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Guide to Tuolumne Meadows Trails (1960) by Allan Shields


VIII. MT. HOFFMAN[N]

(3-moderate all-day hike, 2100 ft., 8 miles).

This mountain is in the approximate center of the park, offering a grand view in all directions. On a sparkling clear day, Mt. Diablo, near Walnut Creek, California, has been sighted. It is not uncommon to see the coast range of mountains from this lofty place. Mt. Bullion, near Mariposa, Horse Ridge and Buena Vista crest southward, Mt. Lyell, Mt. Dana, Mt. Conness, and many other of the grander prominences are visible from the summit.

Directions: Take the old Tioga Road to the May Lake trail junction which is at the end of this section of the road. Park your car and follow the trail to May Lake. Be sure to

Mt. Hoffman from May Lake. Anderson, NPS
    Anderson, NPS
Mt. Hoffman from May Lake.
[click to enlarge]
stop occasionally to look at the ever widening views of the region. Half Dome will come into view after a short rise. As you come up over the final rise on a level with May Lake, you will see a ridge extending to your left. It is worth the extra few minutes to walk out on this ridge to look down almost into the Yosemite Valley. From here it is possible to view the fire fall from Glacier Point.

Continue to May Lake. From the fire circle of the High Sierra Camp face Mt. Hoffman across the lake. Your route is mainly visible from here. The trail goes around the lake (southerly side), past a pump house, water storage tank, then turns left up the slope over three main ridges, then you will move along a fine meadow. The trail is fairly distinct, but should you fail to find it, simply turn right at the end of the meadow and follow up the ridge that leads to the left hand large knob of the mountain, keeping left around the knob. This will bring you onto the tableland. Cross the tableland in the obvious direction toward the summit and pick the easiest route to the summit. To return, retrace your route.

Special Features: As you round the lake, near the pump house, you will cross a large pocket of metamorphic rock which seems out of place among the granites.

Blue (sooty) grouse (1, p. 94) are often observed on this mountain, especially during the initial rise over the three ridges and near the long meadow. Red shafted flickers (1, p. 105) occur here as well.

Watch for the Yosemite pica (12, p. 61) on the talus slopes.

Mountain coyote (12, p. 81) has been observed trotting along the high tableland on at least one occasion.

Apart from the commanding views, you will be surprised by the rugged character of the cirque behind (north) of the summit. Here is the birthplace of Yosemite Falls.

The tableland is a splendid place to find and identify high altitude plants in season.

Take the little extra time necessary to climb out on one of the large knobs that rise above May Lake.



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