Cycling Tioga Pass, Yosemite: One of the greatest bike climbs in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range
Ride 12 miles to 9,945’ gaining 3,272’ at 4.9% average grade.
Climb summary by PJAMM’s John Johnson.
Before heading out on your Yosemite-area cycling adventure, be sure to rely on our list of Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip, and use our interactive checklist to ensure you don't forget anything.
"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.
Cycling on Tioga Road (Highway 120).
Tioga Pass is the beginning of the 75 mile journey from Highway 395 westbound into Yosemite Valley. It is one of four routes, or Gateways into Yosemite (the other three being Highway 120/Groveland from the north, 49/140/Mariposa from west, and Highway 41/Oakhurst from the south).
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 four and the next five miles average 7.4% compared to the 4.6% average for the full climb.
The climb is on Highway 120 to the park entrance.
Mono Lake is in your rearview mirror as you begin the climb.
Climb is in Inyo National Forest (1,903,381 acres; est. 1907).
The amazing rock formations . . . and . . .
. . . sheer cliffs along the climb make this an epic cycling adventure . . .
. . . with some amazing photo opportunities!
Awesome! 9,000’ . . .
. . . .Hey! You still have 945’ to go!!
Tioga Lake - One mile from the park entrance and finish.
Enter the park just past finish of climb.
And the #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).
That’s a wrap!!
PJAMM’s Yosemite NP Climb Page
Yosemite Valley - El Capitan + Half Dome
Photos clockwise from upper left:
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 Report: 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.
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