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Tioga Road Reopens! Well, For A Few Days…

Tioga Road reopened May 18 and we headed over there as soon as it opened and before it closed temporarily. We were so curious to check out the snow conditions, hoping for iced over lakes and beautiful reflections. We made several stops along the way and wanted to share this report on conditions.

Siesta Lake, along Tioga Road, is 7,959′ elevation.

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We made a quick stop at Olmsted Point to check out the view of Half Dome and Cloud’s Rest.

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Tenaya Lake is 8,143′ elevation. The view from the west end is always gorgeous but there was a slight wind that was creating less than ideal reflective pictures.

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We headed on to the east end of Tenaya Lake and wow, the lake was now like glass, full of reflections.

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Tuolumne Meadows is 8,613′ elevation.

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Tioga Lake is 9,636′ elevation.

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The next stop was at Saddlebag Lake Road, which is still closed. We walked on up the road and saw those Mono County Road crews working to clear the road even more.

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There is a turnout at the top of the road where you can see a sweeping view from Mount Conness down Lee Vining Creek. I just love this view.

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As we walked into the Saddlebag Lake Resort Parking lot, we got a great feel for the amount of snow that was still up here. On the first photo which Gail took, Sally and I are just to the left of the sign for sign to the Saddlebag Lake Campground. The  road to the campground leads up to through this snow bank. Looks like it will be a while before this campground can open.

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Entrance to Saddlebag Lake Campground (Photo by Gail Gilbert)

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Saddlebag Lake Resort Campground

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Saddlebag Lake Resort Buildings

It was time to head down to Saddlebag Lake, 10,066′ elevation.

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Photo of Sally and Me by Gail Gilbert

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We found a nice rock to have our lunch.

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After lunch, we took a closer look at the melting ice along the edge of the lake.

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As we walked down the road, we had wonderful views of Mount Dana.

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We headed back to the car and parked at the Tioga Pass entrance to Yosemite National Park, elevation 9,947′.  Here is a picture to give you an idea of the snow depth at that parking lot.

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Tioga Pass Parking Lot at Yosemite National Park Entrance Station

We wandered across the road to check out a couple of small tarns.

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Those crews that worked on clearing Tioga Road had sure done a really nice job and a big thank you to them.  Yosemite National Park, Caltrans and Mono County crews worked very hard on this. Tioga Road was nicely cleared of snow but there were some small rocks on the road in places. There were also areas where the snow melt was running across the road. It was a warm day on our visit but this water can turn to ice on the cold nights and could cause slippery driving. You need to pay attention and drive appropriately for the conditions. I am also still carrying my chains. If you plan on heading over Tioga Road, I highly recommend that you check the road conditions before you go. You can check on current Tioga Road conditions and chain restrictions by calling 209/372-0200 (press 1 then 1). Yosemite National Park has been closing the road in anticipation of potential weather issues. It pays to check before you take that long drive.

Sources:

Saddlebag Lake Resort

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