- Running east and west through Yosemite National Park
- 64 miles (103 km)
- 1.5 hours to drive or three hours to visit places along the way.
- Spring, Summer, and Fall
- There is a fee to enter Yosemite National Park.
Tioga Road/Big Oak Flat Road is an epic drive through the nation's first federally protected land, Yosemite National Park. The classic natural beauty of this area sweeps up massive granite domes and crystal-clear waterfalls in its scope.
Tioga Road/Big Oak Flat Road bisects Yosemite National park and can be accessed by HWY 120 coming from either the east or west outside of the park.
The majority of visitors rarely stray from the road so hiking for a half hour can deliver free and quiet seclusion. For the adventurous, take the 14-mile round trip hike to Cloud's Rest. The trail begins at the midpoint of the Byway at Tenaya Lake and ends on a tiny precipice with sheer cliffs on three sides. No matter what path is taken in the park, Yosemite's iconic granite domes, dense conifer forests, and monolithic waterfalls are all within easy reach.
Please note that Tioga pass does not open until the end of May or June. It can open as late as June 24th.
Points of Interest Along The Way
**These areas can be accessed by this road, but are not visible by this scenic route.**
Big Oak Flat Station (CA)
The Big Oak Flat Information Station offers an immense amount of information about Yosemite National Park. A definite stop for those wanting to learn more about the area.
The station is located just past the Big Oak Flat Entrance to Yosemite National Park.
El Capitan (CA)
World-famous for rock climbing, BASE jumping, and other frightening activities, El Capitan is the tallest cliff in the valley.
Take Big Oak Flat Road on the western end of the byway to El Capitan.
Glacier Point (CA)
Just south of Yosemite Village
Half Dome (CA)
One of the most famous sights in the valley, Half Dome's unique shape soars over 1300 feet from the valley floor.
Near the western end of the Byway, turn onto Big Oak Flat Road and follow it to Yosemite Village. From there, take the shuttle to the trail head.
Hetch Hetchy Reservoir (CA)
Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, a source of drinking water for San Francisco, is also home to spectacular scenery and is the starting point for many less-used back-country trails. Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is located 40 miles from Yosemite Valley via Highway 120 and Evergreen and Hetch Hetchy Roads. Although the road to Hetch Hetchy is open year-round, it may close periodically due to snow in winter and spring.
Though one of the most controversial structures politically and environmentally, the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is still very much an integral part of the valley.
Located about 15 miles north of the Big Oak Flat Entrance to Yosemite National Park.
Enjoy a weekend camping in this national forest, which joins eastern California with western Nevada.
Inyo National Forest (CA)
Located in California's beautiful Eastern Sierra, the Inyo National Forest offers clean air, crystal blue skies, mountain lakes and streams, challenging trails, high mountain peaks, and beautiful views.
Mariposa Grove (CA)
The mighty sequoia is the largest living thing on earth, and has survived more than 2,000 years despite forest fires and human pressure. Yosemite is one of the few locations where the sequoias can be found, growing in any of three sequoia groves.
Mariposa Grove is the largest of the groves. The grove is home to 'Grizzly Giant', thought to be the oldest of all the sequoias, at 2,700 years old. The greatest of the trees have trunk diameters of over 30 feet! Though the more slender Redwood along California's coast surpass the sequoia in height, the much more robust sequoia is no shorty, with the highest measuring in at over 300 feet. If a resource had to be chosen for being the most photographed by the park's visitors, it would probably be the giant sequoia.
The Mariposa Grove is located just east of the South Entrance to Yosemite National Park. Though quite a distance from the actual byway, it is well worth the drive.
Merced Grove (CA)
The Merced Grove is one of three sequoia groves in Yosemite Park. Merced is the only grove in the park that is not accessible by car. A rewarding two-mile hike leads the traveler to the grove of about 20 trees.
Merced Grove is located 4.5 miles south of the Big Oak Flat Entrance to Yosemite National Park.
Pioneer Yosemite History Center (CA)
The Pioneer Yosemite History Center, located in Wawona, hosts a variety of structures, each representing different eras of Yosemite history. The structures were originally constructed in various locations around the park, but were all moved to the center's current location in the 1950s and 1960s. During the summer months, volunteers portray actual characters from Yosemite's past.
The History Center is located in Wawona along Highway 41. It is just north of the South Entrance to Yosemite National Park.