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:
Summer is for Hiking: 4-Mile Trail from Glacier Point to Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, September 22, 2012.
The day before my Dad’s birthday and the day of the Autumnal Equinox did the 4-Mile trail from Glacier Point. This is so one could walk down rather than up! The trail meanders downwards with switchbacks so that one is always facing the valley. My only regret is that it was so late in the season and Yosemite Falls had dried up – would like to try again when the falls are in full force. But that regret is only a minor one – the trail is filled with gorgeous vistas.
Arranged car shuttles for trip back up to Glacier Point after reaching the valley floor. Arrived back at Glacier Point just in time to capture the sunset’s light on Half Dome and a little bit later the moon over the pines.
Summer is for Hiking: Cathedral Lakes, Yosemite National Park, September 8, 2012 (Tuolumne Meadows area)
A week after Glen Aulin visited the Cathedral Lakes during September 2012. This trail is in the Tuolumne area of Yosemite. Lovely to have had nice-looking clouds in the sky to mirror in the water. A very beautiful effect happens as the wind travels upon the water creating rich ripples into that sky mirror (the water) and I have posted just one or two of the photos which hold that effect. Many stop at the nearest bank to have lunch/snacks but if you walk around the lake you will get a magnificent view of Tenaya Lake. The trail can go either way around the lake – the photos included here are lined up as going around the Lower Lake to the right and then wrapping along the left bank on return. Discovered a marmot who posed for multiple photos before heading along to the upper lake. The upper lake is surrounded by solid rock and interspersion of trees. A cluster of tents indicating campers were along the far side of the upper lake. A thunderstorm began while there so scurried back down to get below the tree line. I have pasted some information below describing location and altitude of the area. The hike itself has a few climbs but overall not bad at all.
“The Cathedral Lakes are two lakes located In Yosemite National Park, Mariposa County, California. The lakes are situated 1.6 km (1 mi) southwest of Cathedral Peak and 3.2 km (2 mi) east-northeast of Tenaya Lake. The lower lake is located at elevation 9,288 feet (2,831 m), while the upper lake is located at elevation 9,585 feet (2,922 m). The John Muir Trail is nearby, with a 7 miles (11 km) round trip hike of from the trailhead in Tuolumne Meadows.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedral_Lakes
The trail to Cathedral Lake is part of the John Muir Trail,
Summer is for Hiking: Glen Aulin Trail, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite Natl. Park, Ca. September 1, 2012
September 1, 2012 over Labor Day Weekend an impulsive but beautiful hiking choice. I should have had my hiking shoes this time as the trail has vertical cobblestones as one nears the falls. For some reason the hiking book in use had a distance of around 2 miles (a glaring typo) but by the time 2 miles was reached, definitely did not want to turn back. The hike to and from Toulomne Falls is more like 5 miles one way or more, depending on where you begin so 10-12 miles total. This hike has nearly everything you would wish for from cascades to the Tuolumne Falls and connectors to high mountain lakes (such as McGee Lake and more) and the High Sierra Camps. The trail is part of the Pacific Crest Trail and the mountains one walks alongside are 8000 plus feet high. Went to McGee Lake and High Sierra Camp Glen Aulin all in one day – a long hike! The trail is not clearly marked for the return along the huge slabs of rocks – noted many off the trail including myself. The trail runs along the boundary of the rock slabs and the forest (up) on the return.
This is a gorgeous and somewhat quiet section of Yosemite and even more so due to the inclement weather on this particular Saturday, July 30, 2011.
Water is everywhere due to the melting snow and the spring flowers are blooming. Small rivulets travel through meadows on their way to meet up with the larger rivers which may actually be oversized creeks – the area up here known as the Tuolomne watershed and sends water to hetch hetchy then sending it along to SF.
Due to the thunderstorms and rain along with the flooding out of parts of the trail, never made the walk around Elizabeth lake – could only view it from the distance shown here.
There are many trails up here in the High Sierras of Yosemite and cooler temperatures than in the valley. This particular hike is just north of the Tuolomne Meadows visitor center.