The hike up to Mount Hoffmann is a steep and strenuous 2-hour hike with tremendous views of Yosemite National Park. The trail begins at the backpackers campsite by May Lake and continues up the rugged slope of the mountain. To get there, take the May Lake High Sierra Camp and Backpackers Camp Trail that begins at the Snow Creek parking lot to the southwestern side of the lake. The first few switchbacks gently climb a dirt path along the lake and through a conifer forest. About halfway up, views of Half Dome and Clouds Rest begin to peak through the trees.
The last third of a mile is the most difficult, as the dirt path becomes loose gravel and the slope increases dramatically. Expect to be climbing with four limbs at times. The trail at the summit evens out a bit, and you can walk around the meadow to see 360-degree views of Yosemite and the High Sierra.
While the trail starts off in a sub-alpine coniferous forest, it leads up the mountain past the tree line at 9,500 feet into an alpine ecosystem. Some of the vegetation you may see include several types of sedges, mat muhly (a type of grass), Sierra false needlegrass, and the gray-leafed Sierra willow. Trees don't tend to grow at these elevations due to the short, cool summers and long, cold, windy winters. However, a few animals such as ground squirrels, yellow-bellied marmots, and bighorn sheep have adapted to withstand these conditions.
It is recommended that you bring plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen. There is little to no shade for the majority of the hike. Note that road access via Tioga Road is seasonal.