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Cycling Yosemite National Park — Olmsted Point to Tioga Pass
Related: cycling, Eastern Sierra, Rides, road biking, Tioga Pass area, Yosemite
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.
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.
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Tenaya Lake from near Olmsted Point
The view at dusk from near Olmsted Point can be very pretty.
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.
Tuolumne Meadows is flat for 1-2 miles, very pleasant.
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.
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.
Dana Meadow near Tioga Pass
This is a particularly lovely area to bike through in either direction.
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).
In late June, one can often enjoy Tioga Lake as it ices-out. More.
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.