Though not the most picturesque area in Yosemite, Pothole Dome and Tuolumne River are filled with variety and beautiful backdrops that make it more than worth its short round trip distance. Rewarding views of the Tuolumne River, Tuolumne Meadows, and the always gorgeous mountain backdrops, reflected in the pools of the Tuolumne, all provide an amazing experience for hikers willing to forgo their normal routes and try something new. True, not many would mention this hiking spot in the same breath as any in the Yosemite Valley; however, it is definitely something to check out, particularly if you have some free time.
Best Time to Visit
Like all of the Tioga Road hiking trails, you can only reach this when the Tioga Road is open, so aim for June through October. Other than that, it’s worth it pretty much the entire time it is accessible.
Overall, it’s a pretty mild hike. You may have some elevation sickness to deal with, if that is a problem with you, but the hike itself is easy going. The only dicey part comes with the fact that Pothole Dome does not actually have a path leading up to it, leaving the trailblazing up to you. Fortunately, it’s completely safe, and you shouldn’t ever feel out of your league, as it is relatively tame the entire way up.
Hiking Time and Distance
It is only a 2.5 mile hike, and it should only take you 1.5 – 3 hours. But, it does have some pretty nice scenery, so keep that in mind if you’re the type who likes to take loads of pictures.