Hike Mt. Hoffmann via the East Chute

Rate this Adventure Yosemite May Lake Trailhead

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    6 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    3000 Feet

Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
Romantic
Scenic
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

Altitude makes this a demanding climb, but be prepared for gorgeous views of pretty much the entirety of Yosemite National Park. The Peak is nearly 11,000 feet high and will make you feel like a mountaineer without the crampons. This is a slightly more technical way up, and nice because its more of a loop.

This is a solid, day long trip. It is a great hike with a bit of a scramble on the way up to the summit massif and then again at the nearly 11,000-foot peak of Mount Hoffmann. You will have what John Muir described as his favorite view of Yosemite. You can look down onto Half Dome and across the Landscape to Mount Lyell. 

To get here you need to drive on Tioga Pass road, which is closed in winter. You will start at the May Lake trailhead, at about 9,000 feet of elevation. You will hike for about half an hour up to May Lake. From here follow the trail along the southern edge of the lake, heading west towards the mountain. This trail will meander through some meadows and forests rising moderately before breaking through the tree line. Here the trail gains elevation rapidly while winding through huge amounts of talus. Keep an eye on the cairns. Soon there will be a split in the trail. You can either either continue north west towards the true summit, or you can go north to the giant gulley you can see. Walk along the boulders with a huge cliff at your left, and once you get to the chute, start ascending. Here you are surrounded by rock on three sides and a view of May lake at your back. Be careful if there is still snow present. After a couple hundred feet you will arrive at the summit massif and to your right is a lesser known peak. 

From this peak you are actually able to see May Lake, which is nice. You can then walk west along the massif and soon you will see the true peak. This will require another scramble to reach. Here is where you will get the best views. Be careful while enjoying the views, however. Drops are deadly. You will be pretty high up, therefore altitude sickness is possible. Give yourself about 3 hours to get back to the car. I would recommend walking down the normal trail, the chute can be kinda sketchy. I'm including Google Earth image of where the chute is, its the path on the right of both images. It adds a bit of time to the hike, but it is worth it.

Bring lots of water, you will dry out crazy fast up here and have Sunscreen and Sunglasses, the sun is super strong on the exposed mountain. Burns are likely. Snow may be present in winter it is possible to snowshoe to the trailhead, that would be a mission though.

Pack List

  • Backpack 
  • Lots of Water 
  • Dress in Layers 
  • Hiking Boots 
  • Lunch 
  • Snacks 
  • Sunscreen 
  • Camera 
  • Survival Knife etc. 
  • Sunglasses
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