Today at noon the Tioga Pass road will open allowing travelers to drive into the high country of Yosemite National Park. Known as one of many trans-Sierra highways, Highway 120 (referred to as Tioga Pass Road inside Yosemite) travels West to East across northern Yosemite and reaches 9,943 ft. at Tioga Pass. This makes it the highest pass in California and the Sierra Nevada.
Tioga pass, like many other passes in the Sierra Nevada, has a gradual approach from the west and drops off to the east dramatically, losing more than 3,000 ft (914 m) by the time the road reaches U.S. Route 395. (this is where the famous MobilMart and Whoa Neli Deli is located.) 🙂 Tioga Pass is named after Tioga Mine, whose name originated in New York: “Tioga” is named for an Iroquois and Mohawk term meaning “where it forks”.
This highway and pass are closed each winter and openings usually occur in the spring once the road is plowed. For more information on the Tioga Road and plowing updates see here: www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tioga.htm