Distance: 14.5 miles (23.3 km) round trip Trailhead Elevation: 8,150 feet (2,450 meters) Elevation Gain: 1,775 feet (540 meters) We decided not to extend the length, but instead headed onto the Cathedral Lakes trailhead back towards Tuoloumne Meadows. In the first 100 yards of the trail we crossed over Tenaya Creek, the only major creek crossing on this trail. Sunrise Lakes Trailhead – Off Tioga Road The Climb The Views make it worth it More Climb The “landing” or Trailhead junction. steps, rocks, sandy paths, dirt etc.Â It’s a nice variety making the experience not at all mundane.Â About 2 miles in, the trail will begin to climb in a gradual fashion with the trees becoming more scarce as you gain altitude.Â Still an easily maneuverable and wideÂ trail but more exposed so be prepared for heat if the sun is shining.Â As you approach Clouds Rest, you may notice the effects of the altitude and you will begin climbing switchbacks on the granite.Â Keep an eye out for opportunities to make your way to the edge to get your first glimpse of Half Dome and Tenaya Canyon.Â Looking back at Tenaya Lake, from where you most likely started, is quite a treat and an accomplishment for sure.Â As you approach the Clouds Rest sign, the trail can be easily lost but if you look closely you will see steps and routes that are fairly easy to follow.Â From the sign, you get a great look at the ridge that stands between you and the top.Â Many get nervous here, and some choose to quit,Â as it is definitely a ridge with drops to both sides.Â That being said, even at its most narrow spot there is plenty of room to safely maneuver your way across the firmly placed boulders.Â Â I encourage you to press on, even if having toÂ do so on all four.Â I think we lucked out because the trail, and even the summit was very quiet this day with minimal use by other hikers.Â As we made our way to the top, for a moment we found we were the only ones there.Â With clear blue skies we had amazing views of Tenaya Canyon to our right, Yosemite Valley to our left and of course Half Dome in all its glory.Â With binoculars, you can actually watch folks climbing the cables of Half Dome while you enjoy your snack or lunch.Â Standing about 1000 feet higher than Half Dome, there are many (myself included) who would say this is a better hike.Â Yes it lacks the iconic cables, but no special permit is required and Half Dome is in the view.Â Prepared with lunch, after taking our many photos, we found a spot and simply enjoyed being. The fastest way to day hike Cloud's Rest starts from the Sunrise Lakes trailhead on Tioga Road near Tenaya Lake. After what seems like an eternity, you will make it to the saddle where the trail breaks off to Sunrise Lakes and Clouds Rest. One of the most stunning sights in California is a day hike away from the trailhead at Tioga Pass. There’s a clearly marked path down the rocky summit, which heads in the general direction of Half Dome. As I get closer to the park and realise there is a solid wall of snow on both sides of the road, it crosses my mind that perhaps I should have done a bit more research. I’m surprised how warm the weather is at the end of August, and even more surprised at how busy the park is. Mount Whitney via John Muir Trail. At this landing, there are several options.Â The trailhead to the left, will take you to Sunrise Lakes and beyond to Sunrise Lakes High Sierra Camp.Â The trailhead straight (as you hit the top), will take you to Clouds Rest…… Pro Tip:Â To the right there is an unmarked trail (two actually) that will take you to one of the best views of the Valley in Yosemite.Â The best spot is up and to the right so…… of the two unmarked trails to the right, take the first one that goes up a bit.Â Either one, if you go up (slightly right) and then out to the edge you will know exactly what I am talking about.Â Would make a wonderful campsite, except the closest water is a half mile away at Sunrise Lakes. Normally there would be seasonal accommodation here in large canvas tents, accessible only by foot and part of the High Sierra Camps. We left Sunrise Lakes at about 2 or 3pm and headed back to the sign juncture to continue on the Cloud’s Rest path. As I veer off the path to take some photos of the burnt out valley below, I encounter a friendly ranger who explains there was a huge bushfire in 2013 (Rim Fire) that affected large sections of the park. Eventually the trail reaches the base of Sunrise Mountain, where for a mercifully short distance it ascends very steeply via a series of switchbacks. This was the least inspiring and hardest part of the walk… while never steep, it was a continuous uphill stretch with minimal shade, and big sections of burnt forest. Clouds Rest via Tenaya Lake. This is undoubtedly, the easiest route up Clouds Rest starts from Tenaya Lake, a 7-mile YDS class 1 route along hiking trails usually done as a dayhike. I want to stop at Clouds rest on the way. A hiking blog with a little something extra. The peak off to the left is Sunrise Mountain, not Clouds Rest, and you donât have to hike up it. There’s one tent up neat the track, while the previous lake had a cluster of tents at the northern end. With head-torch on, I’m soon back at the junction with the Clouds Rest Trail. The track skirts