Tioga Pass Road is a spectacular ride in Yosemite National Park, California, USA.
Each day, the drive from accommodation at Lee Vining, California travels into the High Sierra of east Yosemite National Park through the Tioga Pass entrance on a spectacular drive of 11 miles (17.6 KM).
The elevation of Lee Vining is 6,781 ft (2,067 m) and the elevation of Tioga Pass is 9,945 ft (3,031 m). This spectacular drive is performed twice daily with an ascent into the park each morning, invariably to a spectacular day of hiking prior to descent for the return to Lee Vining in late afternoon.
This incredible ride is forever and dramatically memorable. Directly below is the view entering the Inyo National Forest which borders the east boundaries of Yosemite National Park in California, USA.
Within minutes the incredible climb through the Inyo National Forest begins along Tioga Road, perched precariously against the steep wall of Lee Vining Canyon.
Some of the steep, stone rubble walls to the immediate right seem to defy gravity while vision left is consumed by the potential for steep plunges into giant canyons and valleys.
The scope of vision draws the eyes in every direction in an impossible attempt to absorb the rugged surrounding beauty while allocating time for driving the narrow, excellent-quality highway into the High Sierra of Yosemite National Park.
Ahead, a waterfall emanating from the Ellery Lake Dam constructed in 1921 captures the field of vision. Just prior to arrival at Ellery Lake the drive will cross a bridge platform attached to the side of sheer, rock wall.
Tioga Road is an engineering marvel which creates a unique and spectacular access attraction into Yosemite National Park, California, USA.
Ellery Lake hosts a well hidden campground.
Around the next bend in Tioga Road, the other end of Ellery Lake is secluded at the bottom of steep mountain walls with pristine marsh in the foreground where a small pullout provides the opportunity to appreciate this incredibly beautiful place.
Further up the road, literally, is Tioga Lake bracketed by Gaylor Peak on the west with Dana Peak above and to the east.
There are a number of pull-outs on the Tioga Pass Road between Tioga Pass and Lee Vining best enjoyed on descent to avoid crossing traffic lanes. Good brakes are important.
Lee Vining Canyon is simply magnificent and Lee Vining River is visible from several vantage points. This road competes very favorably with many of the best ever traveled.
From Lee Vining, hikes are staged to Gaylor Lakes, Lembert Dome, Dog Lake and Soda Springs before traveling up past Lee Vining Canyon one last time on the route across the center of Yosemite National Park via Tioga Road (Hwy 120) from the east side to Crane Flats, then on to the next staging location in Mariposa, California near the southwest corner of Yosemite National Park.
A lot of remarkable trail in the High Sierra remains unexplored which provides an excellent reason to return.