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Cathedral Lakes Trail

MODERATE 17 reviews
#16 of 124 trails in

Cathedral Lakes Trail is a 8.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Yosemite National Park, CA that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October. Horses are also able to use this trail.

8.7 miles 1525 feet Out & Back

kid friendly

backpacking

birding

fishing

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

horseback riding

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

no dogs

The trail is fairly steep, rising 1,000 feet in about 3.5 miles. The trail is also located at high elevation, so the air is thinner, possibly causing those that are not acclimated to the elevation to tire faster, and fatigue. The view upon arrival is worth ever bit of work it takes to get there. Cathedral Peak rises beyond a pristine alpine lake. Along side of the lake a beautiful meadow filled with wildflowers adds color to this amazing landscape. It is truly paradise. But it is essential to register early if you plan to stay overnight. The campgrounds fill up fast.


4 days ago

hiking


24 days ago


1 month ago

hiking

Such a beautiful hike. I think I was smiling the entire time. We left from Tuolumne Meadows campground so added about five miles overall but it was so nice to come back straight to our campsite instead of having to drive anywhere.

The lakes are gorgeous and peaceful. There were a good number of hikers and equestrians at Lower Cathedral but for how big the lake is it seems everyone was pretty spaced out and it didn't feel crowded. Upper Cathedral Lake was really where we had the best time as we only saw two other hikers and they only stayed briefly.

At Upper, we had a nice little lunch and then had a quick swim (cold water feels great on a hot day but the wind was picking up). Total seclusion. Just the best time. Wildflowers everywhere in the meadows you cross to arrive here and snow still up on some bluffs in July.

Would do again and again and again. Great hike.


1 month ago

hiking

We started the hike from the sign on the road showing the trailhead to Cathedral Lakes. It was a little over 7 miles round trip and took 3 hours. The views of the surrounding area and alpine lakes were amazing. This is a popular trail, cars were parked all along the road. There were a few stream crossings and the trail was muddy in some parts.


1 month ago

hiking

This is a popular hike judging from the many cars at the trailhead alone. Get there early and find a nice space. The hike is not very hard. A few sections uphill but nothing major. There are many people coming and going because this is part of the JMT, so you will run into a lot of backpackers most likely. Cathedral lake, the lower one, sits beautifully under cathedral peak. The pass and the upper lake is a nice place to visit too. You can do it. This maybe a nice place to backpack and relax, and perhaps allow you to see numerous sites nearby.


2 months ago

hiking

Hiked mid-June and found much the trail still covered in snow. Thanks to all trails, I was able to keep my group and a few others on the trail! Loved the views at Cathedral Lake! Very rewarding at the end of the 4 mile hike. Budget at least 6 hours for a round trip.


11 months ago

One of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done


1 year ago

Great hike! The lake was beautiful.


1 year ago

hiking

Beautiful alpine lakes. Perfect for swimming.


1 year ago

hiking

Great little hike with a beautiful lake at the end.


2 years ago

hiking

This is another gorgeous Yosemite hike. The first half is the hardest, but then it becomes pretty relaxed and pleasant. Most of it is wooded. The lakes are stunning. We hiked from Tuolomne campground, so it was a bit longer. A lot of backpackers on it and there is a backpackers' campground at Upper Cathedral Lake.


2 years ago


2 years ago

John Muir considered Cathedral Lakes the closest place he had ever seen to a church, thus the namesake. He was right. It is truly amongst God's greatest beauty. Worth the hike, which is on the harder side of moderate. So, so worth it. About a five hour hike total. Loved every minute of it!


2 years ago

hiking

I agree with Ricky, it depends on where you begin. We started at Tuolumne and we got to Cathedral Lake upper, after hiking most of the day. It was the end of July, very warm and what seemed like a never ending ascent! What a site to behold when you make it to the very edge, at the base of Cathedral peak, to see the lake glistening down the mountain! We made our way down and set up camp for 3 days~ no fires were allowed, but that didn't take away from our camping trip! It was a full moon on the lake~ gorgeous!


3 years ago

hiking

One of my all time favorite hikes! Easy enough without being a cakewalk, good distance and beautiful waters!


4 years ago

hiking

Absolutely awesome hike though it's all about the destination in this case. The journey is strenuous because of lack of oxygen up there. And 7 mile is very subjective and depends where you start as our hike totaled 10 miles because we started from tuolumne campgrounds.

Went 7/7/12 Saturday. Not crowded at all.

Unfortunately I did suffer from altitude sickness after the hike. Fever, nausea and insomnia. I have never suffered from alt sickness before. As soon as I made it out of the park in the morning I was fine. I guess there is a big difference between 8000 ft(my previous high) and 9000 ft.


4 years ago

hiking