Cycling Tioga Pass - one of the greatest bike climbs in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range
Ride 12 miles to 9,948’ gaining 3,272’ at 4.9% average grade.
"Tioga" is named for an Iroquois and Mohawk term meaning "where it forks". The most spectacular part of Tioga Pass may be the sheer drop off that is dramatically obvious when you look back at the viewpoint (see Google Streetview, below) at mile 8.3.
Tioga Road (Hwy 120) is the line in the middle of the photo above the white cliff
Tioga Pass is the beginning of the 75 mile journey from Hwy 395 westbound into Yosemite Valley (it is one of 4 routes (Gateways into Yosemite - Hwy 120/Groveland from the north, 49/140/Mariposa from west and Hwy 41/Oakhurst from the south are the other 3).
The eastern Park (Eastern Gateway) entrance is right at Tioga Pass at almost precisely the 12 mile mark of the climb. The crux of the climb begins at mile 4 and the next 5 miles average 7.4% compared to the 4.6% average for the full climb.
The climb is on Hwy 120 to the park entrance
Coming up the epic stretch of this inspiring bike climb
Tioga Lake - 1 mile from the park entrance and finish
Enter the park just past finish of climb.
And the No. 1 reason to start your climb early . . .
We recommend beginning this climb in the early morning to avoid the Yosemite Valley-bound traffic which always includes some, if not many, RV’s and trailers, which may include rentals driven by tourists inexperienced with such a vehicle.
Food/Fluids: There is nothing along the first 12 miles of the route, but food/fluids are available, if you are continuing on towards Yosemite Valley, at Tuolumne Meadows Grill and the Tuolumne Meadows Store (mile 19.3) and Crane Flat Gas Station (mile 58.6).
Tenaya Lake (miles 26.5 to 27.5) Olmstead point (mile 29.2 - views of Half Dome and a great viewpoint on the way back into the valley which is one of the few points where you have excellent views of both El Capitan and Half Dome.
El Cap and Half Dome on the way down to Yosemite Valley
Fee to enter the park: As of June, 2015, the fee to enter the park on a bicycle was $15. We purchased the $80 All-Parks Pass which gives us access for the year into all National Parks.
Roadway surface and traffic: The roadway is excellent throughout, but the road is narrow and there are many wide vehicles on the road after the early morning hours -although this route is closed to commercial vehicles.