Sunrise Lakes Trail is a 9.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Yosemite National Park, CA that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from April until October.
Directions from Tuolumne Meadows: Travel westward on Tioga Road approximately 8 miles to the Tenaya Trailhead immediately west of Tenaya Lake.
July 2015 // Ugh! That 1 mile, 1000 ft elevation gain section of the trail was tough!!! But the lakes were beautiful. You have to trek a little ways off trail to get to the second lake but it's worth seeing. There's an island swimmers can swim to. For a day hike, I'd recommend packing energy dense snacks for the hike and an extra hefty lunch to enjoy at one of the lakes. And definitely bring a water filter to refill your water packs for the trek back down. By the way, if you fish, check out lake #3. Hubby caught 10 brookies in one hour! LOL. And we saw a peregrine falcon circling overhead. That was a treat to see.
This is a busy trail located in the Tenaya lake area of Yosemite national park. The trip can be to the Sunrise lakes or to the high sierra camp. Since this is the beginning of a few trails such as the hike to Clouds rest, it is a busy trail.
Overall the hike seemed to me to have three sections, the first section near the Tenaya lake is mostly flat and very good. Lots of trees. The middle section is a steep switchback area which seemed to go on for a long time. I found myself wondering how long this would last as most people seemed to slow and need extra time to get through here. However after reading the top, the trail splits, and you continue up to Sunrise lakes, which is great for backpackers. There are three lakes, one a little off trail you will need to look for, but all are pretty and set in a beautiful location.
Overall I recommend these lakes if you want to see as much of Yosemite as I do. Your legs maybe a bit sore afterwards as mine were, but definitely its worth checking out.
Easy, gradual ascent from Tenaya Lake trailhead for about 1.5 miles, then some really brutal switchbacks for another mile, with a 1000 ft gain. That section was by far the most difficult part of our 3 day hike from Tenaya to Yosemite Valley. We camped at the first lake and it was near perfect. Great spot right by the water with nice flat sections for tents and a great granite shelf for cooking. The water temperature in late August was absolutely perfect, and there were no bugs to speak of.
Switchbacks are brutal from Tenaya Lake. Otherwise a lovely spot. Makes a nice loop to Cathedral Lake and Tuolumne Meadows if you don't mind hitching a ride back to Tenaya.
Very low usage, at least when I was there. Insultingly beautiful at times; when you crest the hill, head to the right a bit and keep an eye out for a magnificent panorama view. Extremely serene place to be. I have heard of very large swarms of mosquitors in mid-Summer, though by the time I got there (mid-August), they were totally absent.
Wowwww...Three lakes to choose from, but I think the one closest to Tenaya is my favorite. It has amazing camping spots over to the right with staggered rock platforms for tents etc. The lake was beautiful with half granite, half forest surrounding the lake itself. Fishing was the best I've seen in the area with huge Rainbow trout which snapped my 5lb leader twice. Note that in late July, it's mosquito feeding time, and you are dinner. We set up tents on the rocks to have a screen room to protect us from their attacks which do come in waves. lol. I've been to many lakes and this is one I plan on returning to in the future.
Completed this hike on 8-3-12. If you can survive the switch backs, the trail is well worth the effort! Beautiful day hike with lunch at the first lake on the rocks. Yosemite is a favorite destination, especially the high country hikes during the summer months!