Description - Tioga Road / Big Oak Flat Road offers one of the most spectacular passages over the Sierra Nevada, making it the highest automobile pass in California, boasting an elevation change of over one mile from west to east. Along the route, views include towering granite peaks, pristine lakes, wildflower-covered meadows, and lush evergreen forests with Giant Sequoia groves. Tuolumne Meadows offers visitors a chance to see how ancient glaciers created this serene and rugged landscape.
Copyright: - US National Park Service
Experience the majesty of Tioga Road / Big Oak Flat Road
- The byway provides motorists with an opportunity to experience astonishing scenery from a vehicle. For hiking enthusiasts, it offers some of the most beautiful High Sierra backcountry trails in California. National Park entrance fees are reduced for people entering on foot, bicycle or motorcycle.
Points of Interest along the route include:
Big Oak Flat Station - The Big Oak Flat Information Station offers an immense amount of information about Yosemite National Park. A definite stop for those wanting to learn more about the area.
Glacier Point - Glacier Point offers one of the finest panoramic views of Yosemite Valley.
Hetch Hetchy Reservoir - Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, a source of drinking water for San Fransisco, is also home to spectacular scenery and is the starting point for many lesser used backcountry trails.
Mariposa Grove - The Mariposa Grove is home to the tallest tree in Yosemite, the Columbia Tree. It also is home to the giant sequoias trees so large that cars used to be able to drive through the them.
Merced Grove - The Merced Grove is one of three sequoia groves in Yosemite Park. Merced is the only grove in the park that is not accessible by car. A rewarding two-mile hike leads the traveler to the grove of about 20 trees.
Pioneer Yosemite History Center - The Pioneer Yosemite History is a living history center where volunteers portray characters from Yosemite's past.
Tuolumne Grove - The former route of the Big Oak Flat Road leads downhill from Crane Flat into the Tuolumne Grove of Big Trees, a cluster of about 25 sequoias. A self-guided nature trail guides visitors.
Tuolumne Meadows - Tuolumne Meadows is a large, open sub-alpine meadow graced by the winding Tuolumne River and surrounded by majestic peaks and domes.
Yosemite National Park - Yosemite National Park is an expanse of wild lands that runs along part of California's Sierra Nevada. The park features alpine wilderness, groves of Giant Sequoias and the Yosemite Valley with impressive waterfalls, cliffs and unusual rock formations.
Yosemite Valley Visitor Center - The Yosemite Valley Visitor Center offers information, maps and wonderful presentations about Yosemite National Park. A great first stop in Yosemite Valley.
Special Considerations: The maximum speed limit is 45 mph along the byway. There are limited fueling opportunities, and there is a National Park entrance fee. To protect Yosemite's wilderness, there are quotas for overnight use. Free wilderness permits are required and are available at ranger stations and visitor centers. Be sure to read the information you receive with your permit and observe all regulations.
Restrictions: Tioga Road is closed during the winter from Crane Flat Jct. to Lee Vining due to snowfall. Please call Yosemite National Park - Visitor Information for updated road and weather information.
Recreation - The Tioga Road / Big Oak Flat Road is known for it's historical, natural, recreational and scenic attractions.
Climate - The High Sierra generally experiences warm, dry summers and cold, snowy and wet winters. Weather can change rapidly during all seasons of the year. Elevation plays a major role in temperature and precipitation. This precipitation falls mainly from October through April. At higher elevations, it comes mostly in the form of snow. A snowpack from 5-10 feet or more is usually present from December to May at elevations above 6,500 feet. Winter temperatures below zero and summer temperatures above 100 degrees indicate the normal seasonal spread. Clouds can build up during the summer to produce spectacular thunderstorm activity. It is wise to pack for any season with clothing that can be "layered," ready to peel off or add on as the thermometer dictates. Always include some kind of rain gear.
Tioga Road / Big Oak Flat Road leads through Yosemite National Park in the High Sierra Region of California. From Route 395 near Lee Vining on the east end of the byway, head west on Route 120. From Route 49 near Groveland on the west, head east on Route 120.
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