Tioga Trailheads Project

wooden trailhead sign


The Tioga Road is an historic travel route stretching 46 miles through the high country of Yosemite National Park. This trans-Sierra road began as a Native American footpath for trade and travel. It later became the great Sierra Wagon road and then a mining road. When the road first opened to regular park visitors in 1915 it was travelled by only 190 cars. Today Tioga Road is a seasonal highway used by over 500,000 travelers each year. The road is typically open from May to November, depending on weather conditions, and is closed each winter.

The Tioga Trailheads Project will establish corridor-wide trailhead design guidelines; it will identify actions needed to protect sensitive natural and cultural resources; and will identify areas where visitor safety, access, and enjoyment may be improved.

The project will also consider alternative means to improve traffic and pedestrian travel patterns, wayfinding, accessibility, picnicking facilities, food storage, waste management and the location of interpretive materials at select trailheads along the Tioga Road.

This project will address eight of the twelve designated trailheads along the Tioga Road, including (from east to west): Gaylor Lakes at Tioga Pass, Mono Pass, Snow Creek, May Lake, Porcupine, Yosemite Creek/Ten Lakes, Lukens Lake, and Tamarack Flat/Aspen Valley.


Why is this project needed now?

Several trailheads along the Tioga Road corridor are experiencing problems related to aging facilities, insufficient parking, confusing trailhead signs, and sites that were not designed to accommodate current use levels.

Some trailheads are experiencing problems related to erosion, loss of vegetation, and improper waste disposal that is having a negative effect on the surrounding landscape.

The Gaylor Lakes and Cathedral Lakes trailheads are being addressed in the Tuolumne River Plan (TRP) and the Sunrise and Murphy Creek trailheads will be addressed in the Tenaya Lake Area Concept Plan. The remaining eight trailheads will be addressed through the Tioga Trailheads Project

The Tioga Trailheads Project will:

•Establish Tioga Road trailhead design guidelines consistent with historic and contemporary values

•Focus use and improve site delineation to minimize trampling and erosion
•Restore impacted areas
•Ensure proper stormwater run-off to minimize erosion and mitigate impacts to surface water flow patterns
•Provide food storage where needed to ensure wildlife do not have access to human food
•Provide for continued American Indian traditional and cultural practices

•Ensure safe ingress and egress from trailhead parking areas
•Improve way-finding and signs
•Provide appropriate parking capacity
•Determine appropriate locations for visitor information, education and interpretation opportunities at trailheads
•Provide needed improvements for visitor accessibility
•Ensure proper trash and waste management

Draft Tioga Trailheads Project Public Scoping Report - 3/31/09 (188 kb PDF) (4/09)

A draft document is expected to be available for public review in late 2009. Click here for more information on how to participate in the Tioga Trailheads planning process.

Last updated: March 1, 2015

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