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Guide to Tuolumne Meadows Trails (1960) by Allan Shields


Golden Crown Mine
Cabins in Mono Pass,
Mount Lewis at right.
[click to enlarge]

Hubbard, NPS
Golden Crown Mine Cabins in Mono Pass, Mount Lewis at right. Hubbard, NPS

VI. MONO PASS AND HISTORIC GOLDEN CROWN MINES

(3-moderate all-day hike, 1200 ft., 10 miles).

On this trip you will travel an ancient Indian and explorer trail. The Indians brought pine nuts, obsidian for making arrowheads, and other articles of subsistence over from Mono Lake to the western slope of the Sierra. Along the trail you will find old miners’ cabins, and at the site of the Golden Crown Mines you will find several mines, as well as a large cluster of weathered cabins. From the Mono Pass area you will be able to see part of Mono Lake and the desert-like expanse running to the White Mountains in Nevada. The Sardine Lakes, a short way over the pass, invite fishing.

Directions: Drive 5.6 miles up the road toward Tioga Pass. A parking area will be on the right of the road. By walking straight on down the road you will find the start of the trail leading to Mono and Parker Passes. Very soon it crosses the Dana Fork of the Tuolumne River. Early in the season, it may be necessary to remove socks, shoes, and possibly more, to wade across. Follow the trail and trail signs up to Mono Pass. The trail parallels Mt. Gibbs’ base (on your left as you start). Before the hike is completed you should have a new appreciation for the size of Gibbs and other mountains! To return, retrace your up route. The descent is gradual.

Special Features: You may want to read “Indians of Yosemite” before making this trip, so numerous are the historical meanings on the way. Outstanding features are the northerly facing grey cliffs of Kuna Crest (on your right as you go up the trail). clearly exhibiting several cirques glacial polish and erratics, as seen on Lembert Dome. Contrast the granite of Kuna Crest with the red metamorphic quartzite of Gibbs, Dana, Lewis, and other prominences on the higher eastern portion of the Sierra.

Try to find evidences of avalanches in the past as you go along the trail, especially the first half.

In the rock piles (talus slopes) along Gibbs stop and wait for the Yosemite pika (12, p. 61) to present himself. Visit the cabins as you discover them, noticing the different building methods used (33). The Golden Crown Mine cabins are located at the pass; walk right from the trail and toward the ridge.

As you approach the pass itself, just before you go out to the clear, windswept region, you will find, on your left, one of the largest whitebark pines in the region (3, p. 19).

For further exploration, follow the trail over the pass into Bloody Canyon. It is worth your extra time to hike about one-half mile down to see a splendid view of the Mono Basin. On your way, notice the glacial polish in the metamorphic formations.

A really extended trip can be made by going up the ridge behind the Golden Crown Mines, bearing right, to Parker Pass. Follow the water course, or trail down to Spillway Lake and Creek. Here you will discover a fisherman’s trail which leads back to Parker Pass-Mono Pass trail.



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