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May Lake to Mount Hoffman Hike

Almost a year ago, the Tioga Pass was still open and we could access a winter wonderland in the high country. The Tioga Pass is closed for the winter now, but I am revisiting one of those hikes we made in January 2012 from frozen May Lake to views from Mount Hoffman.

Where: Yosemite National Park
Distance: 9.43 Miles
Elevation Range: 8.413-10,718′
Date: January 3, 2012

Highlights: Starting out at a balmy 23 degrees, we encountered icy creeks, lakes, and a waterfall frozen in time. What a view from Mount Hoffman, looking into the Ten Lakes Basin and out to the east to Mount Conness!

A day hike from Tioga Pass Road takes you by May Lake up to Mount Hoffman. The mountain is named after the cartographer Charles F. Hoffman, who was a member of the 1863 to 1867 Whitney Geological Survey.

It is said that he named May Lake after Lucy Mayotto Browne, who he later married in 1870.

We had hardly started our adventure when we came across a creek along side the trail that was completely and solidly frozen.

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After about 3 miles, we experience icy May Lake with Mount Hoffman standing tall behind it.

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We could hear the lake

MayLake 7Cracks on the surface of the frozen laketalking to us, as the cracks and ice expand and contract.

We left May Lake behind us as we headed up the hill. Keith Sauer took this shot of me heading up the icy trail.

Candace headed up the frozen trail photo by Keith Sauer

The water had obviously ran down it like a small creek and froze it solid. I had my microspikes with me, so between heading around the trail through the rocks and “spiking” my way up the trail, we made it safely.

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A close up of the frozen trail.

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After we made it to the top and our lunch spot, we were rewarded with that view of Ten Lakes Basin and you could even see the area surrounding Mount Conness.

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Photo by Gail Gilbert.

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Despite it being cold, snowy and icy, you could still see areas where vegetation thrived, nestled in rocky cracks.

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We headed back down the hill, down that ice covered trail, back down to May Lake. Another wonderful adventure!

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  1. Thanks for sharing Candace. Looks like a fun day with great views.

  2. Early/late fall hiker here; haven’t done a winter one yet. Love it. Makes me want to go!

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