Super Bloom 2017 was truly magnificent! I took several little trips around California that spring, enjoying the wondrous blooms that seemed to be almost everywhere: Carrizo Plain, Anza Borrego Desert State Park, and California Poppy Preserve were some of my favorite stops. I visited Yosemite National Park in June, hoping to see some wildflowers there as well. My first stop was Yosemite Valley.
For the rest of that Yosemite trip, I had planned to drive across Tioga Pass Road to see what might be in bloom. The road closes for winter every year, usually opening again by late May, so I did not foresee travel problems. In 2017, however, the road did not open until the end of June. Thus, my plan for driving over the pass had to wait.
I tried again in August on a beautiful sunny day, and the drive was wonderful. The route started near the Big Crane Flat Road, taking Highway 120 east, traveling about 90 miles from Yosemite Valley to the Eastern Entrance to Yosemite. The initial easy ascent into the mountains showcased some great wildflowers.
As the elevation increased, the flowers gave way to trees, rocky hillsides, and eventually open vistas.
Olmstead Point is always a great place to stop and park. There are even some short hikes that start from this parking area. The views are incredible. I especially liked the big boulders that seem to be randomly scattered across the hills like marbles, awaiting for someone to come back and play.
Moving further east, Lake Tenaya came up alongside the road. It is the largest natural lake in Yosemite National Park that is so close to a roadside. If you take the time to stop and explore, there are some hikes in the area as well.
Highway 120 finally travels past Toulumne Meadows, my favorite part of the drive. This sub-alpine meadow sits 8,755 feet high. Although flowers were not extensive, the meadows were beautiful and expansive.
At various stops along the meadow, I took some videos to capture the panoramic sense of the meadows.
Moving beyond Tuolumne Meadows, the route finally reached Tioga Pass, at an elevation of 9.943 feet. Then it was a steep decline the six miles to the Eastern Entrance. The road passed Tioga Lake before connecting with Highway 395.
ANY DAY ANYWHERE IN YOSEMITE IS A GOOD DAY!