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Gaylor Lakes & Great Sierra Mine Hike: Part 1

Fresh fallen snow created incredible views of the Tioga Pass area for us, revealing snow covered mountains hiding in clouds that reflected in the high mountain lakes. As we explored the old abandoned Great Sierra Mine, we got a small feel for what those hard working miners lived through in those cold winters in the ghost town of Dana City in 1882.

Where: Yosemite National Park

Distance: 4 Miles

Elevation Range: 9,699 to 10,796′

Date: October 12, 2012

Highlights: After the first snow of the season, views of snow covered mountains, reflections in high mountain lakes and wonderful clouds. We also visited The Great Sierra Mine, abandoned silver mine in the old town of Dana City.

We knew that Tioga Road was closed when we left the Oakhurst area and had been closely watching the weather reports. Our strategy that early morning was to go ahead and head that way, getting more Intel and hopefully the road would reopen so we could go up to the fresh snow covered mountains in the Tioga Pass area.


Stopping at Tunnel View on our way into Yosemite Valley, we wanted to see if we might get a glimpse of clouds parting to reveal Half Dome as the morning light hit it. We discovered many photographers all lined up to do the same thing but it sure didn’t look like we were going to get any amazing pictures in the near future so we headed on.

Our wait for Tioga Road to reopen was not long at all and before long, we were pulling into the parking lot at Tioga Pass. The clouds were just beginning to open up a little and let some blue sky peek through.


There are some small tarns across the street form the parking area that always yield great reflections.





It was time for us to head up the hill toward Gaylor Lakes, my hiking buddies for this adventure, Keith and Gail, taking the lead.


There were only a couple of inches of snow on the ground, but it set off the beautiful color of the dry grasses.


I was only about midway up the slope when I looked back to the southwest and saw this beautiful view.



My view to the southeast from Gaylor Ridge.


As I looked to the north, I could see what Keith had been viewing.


Clouds were still hanging around when we were circling around Middle Gaylor Lake.


As we reached Upper Gaylor Lake, the clouds were starting to build back in.


Part of our adventure this day was to continue to climb a short distance to the old abandoned mine known as the Great Sierra Mine and old town of Dana City. Looking back toward Upper Gaylor Lake, Keith has a magnificent backdrop of snow covered mountains peeking through the clouds.


One comment

  1. Thanks for the travelogue and gorgeous photos!

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