Just east of Olmsted Point, the shiny blue surface of Tenaya Lake (8150ft) looks absolutely stunning framed by thick stands of pine and a series of smooth granite cliffs and domes. Dominating its north side is Polly Dome (9806ft). The face nearest the lake is known as Stately Pleasure Dome, a popular spot with climbers – you may see them working their way up from the road. Sloping up from the lake’s south shore are Tenaya Peak (10,266ft) and Tresidder Peak (10,600ft).
The lake takes its name from Chief Tenaya, the Ahwahneechee chief who aided white soldiers, only to be driven from the land by white militias in the early 1850s. Tenaya allegedly protested the use of his name, pointing out that the lake already had a name – Pywiack (‘Lake of Shining Rocks’), for the polished granite that surrounds it.