tuolumne Meadows is flat for 1-2 miles, very pleasant.

Tuolumne Meadows heading East
Tuolumne Meadows heading East

Lembert Dome appears at the east end of Tuolumne Meadows, whereupon the road begins to climb moderately, perhaps a 6% grade. Stop at the bridge and enjoy the beautiful clear water.

Tuolumne Meadows heading East
Tuolumne Meadows heading East

Exiting Tuolumne Meadows

Just past the east side of Tuolumne Meadows is the ranger station where one obtains a wilderness permit. Don’t get me started on the gross inefficiency and dogmatic government-run process.

Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Permits
Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Permits

Dana Meadow near Tioga Pass

This is a particularly lovely area to bike through in either direction.

Dana Meadow near Tioga Pass
Dana Meadow near Tioga Pass

Just past Tioga Pass

Continue your ride beyond Tioga Pass to Tioga Lake and Tioga Pass Resort for a nice extension of a mile or so. Or continue all the way down Lee Vining Canyon to the town of Lee Vining (much steeper grade in Lee Vining Canyon, and a 2900' committment).

Approaching Tioga Lake just past Tioga Pass
Approaching Tioga Lake just past Tioga Pass

Tioga Lake

In late June, one can often enjoy Tioga Lake as it ices-out. More.

Approaching Tioga Lake just past Tioga Pass
Tioga Lake just past Tioga Pass

Camping at Tioga Lake

You can tent-camp at Tioga Lake campground, but get there early as it fills up by early afternoon.

A bit farther are the Junction campground, Ellery Lake campground and (up a dirt road) the Saddlbag Lake campground.

Tioga Lake campground
Tioga Lake campground
Tioga Lake campground
Tioga Lake campground off Highway 120
Saddlbebag Lake campground off Highway 120
Saddlbebag Lake campground off Highway 120
Junction campground off Highway 120
Junction campground off Highway 120
Ellery Lake campground off Highway 120
Ellery Lake campground off Highway 120

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