Mount Dana Trail in Yosemite National Park
Although there is no official trail up Mount Dana, a fairly well defined use trail climbs to the summit. This path starts at a small parking area for official vehicles adjacent to the Tioga Pass Entrance of Yosemite National Park. At the beginning, the path is fairly level as it passes through forest. In this section, you will pass a few very scenic small lakes and some wildflowers after the snow melts. Soon enough, the trail starts to climb, and climb STEEPLY. It doesn’t take too long for the trail to climb above the timberline. When this happens, the views REALLY start to open up and get more spectacular as you climb more and more. Eventually, you reach a plateau area about midway through the hike. Some of this plateau is grassy, but most is quite rocky. But given the views and the otherworldly look and feel of the immediate surroundings, it is all spectacular. Eventually, however, the climbing resumes. Although many will say the trail disappears in the final climb, it is actually quite well defined. At least when all the snow is melted. If you DO end up losing the trail, simply look for the large rock cairns which lead the way up to the summit. The climb here is pretty steep. And if you are sensitive to altitude, it can start to affect you here, as you are now above 12000ft. But soon enough, you reach the summit. It is hard to say what is the most spectacular summit in California (or even Yosemite). But Mount Dana HAS to be up there. Most notable is the view of Mono Lake, over 6000 feet below you. Tuolumne Meadows spreads out to the west. And to the north and south, you are surrounded by other high peaks in the Sierra. Enjoy the view for a while, and head back down the way you came up.