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Re: Old Tioga Pass Road/Trail

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avatar Old Tioga Road/Trail
October 26, 2011 03:42PM
This past Friday and Tuesday I went exploring the old Tioga Road between the Yosemite Creek Campground and the Porcupine Creek Campground.

Even though this part of the road is listed as a trail on all official National Park Service maps of Yosemite and on all topo maps including those from the USGS, this portion of the road is a trail (or road) in name only. Simply put, there doesn't seem to have been any type of official trail maintenance done to this trail/road for at least the past 15 if not 20 years. I base this estimate on the size and height of the young pines and firs growing out of the former roadbed in many spots that simply obliterate the road with super dense growth of the firs and pines (which I don't think is healthy for the forest too). Also there are many large fallen trees all over the road/trail making it difficult to stay on the old road.

The only sign of human maintenance of the trail/road are very occasional orange ribbons on some of the young fir/pine trees marking where the road is.

I was able to traverse many parts of the trail between the new Tioga Road and the Yosemite Creek Campground only by hiking off the road 10 to 50 feet on either side of it since most of that was open forest. As mentioned above, the road itself has become in many spots small very dense groves of young fir and pine trees. (Note that many portions of the old Big Oak Flat Road and the old Wawona Road are in FAR better condition that this official trail.)

Here's a link to 360º panorama I took of the Old Tioga Road near where it intersects with the new Tioga Road (about 50 below the T12 Yosemite Road Guide Marker on the new Tioga Road). This portion of the road is very clear of most debris (outside of an occasional downed tree). Further down the trail, the conditions get a hell of a lot worse:

Old Tioga Road: 360º Panorama

I'll post more photos of the road and its sorry state when I have more time.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/05/2011 03:16PM by plawrence.
avatar Re: Old Tioga Pass Road/Trail
October 26, 2011 04:53PM
This trail is a four lane highway compared to trail to North Mountain:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?1,29235,29519#msg-29519

Mentioned this trail in the past. Pretty much if the park service isn't going to do any maintenance... then
they should take the darn trail off the park map imo. They've done it before...
Or you could ask why they can't maintain a trail at least once every 10 years when they can
literally sweep pine needs off others. (o wait, I have)



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Old Tioga Pass Road/Trail
October 26, 2011 05:22PM
The irony is that the old road basically would be a four-lane highway for hikers if would be cleared. Many parts of the old road are actually quite wide, I estimate around 12' to 15' in width. And would actually be a very nice and scenic east-west trail linking the two campgrounds (Yosemite Creek and Porcupine Creek) with a couple of nice viewpoints are some nice groves of Aspens along the old road or nearby.

With all that money that the Yosemite Conservancy so publicly spent fixing up some other park trails, one would have thought they could have spend just a tad more money on this trail just to least cut a path through some of the deadfall blocking the trail and cutting down a few of the young pines and firs to create at least a small path through them.


avatar Re: Old Tioga Pass Road/Trail
October 26, 2011 05:33PM
It wouldn't take much money at all. Been on it a couple of times.

The park just doesn't want to maintain it at all. Why? beats me
Instead they send the same jerk to Benson Lake to cut 10 trees a year.
(and you can quote me on that)

Anyway, it's a walk in the park tho compared to North Mtn.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Old Tioga Pass Road/Trail
October 26, 2011 05:50PM
Yeah, I found that hiking along it (or maybe I should say around it) wasn't too difficult simply because it was easy enough to go off trail and hike through the open forest where the road was overrun with deadfall or young pine trees. Still, it's a pity that the Park Service has stopped maintaining it.


Re: Old Tioga Pass Road/Trail
October 26, 2011 06:06PM
Quote
plawrence
Yeah, I found that hiking along it (or maybe I should say around it) wasn't too difficult simply because it was easy enough to go off trail and hike through the open forest where the road was overrun with deadfall or young pine trees. Still, it's a pity that the Park Service has stopped maintaining it.

Yeah, I feel the same way about the other old roads as well. I don't expect them to clear the rockslides off the lower OBOFR (much less blast the debris field from the lower several hundred feet of the Coulterville Road) but clearing out some of this dense stuff along the old roads would not only make these more readily passable, it would probably preserve them MUCH longer (for example, there's one stretch on the lower Coulterville Road where the manzanita roots have so cracked the road (which freezing water than infiltrates and breaks open) that the remaining road is not much more than 10 or 12" wide (yes that's 10 or 12 INCHES). A few more years and I expect that section will be gone altogether, making the lower section of this road impassable to all but people with at least basic rock climbing skills. I'm not asking that they repair these sections but if they simply kept the vegetation somewhat in check, these roads (which do make absolutely wonderful trails and which will transport you in to the past better than almost anything else in Yosemite) could last a LOT longer.

