Cathedral Lakes Trail

MODERATE 52 reviews
#14 of 154 trails in

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

DISTANCE
8.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1633 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

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.

hiking
1 day ago

6 days ago

hiking
6 days ago

hiking
11 days ago

Awesome trail with trees, creeks and extraordinary view of the cathedral peak and the granite rocks than surround the lakes. On the way up we encountered the trail covered of snow but easy to follow. At the end the spectacular and frozen cathedral lake. Quiet and relaxing. I couldn't resist the temptation to jump in the water. We rest a little and enjoy the most exquisite view in front of us. Beautifully amazing.

backpacking
14 days ago

hiking
14 days ago

You'll need a GPS to navigate the snow melts, which cover about a 3rd of the trail. You'll also get wet, especially as you get closer to the lake. I was given advice that once you reach the fork that goes down to the lake, stay off the trail and keep to the right of the stream to minimize the amount of bog you go through. As long as you keep it within earshot, it's hard to not end up at the lake.

hiking
15 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

3 months ago

3 months ago

This hike is worth it! Once you reach the top the view is absolutely stunning! I will be doing this one again.

3 months ago

4 months ago

Was amazing a bit hard at the very beginning but worth everything!!

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful hike to some alpine lakes. The first part of the hike is actually pretty steep, but as soon as you get past that, it's an easy and enjoyable hike. We got lost for a few minutes on the return portion because the trail wasn't marked very well. There were a fair amount of people on the trail. I recommend this hike if you want a day or two outside of Yosemite Valley. Tuolumne Meadows area is very beautiful and worth the drive!

hiking
5 months ago

Did a day hike to lower cathedral lake with the kids in June. Steep climb up and in with lots of switchbacks but good tree cover so you are in the shade. Great views of the meadows through the trees as you make your way up. We didn't make good time for the reason, we were constantly stopping for pictures! You cross a stream several times and in early season I recommend you wear waterproof boots as my feet became very cold and wet. The views as you drop into lower Cathedral Lake are amazing and the lake is beautiful. The trail disappeared at times as we dropped into the lake, just follow the stream and you will be fine. Great Yosemite hike! Just a note we had snow on the ground and you need either a gps or very good trail skills as the trail was very difficult to follow in the snow.

7 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

backpacking
9 months ago

We started a late Friday afternoon backpacking trip with this trail. It was a great trail to just get into the backcountry on. The hike up to the lower lake was fairly strenuous at first requiring a lot of strength going uphill for quite a ways... I think gaining roughly 1000 ft or so. It was dark once we got to the lake but the stars were bright as ever and the night sky looked gorgeous. We woke in the morning to an incredible view of Cathedral Peak with its reflection on top of the water. (Try and camp on the western side of the lake for an amazing sunrise and early morning view of Cathedral) We spent a little time at the lake fishing in the AM and also climbing around all the abundant surrounding granite. From here we back tracked to the intersection with the John Muir trail and headed towards Echo Lake but decided to go off trail and head upwards gaining another 850 feet or so to Echo Peak. Since we got a late start after enjoying our morning we decided to ditch our packs early and make it to the top of echo for the sunset. Scrambling up steep gravely hills we finally made the summit and watched the sun go down. It was absolutely incredible up there. Sitting on small pieces of rock high above our initial campsite at the lake we had never-ending views with faint glimpses of Yosemite Valley, Clouds Rest and Half Dome. We made our way back down to our pack at dusk and decided to set up camp just under Echo. We woke to a cool morning in the ravine and had our breakfast and coffee... From there we decided that we may as well get to the top of Cathedral so we packed our gear and started the short trek to the base. We dropped our packs around lunchtime and started our ascent. We made it just about to the top of Cathedral before I became a little weary of my strength and the clunkiness of my boots to make the rest of the climb up. A couple of us got maybe 75 ft from the top or so while we watched another buddy(who was a little more confident) make it all the way up. After hanging out and relaxing for a bit we headed down completely out of water and in need of a bite to eat. We determined heading to Budd Lake to refuel was probably for the better before walking the 5 miles out to the car. At Budd we took a little swim and refilled everyones water (filtering of course)... Then we took the trail that heads out of Budd and meets back up with the John Muir Trail out near Tioga Pass... The trail out was incredible. Winding through the lush forest following Budd Creek there were many opportunities to take in the scenery and snap a good photo. I really enjoyed my short time in Yosemite and would recommend this section of the park to anyone that wants to keep away from the crowds. Cathedral Lake was fairly busy but if you off shoot up to echo it becomes very private and actually feels like you are alone in the wilderness. I plan to come back and may continue in this section of the park but would like to go much further in...

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

hiking
10 months ago