Yosemite National Park's Tioga Pass is at 9,941 feet elevation. It's on the east side of the park, six miles east of Tuolumne Meadows on CA Hwy 120. It's not much of a destination - like most mountain passes, it's the highest point you pass on your journey - but it's important to know about because it's the gateway to eastern California if you're coming from Yosemite, and that gate isn't always open.
One of the few places where you can get across the Sierras, Tioga Pass closes with the winter's first snow and opens with the spring thaw. The exact opening date depend on weather, but it is usually open to vehicles from late May or early June through mid-November. Check Tioga Pass opening and closing dates by year to get a better idea of the ranges of dates.
The drive to Tioga Pass is one of the most scenic in the Sierras, according to National Geographic magazine. Read their account of it.
Just a few miles east of Tioga Pass, where CA Hwy 120 crosses US Hwy 395, you'll find a gas station, not so unusual as gas stations go, but legendary for the quality of the food served at its Whoa Nellie Deli, which serves everything from grilled salmon to fish tacos and hamburgers.
Tioga Pass Lodging
Just east of Tioga Pass and outside the Yosemite east entrance, you'll find Tioga Pass Resort, a rustic accommodation that some folks say is a bit of heaven.
Getting to Tioga Pass
From the east or west, the only way to get to Tioga Pass is on CA Hwy 120. Tioga Pass is the highest automobile pass in the Sierras, so be sure your vehicle is up to it, with plenty of gasoline in the tank - and check the current Tioga Pass road conditions.
Because the highway passes through Yosemite National Park, you'll have to pay their admission fee to use it. If you're not stopping inside the park and just want to get across the mountains, you might try Sonora Pass on CA Hwy 108 instead.