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Tioga Road

The highest highway pass in California and Sierra Nevada Mountains


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Tioga Road is a section of California State Route 120, located in Sierra Nevada mountains, in Mono County, California. It includes the eastern entry point for Yosemite National Park, at the Tioga Pass Entrance Station. Tioga Road has the length of 63 km (39 mi), stretching from Crane Flat to Lee Vining. It runs by Olmsted Point, Tenaya Lake, Tuolumne Meadows, and peaks on Tioga Pass with an altitude 3,031 m (9,945 ft) above sea level.

The scenic road offers a view of Mount Dana and a few trail heads that start at Tioga Pass and continue into Yosemite. It includes the trail to the Gaylor Lakes and the trail to the Mount Dana summit. Below the road lie picturesque Dana Meadows with several lakes. Drivers pass forests, meadows, lakes, and granite mountains. It ends at the salt water Mono Lake, nestled among tufa towers and rugged peaks. Tioga Pass was named after Tioga Mine, that has got its name from an Iroquois and Mohawk word "tioga" which means "where it forks." The road was built in 1882-1883 for mining purposes and was modernized in 1961.

The road is open to traffic from late spring through mid-fall. It usually gets closed after the first significant snowfall of November. In some years it has remained closed as late as early July due to abundant snow. Tioga Pass road is the shortest route from Bishop or Mammoth Lakes, California to Fresno, Merced, and Stockton.

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