Tioga Pass in Yosemite. When is this pass open?

Hello, you mollycoddles! How are you? Today we come to tell you a little bit about the Tioga Pass. An entrance to Yosemite National Park from the east, known for its mischief to tourists.

Index of Contents

What is the Tioga Pass?

Do you remember the post in which we told you about the guide to visit Yosemite? There we told you that there were 4 entrances to the park, but 3 were in the west and only one in the east.

Well, the Tioga Pass is the only road that allows us to drive into the park from the east. It does so through Tioga Road, a road that crosses the mountains of the Sierra Nevada and is at an altitude that reaches about 3000 meters in some of its points.

This altitude, in addition to beautiful landscapes, brings abundant snowfall as soon as the cold comes up. And after the snows, there is danger at the wheel, the roads are cut off… This makes the Tioga Pass the protagonist of the routes of many travellers. It depends on what time of year you want to go through it, it will be closed and that means that to visit Yosemite National Park you will have to go around the whole park. Or what is the same, add 8 more hours of driving…

When does the Tioga Pass open?

My fellow travellers, I wish it was always a fixed date, but it’s not. The first snowfall will dictate the closing date. For the opening one, it all depends on how the year has gone in terms of the amount of snow.

Leaving aside the obvious fact that every year it is one world, they usually start cleaning Tioga Road on April 15, but the road cleaning can take up to two months. This means that the full opening date of the Tioga Pass is usually sometime between May and June.

The closing date of the Tioga Pass is usually sometime in November. Hardly ever later. We left you a chart of the last 10 years.

Why does it take so long to clean it?

Well… we haven’t had a chance to record a live video of the area, during the clean-up. But we did get to see this video of the Olmsted Point opening

Nothing like seeing it to give you an idea of the magnitude of the snowfall in the area. And it’s not just clearing the road of snow (can you imagine how the snow is in there after so many months of solidification?), but also fixing any damage it may have caused on the road, removing fallen trees and stones, fixing services that have been damaged… Come on, it’s not a week’s work.

How to check the official opening date?

To check whether the Tioga Pass is open or not, always check the official website of Yosemite National Park. We’ll leave it here for you,

What to do if the Tioga Pass is closed?

Well, travellers, if the Tioga Pass is closed, don’t panic.

First of all: we have a good excuse to go back to the West Coast of the United States to visit the Tioga Road or the Tuolumne Meadows…

Second: patience at the wheel, here we explain the alternatives to the Tioga Pass offered by the park’s official website when this pass is closed. We leave you the example from three typical points: Las Vegas, Death Valley and Mammoth Lakes.

How to visit Yosemite from Las Vegas when the Tioga Pass is closed?

Location: You have enjoyed the 10 must-do plans in Las Vegas and now it’s time to head to Yosemite National Park with the Tioga Pass closed. No worries, as simple as that:

Take I-15 south to Barstow, one of the stops on the legendary Route 66 I made years ago. By the way, there you can take some pictures showing the route 66 sign and take notes for when you return to do the complete route. After this stop, head to Bakersfield, west on 58th, then north on 99th to Fresno. Once in Fresno, 41 will take you to Yosemite from the north.

This means about 800 km and about 8-10 hours of driving + stops.

How to visit Yosemite from Death Valley when the Tioga Pass is closed?

Situation: You are delighted with the warmth of Death Valley National Park and it is time to put on your jacket to visit Yosemite. Well, everyone in the car!

Take 190 west to US 395. Then head south on US 395 to US 14. Once in Mojave, it’s a matter of heading down 58th to Bakersfield and from there, to Fresno as in the previous section.

This is just over 700 km and it takes about 9 hours of driving.

How to visit Yosemite from Mammoth Lakes when the Tioga Pass is closed?

In the two previous options, we recommended you to deviate by the south of Yosemite, but this time, we will do it by the north.

Once you leave Mammoth Lakes, head north on 395 to Minden. Then, go west on the 757 to the 206 and again head south until you cross with the 207. Once you reach the meeting point of the two, go back north. The road will take us to the 50, which we will travel westward until we intersect with the 49. Once there, the question is to head south on 49th to 120th, which is the one that will take us to see Yosemite Valley.

And this “little turn” means about 600 km … Put with breaks about 8 hours of driving 😉

Well Molaviajeros, we hope this post about the Tioga Pass has been helpful. Remember that “all roads lead to Rome” only some are a little more bearable than others 😉. And do not forget, that for any doubt, we give you a hand through the contact form.

Printed Guide West Coast USA

And in case you want to have all the more information you have our guide to the West Coast of the United States in paper, you can buy it here

Tioga Pass in Yosemite. When is this pass open? was last modified: February 14th, 2020 by MolaViajar