2012 Mt Dana

Description: 5.6 mile round trip day hike from the Tioga Pass entrance station to the top of Mt Dana.

Mt Dana at 13,061 ft is the 2nd highest peak in Yosemite National Park, second only to Mt Lyell. It's under 3 miles and a little over 3,000 feet up to the summit from the Tioga Pass entrance station. The plan was to drive from the SF Bay Area, hike to the summit, and return home. The weather forecasted ideal conditions - clear and sunny skies after a few days of snowfall. I anticipated a little over 6 hours for the round trip. The trailhead parking lot was empty so I knew I had the mountain to myself.

The hike begins across Dana Meadows which was mostly snow-free and passes a few ponds/lakes along the way.

Soon the trail enters a more forested region where more snow has accumulated.

Glad to have my Kahtoola microspikes for the crusty and slippery snow. These were ideal for today as they are easy to remove and put back on as conditions required.

This is about 1 1/4 miles into the hike, looking back at Dana Meadows.

The path levels off a bit here, 1 3/4 miles from the trailhead. I could never understand the need to build cairns, especially here where the direction up or down is so obvious. It's such a massive one too. Leave no trace!

I veered towards the ridge for a lunch stop with exquisite views. I was also amused by the frowning face below. This is facing north.

Northwest view. Tioga Lake below, Saddlebag Lake to the upper right, and the highest peak in the top center is Mt Conness.

About a quarter mile from the summit. There are no trails here so just make your own route. I believe the Park has been working on an official trail to the summit but you wouldn't be able to see it under the snow anyways.

Mono Lake viewed on the way to the summit.

Northern view from the summit.

View south to west from the summit. Mt Lyell, at 13,120 ft, bests Mt Dana for the tallest Yosemite mountain by a mere ~60 ft, and is visible in the top center, 2 major mountain peaks to the right of the panoramic stitch line.

Panoramic L-R from south to north.

After about 30 minutes on the summit, it was time to head down.

The weather, snow conditions, crowds (lack of) were perfect for this easily accessible and fabulously scenic hike.