Summary: The first 1.5 miles of this hike is a relatively flat and an easy walk. After that be prepared for a mile of up-hill switchbacks as you climb towards the Sunrise Lakes junction. From here the grade is far easier to handle, with some pretty flat sections of trail. There is a nice small lake along the trail about half way to the summit, making a nice place to have a snack or filter more water. Within a few miles of the summit the trees open up and you'll begin to see the summit and be able to make out other hikers at the top. The view from the summit is probably better than that of Half Dome and it's easier, less crowded and certainly much safer! Don't forget your camera!!
For a more details and photos visit my website, The Backcountry: Clouds Rest
Trailhead: Depending on your location, enter Yosemite National Park via highway 120, 140 or 41. Be prepared to pay $20 for the entrance fee. Once in the park head to Tenaya Lake via Tioga Road (highway 120). The parking lot is the at the south-west end of Tenaya Lake. The trailhead, Surise Lakes, is located near the center of the parking lot. (Lat:37.82 Lon:-119.47)
Trail Guides for Clouds Rest - Yosemite National Park, CA:
Yosemite National Park
by Jeffrey P. Schaffer (Wilderness Press)
by Tom Stienstra & Ann Marie Brown (Foghorn Press)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers,
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 Page 1 of 4 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Evelyne on 6/9/2012
Hiked Clouds Rest yesterday. Gorgeous spring day in Yosemite with temperatures in the low 70s. Sections of the trail were still very wet with snow and rain from Monday's storm. We took our shoes off at the trailhead to cross a small pond that wasn't there in the fall when I did the hike two years ago.Mosquitoes swarmed around us. Bring repellant in the spring! The swichbacks are the most challenging part. The spine to reach the summit is large enough to feel safe but don't look down is afraid of heights.The view at the top is an extraordinary reward.A marmot kept us company at lunchtime. The way down is jarring on the knees. Poles can be a good idea if you want to get a sure footing. My favorite hike in the park for the view!
Reviewed by vincent on 1/4/2012
Just hiked it on new year's eve, yes, the 120 was still open, took advantage of that rare opportunity. Had the peak to ourselves, hardly anyone on trail. Tenaya lake was frozen and beautiful, also did mt. Dana, hard to believe it is winter.
Reviewed by dc on 1/24/2011
We did this hike last year and it was great ! Yes it is hard but not nearly as tough as HD. We started at 4am and we were first at the summit. LOTS OF MOSQUITOS ! Done with the hike by 1pm. In the early spring you do have to cross a creek at the begining. So dont tie your shoes ! At the top you do have to be carefull but not as scary as HD. Better Views ! Did not notice the elevation until we were very close to the summit, just took it very slowly so that we did not have any problems. I am 41 years old and have been hiking for 2 years and would recomend this hike to anyone ! Just remeber to ALWAYS be carefull and to know where you are going and like a boy scout be prepared ! Happy Hiking !
Reviewed by Rex on 10/12/2010
Just hiked it, and it was spectacular. I'm a pretty strong, regular hiker in my 50s, but the high elevation right from the start sucked my energy and made it tough. I think I'd try to spend a couple days at elevation before trying it again.
Reviewed by CS on 10/6/2010
I have to disagree with Dallan on this. Clouds Rest is very easy in comparison to Half Dome. There's no comparison. Clouds Rest total elevation gain for the hiker is less than half of the 4600 gain to Half Dome. The only steep part of the Clouds Rest hike is about 25 minutes into it. After that, it's very gentle to the top.
Reviewed by Dallan on 9/7/2010
This hike needs to be re-rated as strenuous. I have done Half Dome twice and this is a definite rival, and HD is rated as very strenuous. First you start the hike at a high altitude (over 8,000ft), and it only gets higher from there. This alone pulls a lot of energy out of you, especially if you don't live at 8,000ft. The switchbacks near the beginning of the hike are not that difficult, since it is near the start of the day. But I tell you, on the way back, after 10 miles and 6-7 hours of hiking, that 300 ft climb from the sunrise valley to the summit of the switchbacks is killer. This is the longest 13 mile hike I have every done. But the view is spectacular.
Reviewed by Bruce on 8/18/2010
At age 57, I finally made it up here after my sis Kathy died in a fall from here 8/14/09. I retraced her final steps in life and completed the hike for her. Four steady non-stop hours to the top, with total time 8 hours 39 minutes, 45 min for lunch. Hard, but doable. Most of the hikers I met were in their early 20's so I leave it to them to continue the legacy. Rest in peace Kathy!
Reviewed by Brett on 9/14/2009
We left from the Sunshine Lakes trail head at 2:30 in the morning and made the summit at as the first light was coming up. Watched the sun rise over the Sierra's and spill into Yosemite Valley. One of the most powerful expierences of my life.
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