Clouds Rest Trail from Tenaya Lake

HARD 131 reviews
#11 of 157 trails in

Clouds Rest Trail from Tenaya Lake is a 13.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mariposa, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. 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
13.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4101 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

horseback riding

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

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.

1 day ago

awesome trail. the Sunrise parking lot needs to have a sign for the Clouds Rest trailhead. It is instead found .3 miles from the parling lot.

backpacking
1 day ago

This overnight hike was very difficult for me. I went solo backpacking overnight to clouds rest. I am not an active exerciser, frequent hiker, or strong at carrying weight. i first start by arriving and waiting in lune for a backpackers wilderness permit at 0600 the day before for a first come permit. i was the 4th party in line and the first requesting for clouds rest. turns out they only handed out 3 permits and not the 6 or 9 stated on the website even though i was at the closet office. the guy behind me didn't get the 3 he wanted. so, i spent the first night at the back packers camp oon the camp ground with a lot of other hikers. it's $6 cash, no change given. I decided to leave my car at the office and shuttle to the trail head in the AM so as not to walk the mile to my car and then find parking (plus i was helping nature). well, that was a dumb idea. there's only 2 shuttles and in average i waited an 1.5 hrs each time for it. anyhoo, the creek at the beginning was ankle deep and so I took my shoes off. the incline a few miles in was hard and I made frequent stops. one area with granite staircase has few areas of shade. when i finally made it to the sunrise lakes junction I was tired but it said I was 4.7 mi away. after the lake owards CR I saw 2 creeks going up to get my last water supply and 4 when I returned from CR (not sure if I missed the others before). I took 3 L for ~ 5.5 mi RT and cooking to be safe. glad I did bc on the return I needed it. I camped out on the last flat spot before the summit ascent that overlooked mountains. i was the only one there. no bears visited thank goodness. Oh, the best canister for food is heavy ~4lbs-ish and i left it 10 ft away. I summitted for sunrise and found about 10 ppl who had camped on top. I started my return at 0900 and expected to be done in half the time it took me to climb up which was 7.5 hrs.... but no. the hike back was as bad or worst then going up. it took me 6 hours. the miles seemed longer and little wind. the first 0.5mi ascent back was brutal under the sun. I drank way more water than i expected and i stopped more. Now, I know I'm not I shape but I seriously didn't think I'd be that done before I was done. obviously, there were others who had less of a hard time carrying there pack weight. so, this is for my fellow mediocre hikers out there. By the end of the last 2 miles I kept thinking I was almost done but was sorely mistaken each corner. overall, the place was beautiful. hang in there and go for it safely.

2 days ago

hiking
2 days ago

4 days ago

6 days ago

hiking
6 days ago

hiking
7 days ago

Rewarding!! This hike is amazing and if you are thinking of doing it, do yourself and your soul a favor and do it! My boyfriend and I did this hike in one solid day. He is not much of a hiker but actively works out, I am much more of a hiker and backpacker and we were just fine. You don't need to train as though you are running a marathon, just be sure you are some what active and bring tons of snacks and water. We didn't refill water once, we stopped 3 times to eat some bars and regroup. We started at Tanaya lake, you cross a little steam of water about ankle deep. About 3 miles in, it gets tough! The switch backs that are super rocky were the hardest part for us. Going up we actually went off trail since the mountain looks all the same, luckily we saw some others hiking and were able to get back on track. Once you get past that rocky area it was pretty smooth from there, baby switch backs here and there. Finally at the end of the hike... wow!! Amazing! We made it up to the top is 3 hours solid. We hung out on top for 2 hours, the views are incredible. We didn't experience any rain or hail. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. We both agree the way back was much much harder. Especially going down hill. It can get pretty dangerous when you are exhausted and you are going down on nothing but rocky uneven surface. It took us much longer to get back, we weren't sure why when our pace remained the same if not even faster cause we wanted to just haul butt back. I have done the Na Pali Coast backpacking hike and this was much more difficult but also much more rewarding at the end. Everyone along the way is so incredible awesome and wishing you good luck or encouraging you. The hike was not crowded as we went on a Wednesday. The parking is very easy, look for the sunrise sign and park there. They have restrooms at the head of the trail. This hike is nothing less than absolutely beautiful, hard, and satisfying all together. This has inspired us to do half dome next!

7 days ago

hiking
8 days ago

10 days ago

Beautiful. It was so surreal being on the summit looking down in the valley. Yet, it's more close to 15 miles rather than 13.1 as AllTrails says. Definitely worth the grueling climb up. There is a creek crossing but it's only about calf height.

hiking
11 days ago

One of the best hikes of my life. It has streams, rocks, big rocks, view to some random waterfalls and of course unprecedented views from the top. I am definitely going again to backpack there.

hiking
11 days ago

backpacking
13 days ago

started at tanaya lake and camped at sunrise lake to hike clouds rest the next day. every step + every scramble = worth it. unbelievable views. clouds rest and half dome have set the bar.

hiking
13 days ago

hiking
13 days ago

hiking
17 days ago

Unbelievable hike. The view from the top is astounding and makes you forget about the tough miles it took to get there. Definitely strenuous and you should be in good shape just to get up to Sunrise Lakes because the climb up has a lot of switchbacks and is really rocky which makes things much more difficult. Once past this part of the hike it is much easier until you get to the final climb but that is still a long way away. We watched sunset at the top and hiked all the way back at night in the dark with flashlights which wasn't as bad as we had expected and the return trip is quicker and easier than getting out there. The view is unparalleled 360 degree view of everything in Yosemite. Never seen anything like it

hiking
18 days ago

Pretty tough climb, but the views are amazing. Here is a trip report with pictures and maps from when I did the hike: https://backpackersreview.wordpress.com/trip-reports/yosemite-hiking-clouds-rest/

Amazing! Hard, but beautiful views all the way. You must take mosquito repellent and lots of sunscreen. Definitely worth it.

hiking
22 days ago

The view at the top is breathtaking. The hike to the top can be a struggle and even back down, especially if you have no training for a difficult hike. You have to cross ankle deep water in the very beginning so I suggest extra socks and bring a towel to wipe your feet off before putting shoes back on. You do not want wet feet starting this hike. The switch backs toward the beginning can be difficult because of you ascending and again when descending. It's a struggle descending because by that point you are already tired. I HIGHLY recommend bringing bug spray and sunscreen. The mosquitos are absolutely terrible. Other than that every step and struggle is absolutely worth it. Do not give up doing this hike, it is definitely something that you will remember forever.

And when starting the hike, several people including ourselves were having a hard time finding where the trail began, once you park and head towards the trail head you will come to a part that there are three options. Go to the left, you will cross a bridge right away and then go to the creek that you cross that is ankle deep.

I hope some of this helps others.