Clouds Rest Trail from Tenaya Lake

HARD 187 reviews
#9 of 165 trails in

Clouds Rest Trail from Tenaya Lake is a 15 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
15.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4101 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

horseback riding

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

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.

hiking
54 seconds ago

Gorgeous hike with amazing views. Great variety of terrains on the way up. Being able to look down on Half Dome was breathtaking.

hiking
2 days ago

This was an amazing hike. We started at the Sunrise trailhead from Tenaya lake on 10/14/17. We weren’t planning on doing the whole hike because we started at the trailhead at noon but eventually decided to push trough the whole thing. The weather was perfect - about 60 degrees, and it was sunny the whole way up. The whole trip took 9 hours. We made it up in 5 hours and stayed up there for about 30 minutes.

The switchbacks in the beginning and the last 2.5 miles to the top were the toughest. After that first set of switchbacks, where you gain about 1,000 feet in elevation in a mile, you reach the junction and can take a break there. You’re about 2.5 miles into the hike at this point. After that first junction you actually descend into a valley and walk flat for a while (keep in mind that the descent is an ascend on the way back - that’s the reason the way back takes so long). So it’s a break until about the last 3 miles, where you climb uphill again. People on the trail said the last uphill wasn’t as bad as the switchbacks in the beginning, but I thought they were just as bad.

The way back took about 3 and a 1/2 hours. Sunset was around 6:25 so we had to hike in the dark for about 2.5 hours. It was pitch black so make sure to bring flashlights, headlamps, and extra batteries just in case. We didn’t plan to do the whole thing in the beginning so I didn’t bring a jacket and, thankfully, I didn’t need one. It was still about 50-55 degrees after sundown and even felt warm at times since we were moving pretty fast to get back.

I am a beginner hiker, female, weigh 230 and am 5’3”. It’s a tough hike if you’re in similar physical condition as I am (really obese - lol!), but definitely doable. I trained for Cloud’s Rest for about a month by walking daily for a mile on the treadmill’s steepest incline, going on two “easy” 5-mike hikes, one “moderate” 3-mile hike and one “moderate” 7-mile hike. I drank 4 liters of water during the hike & trekking piles were a must for me!

Enjoy the hike, you’ll have an amazing time!

hiking
6 days ago

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6 days ago

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7 days ago

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11 days ago

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13 days ago

This is not only beautiful, it has everything from woods to mountain lakes to cliff edges. It looks scary with the ridge at the end but I felt safe the entire hike. All the beautiful scenery of Yosemite without the crowds!

hiking
13 days ago

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14 days ago

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14 days ago

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15 days ago

hiking
17 days ago

Amazing hike. Our initial plan was to hike Half-Dome but we were unable to secure the permits so decided to do Cloud Rest instead. No regrets, my friends and I had a great time! We started the hike around 11a and got back to the car around 8p.

hiking
18 days ago

No pictures you take or words you speak can do this ridiculously majestic place justice.

hiking
19 days ago

Amazing and incredibly rewarding hike. We started hiking at 6am and it made the trek up so much better not having to deal with the heat. This was my first 15 mike hike. I’m glad I had plenty of water to stay hydrated. Took our group 5 hours to reach the top because we took plenty of breaks. The way back down seemed like it was never ending though lol.

hiking
19 days ago

Exceptional views from the summit of Yosemite and in particular Half Dome. Varied terrain on the ascent. Lots of shade.

hiking
20 days ago

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21 days ago

22 days ago