Scenic USA - California

Tioga Road Scenic Byway

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Tioga Road Scenic Byway - Yosemite National Park, California

Photos by Mike Matenkosky
Images In The Backcountry

     This wonderful Sierra Nevada Mountains scene is one of the many highlights along the Tioga Pass Scenic Byway. Following California Mount Watkins Reflection in Mirror Lake - Tioga Road, Yosemite National Park, California Route 120, (Tioga Road) the 64 mile drive weaves westerly from Lee Vining, passed Tioga Peak, along Ellery, Tenaya, and Tioga lakes, up and over Tioga Pass and on into Yosemite National Park. The highway is one of the most popular drives in California, connecting Yosemite National Park to Mount Gibbs Reflection - Tioga Road, Yosemite National Park, California Mono Lake and the Bodie Ghost Town in the east. One of the few mountain passes in the Sierra Nevada Range, it's also the highest route, nearing an altitude of 10,000 feet at Tioga Pass.
     Here along the highway, roadside views of Dana Meadows, the northern fork of the Dana River and a 12,764 foot high Mount Gibbs warrant a stop. Mount Gibbs was named for the professor of science at Harvard, Oliver Wolcott Gibbs in 1864. Mt. Gibbs is a relatively easy climb Roadside Cascade - Tioga Road, Yosemite National Park, California and is far enough away from the very popular Mt. Dana to offer a more tranquil outing.
     This section of the park owes a great deal to the first National Park Director, Stephen Mather. By persuading Congress to allow the U.S. Government to receive gifts on behalf of the National Park Service, Mather was able to raise funds to buy property along Tioga Road. In order to complete the purchase, Mather contributed the balance out of his own pocket to finalize the deal. Mather went on to modernize the entire length of the old road, creating a very scenic and comfortable drive for modern automobile traffic. Formally dedicated in July 1915, a century later byway travelers still enjoy seeing this side of Yosemite and its majestic mountain peaks, pristine lakes, alpine meadows, evergreen forests, giant Sequoia groves and this grand Sierra High Country landscape.

      Byway Map


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