On the other hand, I'm a bit ambivalent about how much I'd want them maintained. I certainly wouldn't want them to become as popular as The Mist Trail or the other trails that can rival a New York City street for pedestrian clutter and one of the things I love so much about them is they are easily accessible, can be hiked for almost any distance you choose and yet, you'll rarely see a soul on them (unless it's the souls of ghostly travellers from another age (if your imagination runs that way)). Still, it seems a shame that these wonderful monuments to an earlier age are being allowed to disintegrate.
avatar Re: Old Tioga Pass Road/Trail
October 26, 2011 06:18PM
But what's really sad about the Old Tioga Pass Road is that it is still listed as a trail in all the NPS maps of Yosemite (unlike most of the Coulterville Road, the Old Big Oak Flat Road, or the old Wawona Road). So one would think the Park Service would at least do a bit of maintenance on it for goodness sakes.


avatar Re: Old Tioga Pass Road/Trail
October 26, 2011 06:40PM
The pink chicken's example (North Mountain) is also shown as a trail in a copy of the NPS brouchure that, strangely, shows "(Gold Star) GPO 2011 [blah] Reprint 2008". Perhaps the time machine is having a few problems.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/26/2011 06:42PM by ttilley.
avatar Re: Old Tioga Pass Road/Trail
October 26, 2011 09:50PM
Coulterville up to Foresta used to be on the park map.
The prob. took it off on the next version after the big rock slide...
I leave that to the reader as an exercise...

OBOFR up from the valley certainly didn't used to get the traffic it
does now. After backpacker magazine did a article on a route up
it, use skyrocketed... (I've mentioned this in the past).
It's my hope it goes back into obscurity... unfortunately that is doubtful
due to the Intermanet.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Old Tioga Pass Road/Trail
October 26, 2011 06:53PM
Quote
plawrence
The only sign of human maintenance of the trail/road are very occasional orange ribbons

You sure those are pink feathers?
avatar Re: Old Tioga Road/Trail
November 10, 2011 12:58PM
Here are five short videos of the Old Tioga Road trail conditions that I've uploaded to YouTube:





















avatar Re: Old Tioga Road/Trail
November 10, 2011 01:43PM
And here are a couple of photos from my Motorola Droid that shows how young pine and fir tress have overrun and grown on top of the actual roadbed of the old Tioga Road.



and





Re: Old Tioga Road/Trail
October 13, 2012 03:48AM
I tried to hike this segment last year and was shocked to find it in such terrible condition. This road was only abandoned in 1961 and was fully paved at the time it was abandoned. It boggles the mind that it is in far worse shape than most of the other old roadways in the park, all of which have been abandoned for significantly longer than this section of the Old Tioga Road. The only thing I can figure is that, unlike the other roads which were essentially left to rot in place, the NPS actively tried to obiliterate the Old Tioga Road by breaking up the asphalt and scattering pine seedlings over it -- which can be the only explanation for the dense growth of young conifers that largely obscures the actual roadbed today. It would have been much healthier in the long run if they had simply left the road in its then-current state to slowly decay over the next few generations. My parents can remember the slow traffic going up the long grade from Yosemite Creek CG to Porcupine Flat in the 1950s, with the large American cars of that time attempting to pass each other on the narrow, steep roadway. Hard to believe that something so recently abandoned looks the way it does now.

My dream one day is to hike the entire length of the Old Tioga Road from Carlon to Lee Vining (technically the segment from Tioga Pass to Lee Vining was not built until several decades after the rest of the road was constructed, but its history is also fascinating and is hard to separate from the rest of the route at least in terms of its relevance as a YNP thoroughfare, as opposed to a mining road). Almost all of the old route is on a separate alignment from the current Tioga Road, with the exception of short segments at Tenaya Lake and in a couple of places east of Tuolumne Meadows, although I haven't quite been able to pin down its exact location in the Fairview Dome area.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/13/2012 03:53AM by Rob65.
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