around the northern side of the lake, and it’s another great sunset vantage point. You just follow the narrow granite ridge up to the top. The trailhead is clearly marked, starting near the southern end of Tenaya Lake on Tioga and, and is initially fairly flat and easy walking. Heading towards Clouds Rest will take you down about 300 feet. Elevation Gain/Loss: 1776/1776. My permit begins at Tolumne meadows, and I plan to camp at Glen Aulin the 1st night. The trailhead begins at Tenaya Lake at the Sunrise Lakes Trailhead. There’s just 2.5 miles left to get back to the car at the Sunrise Lakes trailhead. Turn left to go to the Sunrise Lakes instead. I make an early start to hopefully avoid the crowds, leaving Tuolumne Meadows Lodge just after sunrise for the Sunrise Lakes Trailhead. The of the first part of my journey is almost over, as I reach the base of the summit. Stream crossing under Tenaya Lake near the Sunrise Trailhead. The Clouds Rest hike in Yosemite is a favorite of the park rangers; you get incredible panoramic views from over 1,000 feet above Half Dome.And unlike Half Dome, for the Clouds Rest hike, no permit is needed, the distance and climbing is manageable, and you don’t have to navigate anything like the anxiety-inducing cables section. The area is beautiful with views of … Sunrise Trailhead off of Tioga Road, just south of Tenaya Lake: Time Required: 7-10 hours to summit of Clouds Rest and back: Length: 13 miles to Clouds Rest and back: Elevation Change: Roughly 2000-feet of elevation gain in two separate pushes with a 400-ft descent in between. A bit further on there’s a small plateauand another junction, this time a trail to Merced Lakes. It’s about half an hour at a brisk pace to reach the first of the Sunrise Lakes – and I’m glad I kept going. While the trees are normally fire-tolerant, they were killed by the intensity of the fire and it will take decades for the forest to recover. I can see why Yosemite draws such big crowds and I’ve enjoyed my hike, but I’d avoid June-August in future and visit when there’s a few less people around! During spring melt, this crossing can be a much bigger obstacle. About half a mile from the top on the right, you will see this beautiful view. Why isn't the Tenaya Lake trailhead listed? 0.0km Tenaya Lake (Sunrise Lakes Trailhead) on Tioga Road 4.1km Junction with Sunrise Lakes Trail 7.6km Junction with Pack Trail 10.3km Clouds Rest summit (3,037m / 9,926 feet asl) 16.1km Clouds Rest Track meets John Muir Trail 19.7km Junction with Merced Lake trail 27.8km Sunrise High Sierra Camp (2,900m / 9,400ft) 30.3km Sunrise Lakes (first lake) 31.1km Sunrise Lakes (second lake… Due to an unusually heavy snowpack none of the camps were set-up this year. We crossed paths with many more day hikers than we had seen previously. ( Log Out / And now you have a downhill followed by some rolling terrain. Why isn't the Tenaya Lake trailhead listed? The hill behind the first lake is almost glowing orange from the setting sun. This time it’s a very different experience. From the trailhead, you start the hike by following the trail markers for Sunrise H.S.C. The people who wrote this article apparently camped right at Cloud's rest, which I didn't realize this was an option (but it sounds awesome), however I'm sure it isn't necessary. Given we were slated to camp at Sunrise Lakes, we took the trail to the left which is flat for a bit and then downhill and easily manageable to Sunrise Lake #1.Â There are campsites as you first hit the lake that are close to the water and/or have water views.Â This area, though, gets crowded and is right off the trail.Â As you continue on, and begin to curve around the lake, there is a “pond” off to the left (when we were there it was dry.Â During the wet season, there is water joining the two and this is a water crossing with a log down to assist you in keeping dry.Â Immediately after this crossing, there are campsites tucked back away from the lake (along the granite ridge that are quieter, more protected, and offer killer views of the Canyon and sunset.Â We set up camp at the site farthest back that provides 3-4 flat tent spots, a nice “kitchen area” with a fire pit (for when fires are allowed) and a rocky area where you can find lots of room to relax with canyon views or watch a Sunset. Share. The Sunrise Lakes trailhead is one of the busiest in the Tuolumne area because it’s the shortest way to Clouds Rest, and close to the shore of Tenaya Lake, a popular stopping point on Highway 120. Reach the Clouds Rest summit (9,926 feet). To the east are some of the higher peaks – Mount Lyell, Mount Maclure and Mount Florence – some with patches of snow still clinging on to the upper slopes. Trail Notes & Hazards: 2.7 miles (4.3 km) into the hike, just as you've finished climbing a gnarly series of switchbacks, you'll reach a fork in the trail. Sunrise Trailhead: 8151' Clouds Rest summit: 9931' Seasons: After losing the track in the fading light, I eventually find it again and continue the short distance downhill to the third lake. Trailhead to Summit Lake #2 & Lunch. I enjoy my last break of the day as the light fades and the sky darkens. ... mirror lake trail via Clouds Rest Trail and John Muir Trail. 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