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Dana Plateau Hike

Is it time for fall color yet? We decided it was right time for one of our more challenging hikes that we do every year, but hadn’t got around to yet this year. Personally, I wanted to see if we could get a glimpse of fall colors.

Where: Inyo National Forest, Ansel Adams Wilderness

Distance: 6.1 Miles Round Trip

Elevation Range: 9,262′ to 11,684′

Date: September 20, 2012

Highlights: When you get on top of Dana Plateau, you are right on the edge of the crest with a sharp drop off and killer views into Mono Lake and the June Lake area. Looking to the west from the top, you have a fantastic view of Mt. Dana, still with some pockets of snow. The contrast of colors is striking. The rocky landscape ranges from vibrant reds to white. We were lucky on the day we hiked to have clouds give us some nice pictures with that bright blue sky. . .and a surprise or two!

Danahike1We started this short but steep adventure at the trailhead at the west end of Tioga Lake on Tioga Road, just east of the Tioga Pass entrance to Yosemite National Park. As we rounded Tioga Lake, some gorgeous reflections start to materialize.

Winding our way up the trail, we came to a meadow with small ponds reflecting the clouds and even a little bit of a rainbow.


And here is that mirror image that this small pond is reflecting from the sky.


I’ve got that Dave Stamey line “Waiting for the wait to begin” from his song “Never Gonna Rain” stuck in my head. I keep thinking I am seeing the hints of fall and color changing. Is it my imagination or is it real? Pops of red tell me that change is coming.


Continuing our hike up the hill. . .up the steep hill.


Even before we reach the top of Dana Plateau, we can see 13,061′ Mt. Dana towering above us with her snowy ravines.


When we made it to the top of Dana Plateau, we stopped for a well deserved lunch break and to take in the views. Mono Lake is what first catches your eye (and camera).


The trail and trip down the hill.


As I stepped over a rock, I had quite the surprise when this Hare jumped out, ran about 20 feet, then stopped and posed for us.




You almost felt like he was saying “Peek a Boo! See you all next time you are up this way.”




  1. Thanks Candace, I enjoyed your informative article and beautiful pictures. I look forward to more.

  2. Candace, great pictures and narrative. This is a great way to show all of us your adventures in the the Sierra Nevada’s. Very much appreciated, Thanks Larry

  3. Beautiful! It definitely makes me want to go for a hike myself. I especially liked the pic of the rocks with the red flowers, certainly adds to the contrast you mentioned in your article. Have fun out there

  4. Your pictures have given me an opportunity to see a very interesting and beautiful part of California. Many thanks!

  5. Great hike description & beautiful pictures !! Thanks for sharing !

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