Yosemite National Park is in the top 10 visited national parks in America. Its beauty is known worldwide as are the many hikes you can undertake in the park. Half Dome is a bucket list hike for many, however there are dozens of other hikes which are equally as stunning (and don’t require you to enter a lottery for a permit). My visit to Yosemite was during the 2013 Rim fires and we could not access our booked campsite. It was a devastating time in Yosemite and having grown up around bushfires, I could empathise with the local community and the firefighters doing everything to put out such an overwhelming bushfire. We were offered a campsite at Tuolumne Meadows, which we accepted gratefully, as we had planned our holiday to include Yosemite and it was a small way to support tourism in the area.
With only two nights booked, we planned a hike close to our campsite. After meeting our lovely campsite neighbours, who were seasoned national park volunteers (and travelled the country in their RV with their two cats), they recommended the Mono Pass hike – 12.9km (8 miles) round hike, commencing at Tioga Road.
When we woke up on day 2 of our Yosemite visit for the hike, our neighbours greeted us and gave us the great news they would join us on the hike, as it was one of their favourite hikes in the area. To our delight, we all set off and started hiking the trail. Not long after we were welcomed by a Park Ranger taking a hike on his day off. He decided to hike with us and provided us with the history and local knowledge of the hike – we could not ask for better hiking buddies!
I felt like the Mono Pass trail was a little secret. We did not pass anyone else along the way and we experienced expansive views overlooking pine forests, streams, Mono Lake and Bloody Canyon. The main animals we saw were roaming deer and we were lucky to get close to them.
The hike itself was a mix of fairly levels sections and steeps parts and you don’t need to be an experienced hiker to enjoy this hike.
Let my images below tempt you to including the Mono Pass trail as part of your visit to Yosemite.