Miles away from the Yosemite Valley, maybe too many, but still inside the Yosemite National Park, towards the Tioga Pass, the landscape changes radically.
From a "normal" wooden landscape, you pass to a typical alpine landscape, that is absolutely, incredibly, wonderful.
We reached this place late in the afternoon, and colours were changing.
Let me open this page with this picture I made at the top of the Tioga Pass, the eastern gateway to the Yosemite National Park.
It has been the first time I tried to make a picture to a space object.
It succeded, I think, only because the sky was still blue and so focusing was easier.
An occasional success, at the end, but I'm so happy of it!
As you enter through the Tioga point (also called Tioga Road or Highway 120 East) from Mono county, you will drive through some beautiful lakes till you get to Tuolumne Meadows.
There are certain areas to stop and do photos and short or long walks.
This road is not open all year, only in summer time.
Tenaya Lake is located along the Tioga Road (Hwy 120) about seven miles west of Tuolumne Meadows. The lake is beautiful, clear blue and surrounded by the sheer slopes. Here you'll find a few beaches, ample parking and a picnic area. Many hikes in to the high country start from here. Crowded during the day, the lake becomes very peaceful in the late afternoon. It's also open to swimming for those who don't mind the chilly water.
The lake itself it beautiful--near Olmstead Point going from 8500' toward 10,000' at Tioga Pass. At the point you can see the back side of Half Dome and Clouds Rest and to the north of the lake, Mt. Conness.
The eastern shore of the lake is sandy...the water is COLD, though--but it's a nice place to lay on the shore--it's quiet (sometimes a bit buggy in the spring during the thaw) and relaxing.
Of course there is more to Yosemite than just the area around the valley.
Around Tioga Pass, you will finds lots of places like the one in the picture. Mountains, forest, lakes and meadows. Very relaxing.
Olmsted is a scenic turnout on the Tioga Road. There are panels that explain the geological phenomenon that takes place there and identify the different peaks that are visible. The views from this point are very beautiful but it's unique granite formations make this place photogenic in its own right.
This road crosses Yosemite from west to east and is a truly scenic drive. Along the way you will enjoy views of granite peaks, beautiful lakes, wildflower-covered meadows, and green forests with Giant Sequoia groves. You'll probably want to stop for pictures at many points on the road.
Tioga Road is a beautiful 30 mile long road winding from Crane Flats east across the high country of Yosemite and exits the park through Tioga Pass, the highest auto pass in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The road has several turn offs and provides the only vehicle access to Toulumne Meadows. Several backcountry trails start off this road. Tenaya Lake offers a very scenic picnic spot and Lembert Dome is a fairly easy climb for a panaramic view of the mountains. Several campgrounds exist along the road as is the White Wolf Lodge. While the road never makes it to the top of the cliffs on the north side of Yosemite Valley, you can still get views of Half Dome and Clouds Rest from the road. For a better experience, take the trail from Tioga Road to North Dome along the rim of Yosemite Valley. Better yet, take the hiking shuttle to this trail, hike to North Dome and Indian Arch and then take the extremely beautiful and scenic trail down into Tenaya Canyon and exit back into Yosemite Valley via the Mirror Lake trail beneath Half Dome. For the more adventurous, climb Mt. Hoffman, one of the highest peaks in the park and a strenuous although short hike from the road. This road closes in the winter, usually from mid-November until early June but it can be closed longer.
Here at the eastern border of the Park, amongst the meadows and small lakes of Dana Meadows rises the grand peak of Mt Dana. A short hike will take you to the west and Gaylor Lakes. Eastwards, off official trails, lies the route up Mt Dana. Ahead, the road goes voer the Pass tumbling down the glorious Lee Vining canyon on the other side, en route to Lee Vining and US 395 - see Lee Vining tips.
This road gives the casual tourist the best taste of Sierra High Country. Driving across open granite forests, craggy peaks rising high into deep blue skies. Main stops along the way include Olmstead Point, where you look across granite slabs to the towering walls of Clouds Rest and Half Dome.
Tioga Pass (Hwy. 120 east) at 9,945 feet is the highest vehicle pass in California. A number of scenic pullouts and parking areas are located along the way. A spectacular stop is found at Tenaya Lake, which the Indians knew as Pywiack, meaning "Lake of the Shining Rocks." Farther on, Tuolumne Meadows is the largest subalpine meadow in the Sierra Nevada. Tioga Pass is closed from mid- to late November through May due to heavy winter snow and ice accumulation.