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Mount Dana Summit Trail

HARD 185 reviews
#29 of 244 trails in

Mount Dana Summit Trail is a 7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lee Vining, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October.

Distance: 7.0 miles Elevation Gain: 3,103 feet Route Type: Out & Back

backpacking

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

A day hike to Mt. Dana, the second highest mountain in Yosemite National Park. Mt. Dana is relatively easily accessible peak and is the second highest in Yosemite National Park (Mt. Lyell is the highest one). The trail head is located right next to the east entrance of the Yosemite National Park. There are no trail markers or maps but there is an unofficial use trail to the top and is pretty easy to follow. The trail starts with an easy walk through the meadows before it starts going up through a series of switchbacks. After about 1.5 miles from the trailhead and about 1,500 feet high, you reach a flat area and the peak comes into sight. You are about half way at that point and the serious climb is about to start. After you walk across the flat area, the trail gets lost in the rocks and you have to follow your instincts and the stone cairn markers and head towards the peak. You will be hiking up loose rock and need to be careful with your footing. Once you reach the top, the views are incredible!

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
2 days ago

hiking
3 days ago

Good short hike. I liked the views at the top looking at mono lake with the red mountain (not sure what it’s called) to the left and a few glacial lakes underneath. Also to note - I got Verizon signal at the top :-)

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
10 days ago

So the reviews are definitely right when they say it is strenuous. But it is doable! Just make sure you allow plenty of time because even though it’s only 7 miles, they are tough. The whole 3.5 up are steep and the higher elevation will take its toll if you aren’t used to it. I’ve seen reviews say they competed the whole trail in 4 hours but it took us 5 hours of hiking plus one hour we spent at the top enjoying the views. I will say it’s very much worth it, the views are the best I’ve seen.

hiking
24 days ago

Not easy hike, good workout, couldn’t make to the top because the air sooo thin, my body couldn’t handle that( stopped at 12,000 feet)the view very pretty, incredible on the way up.

hiking
1 month ago

Hard but short!

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Trail is easy to follow except a couple of stretches where you need to look out for cairns. Trailhead is right beside Tioga Pass entrance to Yosemite - check with a ranger for conditions.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Though it’s not a ‘fourteener’, Mount Dana definitely provides an ample challenge. This peak is hard, if you attempt to maintain a consistent, fast paced - you will feel it. It’s a great trainer peak and then some. The trail head starts at the Tioga Pass ranger station entrance. The amount Dana Meadows area is beautiful with scenic lakes and lush pines. Once you leave the trees about a mile in, the grade increases and you are exposed as with most peaks in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Unlike other summit trails, the Mount Dana Summit Trail has minimal switchbacks. What does this mean? Essentially it’s straight up, about 2800 feet of incline over scree and loose shale. The trail nearly disappears about 800 feet from the summit so you have to eyeball a route, but the summit is in view most of the final ascent. There’s a lot of wind exposure as well. From the top, the views of the Yosemite valley are breath taking. Wearing my Garmin Fenix5 w heart monitor strap I burned nearly 2700 cals in 5 hours covering just under 6 miles. Mount Dana is a workout so be prepared!

hiking
1 month ago

Did this trial the day it opened, July 1st. There was still quite a bit of snow making it more difficult but definitely worth it! 360 views at the summit.

hiking
no shade
rocky
1 month ago

1 month ago

Only thing I didn’t like was the barren land once you get past the 10k ft elevation mark. Otherwise, the view from the top is worth a million.

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Excellent training hike for doing 14ers like Whitney, or Palisades. Highly recommend! The view from the top of Mono Lake is great!

hiking
no shade
rocky
1 month ago

Great Hike. Morning started out a little chilly. Trail started and the scenery was green with beautiful flowers and a few ponds. Once the tree line ended the next 2 miles up was rocky with no shade. I was scared, as I am not accustomed to the altitude. We took it slow and steady. The hike itself is not bad, the last mile up is killer. All loose rocks and the trail is hard to identify at times. I would definitely recommend walking sticks. Plan on arriving early because the parking is very limited. The views are breathtaking.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike. Beautiful wildflowers early on and then the climb starts to a fantastic 360 view. The trail is not too hard to follow (just hard to hike) if one watches for the cairns along the way. We did the Mono Pass the previous day to help acclimate.

hiking
no shade
rocky
2 months ago

Great 6 hour day.Flowers in full bloom.

hiking
snow
2 months ago

Great trail!! Be ready for cold fast winds while approaching the summit.

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