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My son and I did this trail in 3 days. 1 in, 1 enjoying and 1 out. The switchbacks coming up the granite face were a little taxing, but so well worth it. This trail is amazing. Be prepared for bears!

Simply fantastic! One of the best all around bang for your buck hikes I’ve ever done. Very enjoyable walk (fit hikers won’t get their heart rate up even once on this) with nonstop views that change around every corner. Did this on a Friday and saw very few people. Wear sunblock, there is not much shade.

Beautiful hike. The switchbacks are devastating. Take your time, hydrate, snack half way through them. Once you're done with the switchback, it is an easy hike to the top. Coming down the switchbacks is not too fun. Trailhead gets packed. Get there early!

This is without a doubt one of the most beautiful hikes in the eastern Sierras where you are treated with spectacular views at every turn. The alpine lakes and mountain views are breathtaking. The trail can be difficult and hard to find at times due to the fact that you are often walking over shale rock. I would not rate this trail as moderate for the average hiker but it is so well worth it!

This was my very first hike and it was spectacular! I started at 6:30 AM and quickly learned that the trail wouldn't be as easy as I had thought. The first 1.5 miles are a strenuous uphill walk. I was completely exhausted within the first 10 minutes but the reward at the end was worth it. I started at 6:30 AM and was back at the trailhead at 10:20 AM.

Lower Cathedral Lake was absolutely gorgeous. I was the only one at the lake so it was like my own retreat. I would definitely hike this trail again and I recommend this trail for beginner hikers. Just bring plenty of water. I went through 4 bottles.

Just hiked today. Got on trail at 6am, skies were crystal clear. Smoked moved in around 11am. Amazing at the top. Really challenging ups and downs. Sat on the edge of life and death.

Also not 1 mosquito in sight!!

August 6: to the couple of questions posed; there is no real stream crossing required, the rock path is fully exposed across the Tenaya Lake Egress so no wet feet at all. The park is mostly closed now due to Ferguson Fire. Tioga Pass and road is only open access, but would not recommend any hiking to Cloud's Rest for a while. Bad air quality and really bad views. Check here for latest conditions: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5927/ and Half Dome webcam: https://www.nps.gov/customcf/webcam/dsp_webcam_image.cfm?id=81B464BC-1DD8-B71B-0B0F6F15CBA4A034

To Anyone who recently hiked this trail, was the stream pretty low at the start of the trail to where your feet don’t get wet?

One of my favorite hikes of all time! The name "twenty lakes basin" definitely does it justice as there's at least one lake in sight for most of the hike. I personally did more of a figure 8, going around both sides of saddlebag lake, which I'd recommend to make it even more interesting. If you are used to hiking and living at a high altitude, I would still classify this as easy, but maybe moderate if you're used to sea level. My coworker called it "probably the flattest longer hike in the Eastern Sierra". There was still a bit of snow on the trail as of mid July which made it a little tricky to follow but never too bad. As a bonus, it's just outside of Yosemite, so you get the beauty without the crowds or the entrance fee. Loved it!

Beautiful hike even with the Smokey skies. Passed maybe 20 people - but had the Lake to ourselves when we arrived. Great hike with my 12yr old son in 4.5 hours at a nice, steady pace.

hiking
19 days ago

nice hike but not super scenic on the way. The lakes are beautiful, specially the upper one. Make sure you take a good mosquito spray. I have never seen so many mosquitoes in my life !

hiking
19 days ago

Simply spectacular. We used the trail on the far side of Saddlebag lake from what's shown on the map and I think it's got more interesting terrain and flora and is less exposed. Recommend walking the lake loop clockwise from the top of Saddlebag–the second half of the trail has some sections that were still covered in snow in mid July that were much easier to navigate from that direction than the reverse, as well as some climbs up scree that I would not have enjoyed going the opposite way. This trail wouldn't be particularly challenging at lower elevation, but as it's between 10 and 11,000, you may feel any climbs and be a bit worked over by the end if you're not acclimated.

I guess there are much better hikes in Yosemite but with this deep smoke is the best that could be done in the day.

An epic hike! Completed this with two great friends who were kind enough to invite me to join them for a weekend of day hiking. We hiked the Shadow and Ediza Lakes Trail the day before and I'd thought that that was the most scenic hike I'd completed to date. Then we did this hike... and it took #1 for scenery on my list. Both hikes are fantastic. Now I just keep imagining myself living in a small cottage located in any of the alpine meadows we hiked through on the Twenty Lakes Basin Trail. I could live like a Pika (which we were happy to have seen many of along the way).

We hiked this counterclockwise from the parking area for Saddlebag Lake. Confirming what others have pointed out, there are sections of the trail that can be rough on the feet and ankles due to scree (aka shattered stone). The section of trail approaching Shamrock Lake from Lake Helen is where cairns proved to be very helpful as they were the means to determine the direction of travel over the solid stone surface.

Mosquitoes everywhere. Got eaten alive but it was worth it because of the views at the end.

hiking
21 days ago

During Late-July, the weather was filled with clear and smoky skies. The Ferguson fire made a big impact on the conditions. Most of the day in Tuolumne Meadows, the skies were blue until around 3pm. At the trail head, park along the road. Find yourself hiking up the transverse. The elevation is pretty high for a valley person like me. Warming upwards, the hike is nice but very popular. The climb from the trail head to lower Cathedral Lake is around 1000 feet. Climb another 200 feet to the Upper Cathedral Lake which provided another good view. Throughout the hike, find flowers and foliage that are pretty. Overall, nice hike.

We did this hike last year and are planning to do it again in two weeks, please report on the smoke, thanks, I appreciate it, and the smoke around Toulemne Meadow, thanks! Love this hike, it has it all, views, granite, meadows, challenges, we did not find it too challenging, take your time and enjoy it.

