Yosemite NP – Tioga Pass Lembert Dome Hike


What? : Lembert Dome is one of the most impressive large granite mountain that is located at the east side of the Tuolumne Meadows, just above the Tioga Road. This 3.7-mile loop trail features stunning panoramic views looking west across Tuolumne Meadows. Plan for 3 hours to enjoy this hike.

Although the trail involves some climbing and exposed rock section the Lembert Dome Trail is one of the least strenuous ways to enjoy the panoramic view of this area of the park.



Where? : the trailhead is located on Tioga Pass 7 miles from the Yosemite East Entrance Gate or 1.3 miles east of Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center.

This is a large parking lot just off the road, when coming from the visitor center cross the bridge and it will be on your left.

Google Map Link


When? : If you are planning to drive Tioga pass road (highway 120), enter or exit the park east entrance or visit Tuolumne Meadows make sure to visit the park main page to understand if this road is open or close. The road is usually open from mid-May to end of October.

Follow the link below for history records of road opening and closing dates:



The recommended time is at spring when the road is open, all is green and the mountains top covered with snow.

Summer and fall are also good time to be here because it is not hot at the higher elevation. At fall the river is running low and the grassland is yellow.

Warning: It is not recommended to climb the top of the dome if there is snow or ice.



Note: last time I was here was in 2019


Due note 1: Interesting to know that Tioga Pass (highway 120) that cross the Sierra east-west mark the north section of the largest contiguous roadless wilderness in the continental United States. From this road all the way 150 miles to the south of Mt. Whitney (highway 178), no other roads cross the High Sierra.


Due note 2: Tuolumne Meadows is the largest high-elevation meadows in the Sierra Nevada and probably also the most accessible one, Tioga pass road (highway 120) cross it east to west and there are many parking spots along the road.


Due note 3: Tioga Pass Road went under renovation so driving conditions are good.

Parking:  The main problem is that during crowded weekends and holidays it will be challenging to find parking spots at specific location along the road, plan to be flexible.

After the road face-lift the number of road shoulders parking spots has reduced, there are still many locations, but they can be occupied. There are few large parking lots along the center section of the valley.


Due note 4: The nearest Gas stations locations:

West: 38 miles at the junction with Big Oak Flat Rd.

East: 21 at highway 395 and the town of Lee Vining


Due note 5: It is good to wear good grip shoes (sport shoes are fine) for this hike because you are walking on sideways angle rock surface to reach the dome top.


Due note 6: It can be a bit windy and breezy up at the exposed rocky dome so consider bringing warm cloth with you.


Due note 7: The best time of the day to be at the top is early morning when the sun hit the remote mountains or late in the afternoon when the sun sunset to the east.


Due note 8: Stay off domes during thunderstorms! It is not safe to be in high exposed location when there are lightnings…


Due note 9: As in all other trail hikes in Yosemite dogs aren't allowed on this trail.


Due note 10: When I visit here, Oct. 2022 the grill & convenience store near the east end of the meadow was close and under major renovation. Not clear when this will be open.


Due note 11: There is a large campground in Tuolumne Meadows but from my experience it is fully booked early in the year. If you are planning to stay here, book your campground in advance.


Due note 12: Bring mosquito repellent with you if you are visiting here at spring or early summer.


Due note 13: Car parking lots:

The most obvious Parking lot is at the trailhead. In the peak tourist season Lembert Dome Parking lot gets filled up early in the day. so be prepared to look for parking in nearby areas and roadsides. Park off the road, do not block any side roads, and obey any "no parking" signs.

Another option is to drive east and turn into a side road that marked as Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center. Here you can park at the Wilderness Center or keep driving and park at Lyell Canyon Trailhead, both those parking lots are located on the PCT and are on the loop hike.


My thoughts: The panoramic view of the large Tuolumne Meadows and the winding river below you are breathtaking. The Tuolumne River flowing gently, winding through the grassland, and the view of the “far” ragged Cathedral Mountain Range peaks towering into the sky will stay with you for long time.


The visit:

In this 3.7-mile loop hike you’ll gain about 850 feet of elevation; pleas plan for two or three hours to complete it.

Even though this is a popular hike the dome is large so you will not feel overcrowded here.


Few general hiking guidelines:

Stay on established trails, pack out what you pack in, Overnight backpackers need a wilderness permit, carry (and drink) plenty of water. Be sure to treat river, stream, lake, or spring water.




The Hike:

From the parking lot, you will take out the trail from the north part of the lot. In this section the trail climbs it way up in a nice pine forest. After 0.7 mile of climbing the trail start to level, keep walking until you will reach a trail junction, 0.9 mile from the trail head.

Here you can hike straight for 0.35 mile and visit Dong Lake, from here you need to walk back to the trail junction, overall, this out and back detour will add 0.7 miles to your loop hike.

Once you turn into the main loop trail it wraps around the far side of Lembert Dome. After hiking another 0.6 miles you will see the turnout trail to your right going up to the dome.

This 0.5-mile hike section is out and back.

You will start this climb in a forest but after gaining some elevation you reach the expose granite rocks.

Follow the trail marks and carefully walk across the granite face. You will reach the first summit of the dome.

If you want to walk from here to the front summit above the valley the trail become a lot steeper, sketchier and exposed. Be extra careful in this hike section and evaluate if you and your hiking group can do this section safely.


Scramble your way up the massive, exposed granite slab until you will reach the top and you will be reworded by the amazing panoramic view of Tuolumne Meadows below you and the Cathedral Mountains Range on the far side of the valley.


After staying here, resting, and enjoying the view you need to walk down the sideways angle rock section and walk down to the trail junction in the forest. Here turn right and walk down for 0.4 miles until you will reach the Tioga Pass Road, cross it to the other side and walk to the nearby car parking lot (Lyell Canyon Trailhead), from here to your car is 0.7-mile-long hike.

Walk to the parking lot entrance and find the PCT trail that is heading west parallel to the inner road. on your way you will pass the Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center, continue walking on the PCT all the way to the parking lot and the trailhead.




Lembert Dome is a short hike with big reward. I highly recommend it as late afternoon hike, ending your day with one of the most beautiful landscapes along the Tioga Road.





Additional Pictures: