Clouds Rest Trail from Tenaya Lake is a 13.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Yosemite National Park, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October. Horses are also able to use this trail.
The best place to enjoy the view of Half Dome from the top. Cloud's Rest, a massive granite formation just northeast of Half Dome in Yosemite Valley, is famous for its very high degree of visual prominence in the valley as well as its razor-sharp ridge near the summit. For people who have hiked Cloud's Rest, they are most impressed with the thrilling feeling they have while scrambling up the narrow ridge, with sheer drop-offs on both sides, to the summit. The fastest way to day hike Cloud's Rest starts from the Sunrise Lakes trailhead on Tioga Road near Tenaya Lake. From the trailhead, you start the hike by following the trail markers for Sunrise H.S.C. After the first 1.5 mile hike on the relatively flat trail, you begin to climb up the lower slope below Sunrise Mountain. The switchbacks on the slope will surely pound your heart as you are gaining 1,000 feet in elevation in just one mile before reaching the top of the slope. On the top, you immediately encounter the Y junction for either Cloud's Rest or Sunrise Lakes. Bear right for Cloud's Rest and begin to follow the trail markers for it from now on. The trail beyond the junction (called Forsyth Trail) descends sharply for 0.5 miles until you reach the flat land below Sunrise Mountain. The trail on the land is about 1.7 miles long and traverses beautiful woods and a nice lake before you encounter the next junction. Bear right at the T junction for Cloud's Rest and you are about 1.5 miles away from it (though the marker says 2.5 miles). Since you're approaching Cloud's Rest from its back, you only begin to see it after passing the junction. Keep hiking up on the trail until you encounter the marker for Cloud's Rest Foot Trail. Use extreme caution beyond this point as the passway on the top of Cloud's Rest is narrow and both sides are sheer drip-offs. You can enjoy the spectacular views of Half Dome, Tenaya Canyon and surrounding mountains after a short scramble to the summit where you can find a geology mark on it. Take the same way back to the Sunrise Lakes trailhead once you're ready to return.
All rankings 1-10
Scenery = 10, start at great lake, end at great views
Difficulty = 6, not bad, hardest part about mile in
Solitude = 4, really depends on when you go
Shade = 7, generally in trees but near top is bare
Wildlife = 5, deer along path and marmouts at top
Far easier hike than Half Dome and better views of the Sierra Rang from the top. An absolute must do.
Very rewarding views @ summit.
Awe inspiring. Not an easy hike for sure but well worth all the effort! Best hike yet!
Decent climb but the altitude made it extra difficult. The views throughout are good and superlative at the end. This was our favorite YNP hike.
An amazing hike with awesome 360' views. It was intense and not for the faint of hearts.
Amazing view of Yosemite valley and side of half dome
This is a fantastic hike! Mostly flat to start, then a few sets of switchbacks. The last 1/4 mile is a little scary if you're not into heights, you hike along a slim ridge before you get to the end, but it's worth it for the view.
If you can catch it, there's a point in the fall where the trees that line the valley's walls will be yellow on the edges, but green in the center, because the outside ones insulate the inside ones from the cold. Glorious.
I loved it so much, did it twice in two week period. Love the scenery and height towards the end. Well worth the hike.
This hike lived up to it's reputation. Clouds Rest is a challenging endeavor which rewards hikers with the ultimate view of Yosemite Valley.
This is not a good hike to choose if you have a fear of heights or vertigo. The drops on either side of the final stretch are significant.
A lot of uphill and lots of rest stops. Awesome when you get to the top. Start early and don't stay too long on top (we stayed about an hour) or else you will be chasing the sun back to your car if you are doing a roundtrip.
Stunning views from above Half Dome!
Not a lot to add than one reviewer or another has not said already: a good day hike leading to world class views (overused term… but I believe it applies here)down the Yosemite Valley with Half Dome as the center-piece. View are 360 and, anywhere else than Yosemite, they would all trigger ecstatic comments. The 1 mile, 1000 ft ascent at the beginning does make the walk interesting and the final ascent close to at 10K elevation make for a bit of huffing and puffing. However, if these 60 years old legs did it then almost anyone can.
This is Yosemite and you will likely not be alone if hiking in season and, even more so, on weekends (I arrived at 7:30 am and had to park a bit up the road; parking was full). In late August, the area was bone dry… but there were still a few options between miles 2.5 and 4.5 to replenish a dwindling water supply (assuming one has the required gear).
Here is a short “segmentation” of the trail.
Section 1 is a bit less than 1.5 miles and mostly level, making its way through a forested area and meandering across a couple boulder fields at the foot of the granite cliffs to the North.
Section 2 is the 1 mile, 1000 feet ascent of a roughly North-South ridge. The top is a populare resting spot for hikers on their way out or on their way back. It is also where a trail connection to the John Muir Trail T-bones into the Clouds Rest trail. The ascent is a series of switchbacks of various length and a combination of stone steps, cobblestone-like streches, overall rocky sections and few dirt-trail areas near the top. Good opportunity to pace yourself if you are not very fit.
Section 3 is the .4 miles descent of the south slope; the trail is more dirt than rocks here (even coming back this section did not feel too strenuous to negotiate).
Section 4 follows the broad saddle, in a South-South-West direction, that will eventually lead to the final ascent. This section is where hikers short on water, and with the proper equipment, can replenish their supply: first at a lake and then when crossing two small streams ( that were still going strong in late August). This section is a shallow roller-coaster ending in a gentle ascent toward the junction with the trail going down to the Valley floor (or Nevada falls).
Section 5 is the final ascent to the summit and, although posted at 2.5 miles at the junction above, is closer to 1.5 miles. It starts with a healthy .8 mile / 300 feet elevation climb to the spine leading to Clouds rest. This climb offers the first close-up views of the summit. The trail then levels off for about .5 miles, offering some sweeping views to the South-West and a few resting spots. The last .4 miles or so lead to the summing itself, walking on wide flat stones.
Did this trail in mid August. The weather was perfect, about 36 at the trailhead at 8:00am. I have done a large number of mountain tops in Yosemite, this was actually one of the easier ones. The trail is apsolutely beautiful although it could be marked a little better. I spotted lots of wildlife along the way, deer and a couple coyotes were the highlight. The last push up to the crest is probably the steepest mainly because people are not used to the near 10,000 foot altidude. But if you can make it up and over the ridge you'll be rewarded with IMHO the best view anywhere in the world.
Best of luck don't stop till you get to the top.
Great hike, excellent views of the valley below. Not difficult, but a good day hike. Start early to be able to spend some time at the top.