Hike to Tuolumne Peak Plateau

Details

Distance

12 miles

Elevation Gain

1800 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Added by Emily Noyd

When Yosemite feels too busy, this hike provides some much needed solitude, heather meadows, and surprisingly accessible views of the High Sierra. Camp overnight at the base of Tuolumne Peak or incorporate this route into a longer one-way trip to Ten Lakes.

The most direct route begins at Murphy Creek trailhead, on the north side of Tioga Road near Tenaya Lake. Walk north on Murphy Creek trail for 2.5 miles with minimal elevation gain. Polly Dome Lakes are a great side trip via the social trail on the right side of the trail before the first junction. (Camping there is allowed, with a wilderness permit.) The trail continues to Glen Aulin, but turn left at the junction towards Ten Lakes/May Lake. After only 0.4 miles, turn right at the next junction towards Ten Lakes.

From there, the trail lopes up gentle switchbacks on the forested east facing slope. The plateau is distinct: you'll top out after about 2.5 miles. It's a beautiful island of rock with sweeping northward views at the base of Tuolumne Peak... Which is oddly unimpressive from this angle despite standing at 10,845 ft. Luckily the surrounding peaks don't disappoint. Camping is permissible up here with a wilderness permit, but please no campfires because the elevation is above 9,600. It can be tough to find spots 100 ft from water or trail, but worth the effort for tucked away camping that doesn't disturb the fragile meadows. 

By descending the west side of the plateau to the South Fork of Cathedral Creek, the trip can continue to Ten Lakes Basin for a second or third night. Catch a shuttle or hitchhike back to the car at Murphy Creek. Otherwise, turn around after enjoying the plateau and exit via the same trail.

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Know for

Rock Climbing
Camping
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Forest
Scenic
Wildflowers

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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