Tioga Pass Resort combines exceptional services with
unbeatable access to the High Sierra. TPR is a four-season rustic mountain
resort located in California’s Eastern Sierra Nevada -- the most spectacular region of
one of the most dramatic mountain ranges in the world.
Located at 9641 feet elevation, TPR is surrounded by the
lakes, rivers, meadows and mountains of Yosemite National Park, the Inyo National Forest, and the Mono Basin National Scenic
Area. The lodge and cabins, built from 1914 through the 1980s, provide
charming, rustic accommodations, paired with
delicious fresh foods. TPR -- pristine winter
snow, spring snowmelt, summer wildflowers, and golden fall colors
-- Early History
The first people who visited the Tioga Pass environs were the Mono Paiute, who lived in the Mono Basin, and the Miwok,
who lived in Yosemite
both as long ago as 10,000 years ago. Early non-Indian travelers such as
Joseph Reddeford Walker and John Muir encountered
these Indians high in the Sierra
during their travels. Walker, who
crossed the Sierra in 1833, is believed to have traveled west of Tuolumne
Meadows, near Tioga Pass.
While tourists began crossing Tioga Pass to Yosemite Valley as early as the 1850s, the first
real interest in the area was sparked by mining.
It started when Lieutenant Treadwell Moore came to the area
in 1852 while looking for the Miwok; he took some
rock samples home with him that revealed gold. Inspired by the samples,
George W. “Doc” Chase formed a small party that traveled to “Tioga Hill” in
1860. Exploration thereafter picked up pace -- one map names the area
“Brown’s Pass” (Britton & Co. 1861-62) and another “MacLane’s
Pass” (Josiah Whitney, 1865).
Hand-in-hand with mining came sheep grazing (known as “dinner
on the hoof”) which occurred as early as 1857. Grazing continued until
1984, when Inyo National Forest grazing allotments were closed in
light of the reintroduction of the bighorn sheep.
After the discovery and naming of the Tioga Mines, the pass
was finally named Tioga Pass, after Tioga County, New York, the origin of many of the local
mineworkers. The name “Tioga” is taken from the Iroquois language, and
means “where it forks,” “at the forks,” “swift current,” or “a gate”.
Al Gardisky and Tioga Pass Resort
Albert J. Gardisky first came to Tioga Pass in 1914; he constructed Cabin 1
that year, and began mining and trapping. Gardisky
quickly learned, however, that he could make a better living providing food and
shelter to the growing number of travelers crossing through Tioga Pass.
By 1916, Gardisky, together with a
mule and a block and tackle, had completed Cabins 1, 2, 3 and 4, and the Main
Lodge. When the winter of 1920 crushed the flat roof on the Main Lodge, Gardisky re-built the roof into its current two story A-frame. The cold storage room was added in the
1920s, as was the first “Old Kitchen”. By the mid-1920s, “Camp Tioga,” as it was known until 1951,
provided travelers with roadside food and lodging not unlike today. Gardisky lived at the resort year-round from 1914 to 1935,
and wintered in Lee Vining until he passed on in
After Gardisky’s death, his
relatives, believing Al had hidden his “treasure” in one of the buildings, tore
apart the floorboards of all of the buildings. Finding nothing, they
quickly sold Camp Tioga to Gerald and Eunice Younge. The Younges didn’t
take to the resort, and sold it six months later to Hal and Edna Bergland. During their fourteen years at TPR, the Berglands re-roofed and added bathrooms to the cabins,
built “modern” infrastructure, constructed the Café and new kitchen additions,
built (with Lee Vining local “Frenchy”
Davis) the stone fireplace (travertine stones were taken from the Mono Basin,
crystal from Maul and Treble Lakes, obsidian from the Mono Craters, and the
exterior granite from the Blue Slide on Tioga Pass Road). During their
ownership, the Berglands
also built the Saddlebag Lake Resort. In 1957, the Berglands
sold the Tioga Pass Resort to Raymond and Margaret Yawman
(the Berglands kept the Saddlebag Lake Resort), who
operated the resort until 1963.
In 1963 Neil and Georgia Kelly took over, and for 31
years the old “Camp Tioga” was slowly molded into the “Tioga
Pass Resort” of today. In 1994, Kelly sold the resort to Tioga Pass
Resort, Inc., a company headed by Bob and Claudette Agard,
who had managed the resort for Kelly for several years. Among other
things, the Agards were responsible for starting the
first winter operation at the Tioga Pass Resort.
In 2002, Tioga Pass Resort, LLC, a company formed by a group
enthusiasts headed by John Landsberger, Michael Entin, and Ron Cohen took over operation of TPR. Our goal is
to cement TPR’s reputation as the first and finest
Eastern Sierra resort. We hope you enjoy the improvements we have instituted!
Welcome to TPR!