Tioga Time: The Sierra Route Opens

Need to head from Groveland to Mono Lake? Your route just got shorter.

BEAM ME UP, TIOGA PASS: There aren't many notable, traverse-able wormholes these days, at least beyond the ones found in "Star Trek" and other works of science fiction. But they do exist upon our planet, and even if travel from Point A to Point Somewhere Truly Faraway isn't instantaneous, it is still pretty impressive (and sometimes flat-out pretty, but more on that in a moment). Take the Tioga Road, the bit of Highway 120 that rambles through Yosemite National Park and the glorious meadows and peaks of the Sierra. It's something of a real, honest-to-goodness wormhole, at least of the terrestrial sort, but like all good science-fiction wormholes it closes now and then, just to keep the plot interesting. Okay, it closes due to snow, copious amounts of snow, snow that shuts things down around November, usually, with a springtime re-opening. It isn't an immediate re-opening -- the plows go to work on the high-elevation thoroughfare in the middle of April -- but when it does open it sure makes people happy, especially those who love to knock about the Sierra during the summer, hiking, fishing, camping. And, you got it, Tioga watchers...

WEDNESDAY, MAY 18... is the official 2016 opening of the Sierra road. That means if you're in Groveland, and you're craving a breakfast burrito at the Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining, you don't have to make the four-ish to five-ish hour drive on a more northern or southern road. You'll get there in an hour (plus change), thanks to the Tioga Road welcoming all vehicles. Oh, for sure, life isn't about the rush in the Sierra, so whatever road you take, be it the Tioga or another byway, ease up and pull over for vistas. But, yeah, if a favorite hike is awaiting you on the other side of the Sierra, and a breakfast burrito, too, a seasonal and spectacular wormhole does come in mighty handy. 

NOTE: There's still trail snow off the Tioga, and colder temps do abound, and YNP recommends checking on road conditions, pre-heading out. Solid advice, so start here, with this phone number.

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