Tioga Pass Opens This Friday | All Eastern Sierra Mountain Passes Open for Travelers

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Credit: Mono County Tourism

Effective Friday, May 27th, all roads leading to Mono County will be open to road warriors seeking escape in the beautiful Eastern Sierra. Tioga Pass will officially reopen on May 27th at 9 am, marking the full opening of the three high elevation gateway passes that close each winter season and providing access to the pure natural wonder of California’s Eastern Sierra. Whether you’re coming from Southern California or the Bay Area, the scenic passes that lead to Mono County and its boundless activity and unparalleled adventure await!

A reservation is required to drive into or through Yosemite between 6 am and 4 pm through September 30; this includes travelers passing through the park on Tioga Road.

The annual “rite of passage” features the official opening of the three gateway mountain passes to the Eastern Sierra – Tioga Pass (SR 120), Sonora Pass (SR 108), and Monitor Pass (SR 89). The much-anticipated openings come after a lackluster winter weather season.

“We are excited to be reunited with the west side and welcome visitors and responsible recreation adventurers back to beautiful Mono County. The Eastern Sierra is the perfect place to unwind, explore, and recharge, and we appreciate the enthusiasm and respect for the environment that tourists bring to our corner of the state.”

– Bob Gardner, Chair of the Mono County Board of Supervisors

Reaching 9,943’ in elevation, the dramatic Tioga Pass connects Mono County to Yosemite National Park’s only east entrance. Typically closed during the winter months, from roughly November through May each year, Mono County locals and visitors alike celebrate the reopening, which provides access to the stunning and lesser-known attractions of Yosemite’s east side, including Tuolumne Meadows, Tenaya Lake, and Olmsted Point.

For those planning a visit, it’s important to note that a peak-hour reservation is required for all visitors, including annual and lifetime passholders, to drive into or through Yosemite between 6:00 am and 4:00 pm through September 30th. Click here for more information on reservations.

No reservation, but still want to visit Yosemite? Relax and enjoy the view (not the driving and parking) with a scenic bus ride from Mono County to several Yosemite stops with the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS). Bus tickets include the entrance reservation and the gate entrance fee into Yosemite National Park. Buses depart daily from Mammoth Lakes, June Lake, and Lee Vining from June 15th to October 15th and twice daily from July 1st to August 31st. Click here to purchase your YARTS bus tickets for the Highway 120/395 route.

Spring is in the air in Mono County – wildflowers are blooming, and waterfalls are rushing with snowmelt as the temperatures warm. Please remember that this special, wild landscape is fragile, and it’s incredibly important to follow Leave No Trace and responsible recreation guidelines. Additional information on Mountain Manners, maps, guides, and road trip ideas can be accessed here.

Map showing locations of Tioga, Sonora, Ebbetts, and Monitor passes in California.

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