Mount Hoffman

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Hard
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
3.5-5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
10.4 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
630 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
9.7
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Trail of the Mount Hoffman hike in Yosemite National Park

We loved the hike up Mount Hoffman. The views from the summit were said by John Muir to be amongst the most dramatic in the valley and May Lake is stunning. All around a winner in Yosemite, but wait for the snow to melt!

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Route Description

Park at the end of May Lake Rd. (Old Tioga Rd.) and follow the easy, clear path up to May Lake. There is a beautiful High Sierra Camp there, which would be worth staying at if it is open.

The path to Mt. Hoffman can at times be very difficult to see, as there are limited signs. This is especially challenging when snow is still present. Continue around the left side of the lake and ascend through a small ravine. You will cross a few rivers and gain a small ridge with views down into Yosemite Valley.

Continue along the trail as it switchbacks up above the tree line. A common mistake is to go right once you are coming out of the trees, and go between the two very visible towers. There appears a saddle with vegetation and some Cairns leading to it, however this is a dangerous route with a lot of loose rocks overhead and some boulder hopping.

Instead of going right, head left of the leftmost tower and go up a somewhat rocky path that gets you to a plateau. It is a much easier route that involves no scrambling through we couldn’t find a clear path to take us up and there was a fair amount of snow.

On the plateau there are beautiful views in every direction, including a lookout over the entire park. If you don’t like exposure, explore around this plateau, as it’s stunning.

From the plateau there will be three apparent towers; the two you saw ascending and one behind them. Go around the third tower and cross over a large snowfield. Mount Hoffman is the peak with the antenna coming from it.

There is some somewhat serious scrambling to get to the real peak. Good route finding skills are a must. However, the view from the very top is exquisite. John Muir claimed this as the finest view in Yosemite.

If you want to find more great hikes in Yosemite, check out Clouds Rest, Sentinel Dome, Yosemite Valley or Panorama Trail!

Insider Hints

  • If you can, spend a night at the May Lake High Sierra Camp for an incredible experience.

Getting There

From the Crane Flat gas station take the Tioga Road (Highway 120) east for approximately 43.5 km and take the road on your left (north) to May Lake. Continue on this narrow, potholed road for 1.8 km and park in the parking lot.

Route Details

  • When to do

    June through September

  • Backcountry Campsites

    No

  • Toilets

    Trailhead

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    Poor

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

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