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Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park

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Re: Mount Dana dayhike

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Mount Dana dayhike
August 14, 2019 10:07PM
Did this as a conditioning trip on Monday. Would recommend for anyone looking for a challenge!

The trail is unofficial (not shown on most maps). Supposedly 4 miles each way, with 3100 feet of elevation gain. The trailhead is a large turnout just east of the Tioga Pass entrance (outside the park, although most of the trail is in the park). The first mile or so is a level walk through lush, open forest with lots of shallow ponds. (We saw no mosquitoes to speak of, but this area must be full of them earlier in the season.) Then it starts to climb steeply, quickly passing treeline and entering a wilderness of talus, punctuated only rarely by hardy tufts of grass. Excellent views of Tuolumne Meadows and the east-central part of the park. Near the summit, the trail becomes less distinct and at times difficult to follow, but remains marked with enormous cairns several feet high. We had to cross two snow patches, but they'll soon be trodden down to rock. Parts of the trail had a stiff breeze coming up from the valley, but the summit was surprisingly calm. (There is a small stone wind shelter, though.) And we were amazed to be greeted by a flock of butterflies, seemingly unfazed by the elevation and total lack of food. The trail is all on the west face, so eastward views only appear at the summit.

It took us 4 hours up and about 3 hours to return, taking our time to avoid altitude sickness. Admittedly, we were probably the slowest hikers on the mountain that day, but most of the other people we saw were tough as nails. There were about 20 people on the trail, including us.
Re: Mount Dana dayhike
August 15, 2019 04:36AM
I've attempted it twice. I wasn't prepared the first time and ran out of water, so we bailed. The second time thunderstorms were in the area, so we bailed again. So you're right, it is a challenge. At least it was for us.
Re: Mount Dana dayhike
August 18, 2019 08:31AM
Mount Dana's scenery is very rewarding. I hiked it once when I was younger and it took me 3 hours to the top and 2 to come down. We did rush down as it was October and the clouds were starting to build up. We spent the night before in Mammoth to acclimatize.
Re: Mount Dana dayhike
August 18, 2019 09:54AM
I can remember very aggressive marmots up there forty-five years ago. They were willing to put their paws on your legs to eat out of your hand....

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Re: Mount Dana dayhike
August 19, 2019 08:45PM
And I, who love marmots, didn't see a single one on my hike! Probably because it was October and they had all hit the sack ….
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