Sunrise light on a grove of tufa towers emerging from the water of Mono Lake with soft green and dusty-red wild grasses in the foreground, Canada geese in the shallow water with reflections of the rocky towers, and desert hills in the distance.

Eastern access to Tioga Pass delayed

Highway 120, Tioga Road, is closed for the winter about four miles from Highway 395, near the bottom of the 3,000-foot grade between Lee Vining and Tioga Pass. By early May the road is usually opened to the top from the east, about 12 miles from Highway 395 (check here for the change in mileage to know when it opens), allowing skiers easy access to spring skiing in the snow-covered high country. The road within Yosemite National Park remains closed through most of May.

Last night at the Mono Basin Regional Planning Advisory Committee meeting (always a great source of up-to-date info usually the second Wednesday of each month), Mark Logan, the Caltrans Lee Vining Road Maintenance Supervisor, said it would be “several weeks” before they open the gate on Highway 120 at the bottom of the hill and allow access to Tioga Pass. He said there were lots of rocks to clear from the road at Blue Slide, and some boulders that needed blasting.

In addition, as I write this, we are having yet another strong spring snowstorm here in Lee Vining, as can be seen turning the ground white in our Webcams. This very snowy April—almost triple our average precipitation so far—is really good news for Mono Lake, but not so good news for the road crews trying to open Tioga Pass, who have made it only four miles from Crane Flat through a six-foot snowpack as of April 20th.