Summary: One of the most popular of Yosemite's high country destinations has to be Cathedral Lakes. Easy access, beautiful scenery and tempting peaks make this a popular spot for backpackers, day hikers and climbers. The Lower Cathedral Lake is located at an elevation of 9288' and an easy 3.5 miles from the trailhead located along Tioga Road. The Upper Lake is at an elevation of 9585' and about a half mile past the Lower Lake.
For more details and photos visit my website The Backcountry: Cathedral Lake.
Trailhead: Depending on your location, enter Yosemite National Park via Highway 41, 120 or 140. Be prepared to pay $20 for the entrance fee. Once in the park head to Tuolumne Meadows on Highway 120. Look for the "Cathedral Lakes" trailhead parking in Tuolumne Meadows. (Lat:37.87362 Lon:-119.38284)
Trail Guides for Cathedral Lakes:
Yosemite National Park
by Jeffrey P. Schaffer (Wilderness Press)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Horses,
Ranger Contact: Yosemite Wilderness Center, (209) 372-0740
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Mike Matenkosky, who has posted 18 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by MDC on 6/4/2009
Passes through interesting and varied terrain. The wildflowers and meadows leading down to the lake are refreshing. The outcropping of weather-worn boulders alongside the shore of the lake are the perfect place to nap on a warm sunny day. If Arnold Swartenegger ever puts Yosemite up for sale, I'm putting in my bid on this place!!!
Reviewed by JZR on 9/9/2007
We hit this trail late morning on Saturday, labor day weekend '07. It was a super hot day and we expected crowds, but to our pleasant surprise once we passed a couple backpackers on the way up, it was pretty much us. The lower lake rewarded us with a much needed cool off and we met a friendly marmot. He appeared domesticated, so my guess is people feed him often. Short trail, but still a good workout at high elevation.
Reviewed by A. Riedel on 8/2/2006
I'd do this again just for the off-trail excursion talked about on the author's web site. The lakes are beautiful, but with all the water this year, mosquitoes were drinking DEET like ketchup.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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