We spent last Friday through Sunday in the Sierra. There was an overnight backpack in Cottonwood Basin scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, so on Friday morning we decided to do a short acclimation hike somewhere near Tioga Pass (around 10k feet). It was the perfect opportunity to get up a peak I’d been wanting to climb for some time – Gaylor Peak.
Gaylor Peak is a short hike (~1 mile one way) with about 1000 feet of gain. It begins at the Gaylor Lakes trailhead right next to the Tioga Pass entry station for Yosemite National Park. There is trail for half of the approach, and the second half is easy class 1 cross-country from the saddle above Gaylor Lakes. The summit is a nice rocky ridge with plenty of room for people, though we were the only ones up there on Friday morning.
The best part of this hike is the views. The payoff to effort ratio is great – a mere hour’s hike will get you the kind of views that you’d expect from the bigger peaks in the park. The views into the Gaylor and Granite Lakes basin below is expansive and there is a 360 degree view of the peaks of the Yosemite sub-ranges.
Use this hike as a short stretch of the legs when passing through Tioga, or as a warm up hike for one of the bigger peaks like Dana, Conness, or Lyell. It’s so easy I’m surprised there aren’t more people who hike this one. Don’t miss it!