Summer is for Hiking Part 3: Yosemite National Park, Mono Pass Trail to Spillover/ Spillway Lake, July 26, 2014
Trail Map and info for Mono Pass Trailhead – highlighted in yellow below. This map can be enlarged by clicking on it.
I highly recommend this hike – on the day I traveled, the temperatures were in the upper 70s and low 80s. Compare this to the Valley floor topping at 99 plus the smoke from the many fires – this was an outstanding meander into the wilderness. The hike is a steady upward climb – but nowhere extremely steep. The elevation gain is about 1000 feet over about approximately 4 miles.
Multiple meadows – one meadow after another currently full of wildflowers named appropriately Dana Meadows.This time I went to Spillover/Spillway Lake – next time I plan to go straight up to Mono Pass as there are a few additional lakes near the Pass (small ones), one named Summit Lake and just a bit further The Upper and Lower Sardine Lakes. It is also said you can view Mono Lake from up there as well. You can also take a trail /loop over to Mono Pass trail from Spillway Lake.
Below is the sign for Spillover Lake at around 2.3 miles. Go to the right for Spillover/Spillway Lake, go to the left for Mono Pass. The trail to the lake was still a bit marshy on spots – but most was dried out making late July a good time to do this hike. There are meadows and wildflowers everywhere.
In the photo below, look carefully to the right of the patch of snow and you will see a distant waterfall. It extends quite a ways and then disappears – one cannot see it descending into the lake.
On the return, going West. This should be Mount Dana to the North on the return stretch. It is above 13,000 feet. Next time, a trip to Dana lake from Tioga Lake. On the drive back down Tioga Road there was even more smoke and additional plumes – there seems to have been one the way up/ just one plume of smoke. Closer to the junction of Tioga Road and 120 there were visible flames and the surrounding air at times a mysterious greenish cast and other times this golden reddish cast. This was close to Yosemite Creek Campground. The NPS had highway 41 closed at 120 due to a new fire which had begun around 3:15 PM and is called the El Portal Fire and so could not get to 140 out so traveled out on 120, took the extension to Coulterville J20/ 132 then 49 over to Mariposa. Have done this once before – a route that is good to know. for backup plans such as this. Otherwise one needs to go over to 99, which is almost back to the Bay Area.
On this drive there were multiple fire crews traveling in and two trucks with bulldozers.
For fire information: