(May Lake Trailhead) Cathedral Lakes. My crew left from Cathedral trailhead at Tuolumne on 6/30 and spent two nights on our way to Yosemite Valley, hitting Half Dome on the way. The return hike follows the same route. Horses are also able to use this trail. The trail is primarily used for hiking, rock climbing, camping, and backpacking. You can drive your car to the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center parking lot and find the ride to your car when you have ended up back in the Yosemite Valley. Hike starts off at high elevation and the first 1.5 miles is a climb but flattens out and you get to enjoy some beautiful wilderness. While there are many great hikes in the region, one of my favorites is the Cathedral Lakes hike. Easy access, beautiful scenery and tempting peaks make this a popular spot for backpackers, day hikers and climbers. Wilderness Permits are required for overnight stays at the lakes. Day 1 - Cathedral lakes trailhead to a campsite at sunrise lakes Day 2 - sunrise lakes over clouds rest to camp by half dome junction Day 3 - half dome junction to the summit half dome, and then out the mist trail. From the trailhead on Tioga Road, you’re only 1.3 miles from dipping a toe in idyllic May Lake, making this trip a great one for kids. We want to do 3 nights. Directions from Arch Rock Entrance: Follow Highway 140 toward Yosemite Valley. Best Season: Summer/ Fall Know that the first mile is the most elevation gain, so push passed it and you’ll be fine. Cathedral Lake and Tenaya Peak is a 7.2 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Yosemite Valley, California that offers scenic views and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. Insects can be plentiful around the lakes, so be sure to pack the bug spray as well as the sunscreen. Cathedral Lakes TH > Clouds Rest > LYV > Yosemite Valley I just got my wilderness permit for late july for my girlfriend and I. Cathedral Lakes trailhead. Before reaching the valley turn left on to Big Oak Flat Road. More Cathedral Lakes Trail is a 8.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Yosemite Valley, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. Starts at Sunrise Lakes Trailhead and ends in Yosemite Valley. Type of trail: Point-to-point. The trail through this area is the famous John Muir Trail, which sees high traffic all season. Many of the best trails in Yosemite in the list below can be located within Yosemite Valley, but some of the hikes are further away. It is a great hike pretty up hill for the first couple miles but after that not too bad but just remember when you come back you got to go down. Yosemite requires that campsites be at least 4 miles from Tuolumne Meadows. Keep an eye out for the sign marking the junction towards lower Cathedral Lake. As everyone knows the 1st section of this trail is steep. Cathedral Lakes (moderate) 7 miles (11.3 km round-trip), 1,000-foot elevation gain; 4 to 6 hours. The red line shows the route from the trailhead at Tuolumne Meadows to Upper Cathedral Lake. Rest on the open, sloping granite banks of Lower Cathedral Lake looking westerly over a great watery expanse towards Yosemite Valley and spot the deer grazing by the lake's edge. Along side of the lake a beautiful meadow filled with wildflowers adds color to this amazing landscape. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. When we visit Mammoth in the summertime, we’ve been known to make a special trip Yosemite via the Tiago Road to do this hike. Interesting experience in its own way though. Horses are also able to use this trail. Day 1: This epic Yosemite hiking tour will start with the group meeting Curry Village at a predetermined time. Horses are also able to use this trail. After a night at Cathedral Lakes, some may elect to continue their trip along the John Muir Trail, descending all the way to Yosemite Valley, about 19 miles from Upper Cathedral Lake. Get up there early and find a peaceful area to relax and enjoy the picnicu. Beautiful lake, but knocking a star because to be honest I think there are prettier hikes in Yosemite. TW Trail Guide Miles 4.39 miles to Sunrise HSC, and 17.75 to Yosemite Valley from here: Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley Miles and Elevations It is a bit of a challenging climb, but the lakes are well worth the effort. Begin at Cathedral Lakes trailhead, 1/2 mile west of the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center, Shuttle Stop #7. TW Trail Guide Miles 4.39 miles to Sunrise HSC, and 17.75 to Yosemite Valley from here: Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley Miles and Elevations Near the top of the climb, it passes a spur trail to Lower Cathedral Lake (0.5 mile to lake). Made for a tough day but clouds rest was indescribable. I will have to try for the lottery to add the permit. If you are entering on foot, horse, or bike the fee is $20 per person. The stream crossings were fine. One glance at the rhino-horn summit of 10,912-foot Cathedral Peak reflected in Upper Cathedral Lake, and you’ll know hoofing it up this high-altitude Tuolumne Meadows trail was worth it. Thankfully it was dry and when we woke there was no ice on the ground or on our tents. It was nice and cool up here probably in the mid 50's, perfect for backpacking. Distance: 14.5 miles (23.3 km) round trip Trailhead Elevation: 8,150 feet (2,450 meters) Elevation Gain: 1,775 feet (540 meters) Spectacular. Large steep steps, jagged rocks to negotiate and powder fine dust being kicked up made it worse. ... Cathedral Lakes trailhead is just west of the Toulumne Visitors Center. Thanks for all the info. You can also purchase a park specific annual pass for $70. Trip Itinerary. Continuous travel is a condition of a wilderness itinerary … We loved the upper lake and took some great pics and took some time to just hang out and take it all in. These trailheads include Lyell Canyon, Cathedral Lakes, Rafferty Creek, those leading to Little Yosemite Valley, and others. I'd consider this the ultimate Yosemite classic. Leaving anything with scent behind will be a disaster for your car, and for any bear that happens along. At the trailhead there is a small parking lot. The trail climbs steadily to Upper Cathedral Lake. Whitney, which, according to a sign at the top of Nevada Fall, is only another 215 miles (346 km) away. Luckily once we reached the top of the climb the smoke seemed to lighten up. The pass is your gateway to an endless array of Yosemite hikes and backpacking trips that most visitors to Yosemite Valley will never step foot on. This is a point to point hike that will require a ride back from the Yosemite Valley to Mammoth Lakes. Yosemite miles sign cites 5.5 miles as the distance from Tuolumne Meadows to the Lower Cathedral Lakes junction. Our final night’s camp is in Little Yosemite Valley. Was definitely worth the drive! There were a few campsites on the far side of the lake, one of which was especially large but exposed. Lower Cathedral is flanked by a beautiful meadow on the east. There are three main summits to Cathedral Rocks dubbed Higher, Middle, and Lower Cathedral Rocks. Best appreciated in early summer when it's still green. We saw one couple on the trail. The trail climbs steadily to Upper Cathedral Lake. Cathedral Lake Trail is a relatively popular hiking trail in Tuolumne Meadows but far enough away from the crowded valley floor to allow for a bit more privacy. Granite shelf on the east side makes for a nice snack spot, but the best view of the lake actually comes from the west side, looking out at cathedral peak. Reviews. It is not crowded at all. We reached the Cathedral Lakes trail soon enough and began the ascent. It sure seemed longer than the miles indicated and although it was beautiful, it seemed pitifully dry this time of year. What an amazing hike. Capital-S Stunning. Yosemite – Cathedral Lakes Hike As far as hikes from Tuolumne Meadows go, the Cathedral Lakes hike is my favorite. Yosemite National Park charges a fee to enter. Cathedral Lakes The scenic beauty of Cathedral Lakes draws both day hikers and backpackers to their shores. I'm usually not a big fan of trails that are monotonous on the way up, but the trail is so beautifully shaded by the forest that you can't help but appreciate it. 4.5 miles to Sunrise HSC, and 19.6 to Yosemite Valley from Cathedral Lakes trail junction. Cathedral Lakes (moderate) 7 miles (11.3 km round-trip), 1,000-foot elevation gain; 4 to 6 hours. We headed off to Lower Cathedral Lake this time since we only went to the Upper Lake last time. The road from the Yosemite Valley to the Cathedral Lake Trailhead takes 50 miles and you will need an hour and a half to reach the location. Stop at Lower Cathedral Lake and sit on the granite banks enjoying the tranquil waters before heading up the trail to the truly epic view of Upper Cathedral Lake. Head for the water's edge, or alternatively try a circuitous route of the lake. The secluded lakes, forests and peaks were breathtaking, John Muir Trail From Tioga Pass Road to the Merced River, Waterwheel Falls and the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne Trail, Benson Pass - Northeast Yosemite Grand Tour, PCT: CA Section I - Tuolumne Meadow to Sonora Pass, John Muir Trail: Cathedral Lakes Trail to Clouds Rest, Tuolumne Meadow to White Wolf via Pacific Crest Trail, Cathedral Lakes Trailhead to Yosemite Valley via Half Dome, Tuolumne Meadows to Tenaya Lake via Pacific Crest and Glen Aulin Trails. Hiked 6/28/2020. Tackle both lakes and you're looking at a 8.3 mile trek, but you can shorten your hike by visiting just the Upper Lake (7.2 miles total) or just the Lower Lake (7.0 miles). Normally I don't hike in boots but I was glad I was on this trip. Length 22.9 miElevation gain 3608 ftRoute type Point to point One of the most famous hikes in the world, this classic trek on the John Muir Trail is popular for both its incredible scenery and generally declining elevation. Lol. Parking can prove difficult in Yosemite, so sometimes it is best to take a shuttle from the valley to your hiking trailhead. Elevation gain/loss: +3,300 ft / -5,600 ft. One of the most popular of Yosemite’s high country destinations has to be Cathedral Lakes. We did this trail as the 1st part of our short fall backpack trip. Make sure you go to Upper Cathedral Lake first and make it back down to Lower Cathedral Lake on the way back. You'll find plenty of parking at the trailhead, and be sure to empty your car of anything that smells like food and store it in the bear-proof lockers provided. On the few level spots on the way down we took in some amazing vistas across the Tuolumne Valley. We started up the Cathedral Lakes Trail after dropping off a vehicle at the Sunrise Lakes Trailhead near Tenaya Lake. Is my permit valid if I leave the wilderness? That said, you'll never find Yosemite-Valley levels of crowds here. Near the top of the climb, it passes a spur trail to Lower Cathedral Lake (0.5 mile to lake). Length of route: Around 20 miles. The view upon arrival is worth ever bit of work it takes to get there. 7 … Cathedral Lakes. To camp at Little Yosemite Valley: Glacier Point to Little Yosemite Valley Trailhead: Cathedral Lakes Cathedral Lakes are nestled at the foot of Cathedral Peak. Tip: Go to both. The trailhead does not scream at you here I am like others, so be watchful after Tenaya Lake. 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