Went on July 3rd with a smoky haze in the air from the nearby Ansel Adams Wilderness fire. We started at about 7:30AM and spent a total of about 8.5 hours on the trail, spending about an hour and a half at the top. The hike goes for about a mile and a half through the woods at the start, then becomes vertical for another mile to a ridge and trail intersection with the trail to the High Sierra Camps and Sunrise Lakes. From there the trail descends quite a bit [remember you'll be coming back this way] and flattens out, travels past a small pond and then begins a gradual climb through the forest. Finally we reached Cloud's Rest foot trail over the rocky fin to the top. The fin is plenty wide for anyone, just don't go crazy and you'll be fine. In fact, you'll be so acclimated to the elevation when you leave, you'll think the fin is really wide when you start down. Views of the surrounding Sierras are awesome and because of the fires, nearby peaks were a bit hazy and cast with a yellowish or blue tint. You can continue right up and over the rest area and down towards Half Dome if you want to go to the valley. It's amazing how rock has been chipped off in huge chunks over the years, leaving some cool formations below as you stand near the geodetic marker at the top close to the edge. On the way back, we hit the climb back to the ridge but wasn't as bad as the initial ridge climb. Several campers along the way. Saw some trees that had been hit by lightning and you want to make sure you leave early enough not to encounter T-storms at the top. This is easier than Half Dome. Enjoy, this is a great workout with a great payoff.

Hiked on 7/24. LOTS of smoke from the Ferguson fire. Trail has a small rocky section (around mile 3.5) that may be hard for small children/adults with balance issues. Lakes totally worth the climb. BRING WATER.

Very hard at the beginning but so nice !

Moderate hike with a beautiful view of the lake!! Don’t forget your camera!!

This hike is as good as it gets. There's nothing more you can ask, just an absolutely amazing experience. I disagree with people that call this hike easy, the terrain is very challenging for a lot of the hike and hard to follow at times. Bring flip flops or waterproof shoes, you will get wet!

Did this on 6/23. Boy was it incredible! 3,100 feet elevation gain and 7.5 miles each way. Definitely not for the mildly out of shape or the scared of heights. It felt like it was straight uphill for the whole hike. I started at 6:30 AM and that was the perfect time to start. Any later and you'd be walking up in the sun. 6.5 total hours of hiking. By far, best hike I've ever been on! Gorgeous. Harder and better view than Half Dome

Easy enough. Well marked with exception of a portion past steelhead if you’re going clockwise. But, there’s cairns to help you out if you look. Thunderstorms come in really fast so be aware. But all in all great trail. My 8 and 11 year old completed the whole trail with me.

The view from the top of Clouds Rest must be an Earth-top-ten-view.
From the Sunrise Lakes trailhead plan on 7 miles to the peak. No real water sources. Very lightly trafficked trail on a Friday in July. Started at 6:30am, we were at the top by 11. We had 3 liters of water per person (some may want more but our early start gave us shade and sky was overcast in the afternoon) and several candy bars, and we always take Fritos. We have hiked a lot in Yosemite and this is my favorite. I like it better than the hike up Half Dome, though there's some great parts to that hike too. We took our three kids and at the top they all scampered ahead of me, no fear, but I had to take it nice and slow. That last few hundred feet (sheer, sheer drop offs on both sides) are very doable but about the last 15 feet I had to get on all fours and crawl because of the narrowness of the trail and the sheer drop offs on both sides. That part, there is only room for one person at a time, and the people waiting to go down as I crawled across that last fifteen feet all cheered me on. Really spectacular people on this trail. At the top there is plenty of room to relax and take in the views. And you will want to.
(*side note. Though we started at Tenaya lake, from the top we took the trail down to the valley floor. This made our hike almost 18 miles in one day. We thought it would be nice to see Vernal and Nevada falls on the way down but it was too much. Next time I'll definitely just return to Tenaya lake.)

hiking
1 month ago

Love this trail. Beautiful scenery along the trail that finally opens up to an amazing meadow, the likes of which I had never seen growing up in Vegas. I don't think we actually made it to the upper lake because we couldn't really tell where the trail continued from, but we were certainly satisfied with what we did see. The first climb at the beginning can be hard, but then it gets pretty easy.

backpacking
1 month ago

Great hike. Very doable, but for those that aren’t in the best shape, 6 miles with a pack will feel like you accomplished something. And the reward of going in the lake when you get there is the cherry on top. Small lake. You will be near others, but should be able to find your own space.

Hiking to the top of Clouds Rest if you’re afraid of heights can be prohibitive, but if you’re willing to push past your fear, the views are phenomenal!

I started the trail at Tenaya Lake (AKA Sunrise Lakes trailhead) and thought to myself "wow this trail has it all!" Beautiful meadows, small stream crossings, lakes, wildflowers galore, steep switchbacks that seem like they go on for days, sparking granite (because you came to Yosemite to see granite, DUH!), thrills, and most important, views for days!! This hike seems really daunting, but it's actually not that bad. Yes, it has some steep climbing sections, but a lot of downs and flat areas to rest up in between. The first two miles are probably the hardest part of the entire trail, so if you can do that section then you can surely finish! It does get a little rough towards the approach on the spine, but take as many breaks as you need as this isn't a race. I thought the spine was a little over-hyped, but I've been told I have an unhealthy obsession with heights...Be sure to keep an eye on Tenaya Lake as you ascend to keep track of how far you've come! Be sure to make plenty of time to rest up at the top, because you'll need some extra energy for the long trek down, remember those downs I mentioned earlier? Anyways, bring plenty of food and water, this is a longer hike. I did this hike yesterday, (6/14/18) and the Tenaya Lake crossing was completely manageable in my regular hiking boots. However, this is not always the case...

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