Lyell Canyon then Tioga Lake

July 31, 2012
Lyell Canyon and Tioga Lake
Total distance: 7.06 miles

Michelle accompanied me today on a hike of two trails in the high country: the John Muir Trail through Lyell Canyon; and Tioga Lake.

At the trailhead.

At the trailhead.

The Lyell Canyon trail began across the street from the parking lot of Tuolumne Meadows Lodge.

Tuolumne Meadows Lodge.

Tuolumne Meadows Lodge.

Early into the hike we crossed a bridge over the Dana Fork of the Tuolumne River, and again the twin bridges over the Lyell Fork where we sat near the water’s edge.  There were many people along the banks of the river and lots of people on the trail as well.

Twin bridges over the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River.

Twin bridges over the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River.

This trail is the way to the popular Vogelsang High Sierra Camp.  It is also part of the famous John Muir Trail (JMT).  [The JMT, named for naturalist John Muir, is a 211 mile trail that runs from Yosemite Valley through Tuolumne Meadows.  It parallels the Sierra Nevada mountain range through Yosemite ending at Mt. Whitney.]  The Pacific Crest Trail also intersects here making the Lyell Canyon trail a very crowded thoroughfare.

Lyell Canyon trail.

Lyell Canyon trail.

The path heading up Lyell Canyon and through the forest was quite dusty.  A footbridge spanned Rafferty Creek which was completely dry.  We came to an open meadow sprinkled with mauve-colored rye grass, and heard a mountain chickadee sing his song in the tree branches above.

A mountain chickadee.

A mountain chickadee.

We spied Kuna Crest in the distance and I recalled my favorite trail.  This was our turnaround point.

Kuna Crest (taken on June 21 from Spillway Lake trail).

Kuna Crest (taken on June 21 from Spillway Lake trail).

Back in the car, we drove to Tioga Lake, situated alongside Tioga Road.  It is a small glacial lake located ¾ of a mile from the Tioga Pass park entrance station. We walked down the steep trail through the trees to the north end of the lake.

The path out of the woods and down to the lake.

Out of the woods and down to the lake.

The nearby view of Mt. Dana was beautiful.

Mt. Dana

Mt. Dana

Soft white ranger buttons, vivid pink paintbrush, and lush lupine adorned the grassy meadow.

Paintbrush

Paintbrush

Lupine at Tioga Lake.

Lupine at Tioga Lake.

Michelle walked into the water and sunk to her ankles in the soft mud.

Michelle in Tioga Lake.

Michelle in Tioga Lake.

We sat for awhile enjoying the peaceful splendor of the lake before trekking back up the hill to the car, and eventually home.  I will come back to this lake someday.

Tioga Peak in the background.

Tioga Peak in the background.

6 thoughts on “Lyell Canyon then Tioga Lake

  1. Pamela Venus

    My husband Philip is currently hiking the JMT. I am posting pics to my FB page each day of his location to “follow his trail.” Would you be willing to give me permission to post some of your photos from this site on my FB page with a full credit line to you (please supply it as you want it to read)? Thank you so much!
    Pamela Venus

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    1. Janet Post author

      How fun, Pamela. It’s my dream to hike the JMT, but I doubt it will ever come true. Yes, you can use the photos. Thanks for asking. Where is he now?

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