Tioga Road, officially designated as California State Route 120, is a spectacular and historic route that traverses the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. Known for its breathtaking scenery and as the eastern gateway to Yosemite National Park, this road stretches approximately 59 miles from Crane Flat to Lee Vining, where it descends to meet U.S. Route 395. Tioga Road is renowned for its high elevation, reaching its zenith at Tioga Pass, which is the highest highway pass in California and the Sierra Nevada. This scenic byway offers an array of natural wonders and recreational opportunities, including access to alpine lakes, meadows, and granite peaks. Notable stops along Tioga Road include Dog Lake, a serene and picturesque spot ideal for hiking and fishing. The road’s elevation and winding turns provide a unique driving experience, with stunning views of the Sierra Nevada’s rugged landscape.

As Tioga Road descends towards the eastern Sierra, it provides access to the unique and otherworldly Mono Lake. This ancient saline lake, known for its eerie tufa towers and alkaline waters, is a significant ecological and geological site. The lake’s high salinity and alkalinity create a unique ecosystem, supporting brine shrimp and attracting migratory birds, making it a paradise for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. Continuing eastward, Tioga Road connects to U.S. Route 395, a major north-south highway that leads to the town of Bishop. This route offers a scenic drive through diverse landscapes, including arid desert, lush valleys, and the towering peaks of the Sierra Nevada. The highway to Bishop is not only a vital transportation link but also a journey through some of the most varied and stunning terrains in California, making it a favorite among travelers seeking the beauty and grandeur of the American West.