Ice-covered Ellery Lake, at 9,538 feet
When we climbed in Tuolumne one spring, we camped near Ellery Lake at the Ellery Camp ground. The campgrounds in the park were all still closed, due to too much snow on the ground, water running deep in the roads, and other access problems.
However, if one crosses Tioga Pass and heads down the hill toward Lee Vining, several beautiful little forest service campgrounds provide a sunnier and dryer shelter. They’re quite little, with only 17 sites in one case, and not cheap at $19 per night.
Ellery Camp remains my favorite, as it’s lower than the other and thus dryer with fewer mosquitos. From Ellery Camp, it’s about 20 miles to the climbing areas in Tuolumne, resulting in a 40-mile daily round trip to climb. However, even camping at Tuolumne campground results in a lot of driving, since it’s close to ten miles from there to Tenaya Lake and nearby domes like Pywiack and Stately Pleasure dome.