This hike has, perhaps, one of the most interesting aesthetics of any in Yosemite. Straddled between the Western Slope of the Sierras—covered with streams, meadows, and gorgeous mountain vistas—and the Eastern Sierras—which is bone dry, with the Bloody Canyon and Mono Valley—it will feel like you’re passing between two worlds, a statement that might actually be completely accurate. The result of this aesthetic is a gorgeous hike that is surprising at every turn, providing hikers with some of the best photo-ops they will ever get. Truly, Mono Pass is a great hiking trail, and one everybody should experience at least once.
10,599 feet isn’t easy to breathe in, much less hike in, so make sure you are prepared for the lack of air afforded to you when you crest the pass. Furthermore, the 900 feet elevation gain, the 7.4 miles to 7.8 miles round trip, and the rocky trails all help make this hiking trail a strong 5/10 on our difficulty scale.
Though it can get busy, compared to Yosemite Valley, this trail is pretty empty, giving you the perfect opportunity to own it all by yourself. It’s definitely an overlooked wonder in Yosemite National Park, but don’t make the same mistake others do. It’s worth the trip!
Keep in mind, this path is only open when Tioga Road is open, so make sure you check the status before you make any plans. Normally, the road is open from June to November, but this is subject to change.