Clouds Rest Trail from Tenaya Lake

HARD 107 reviews
#11 of 154 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.

4 days ago

Sorry to post questions on the review board, but I didn't see any other way to contact those on here for questions regarding Clouds Rest. I know there's a small river to cross at the beginning and Michael's review said it's about knee high. Is that still true? Some else mentioned that you'll have to cross a lake that's chest high. Is that still true and how far is the walk across? I'm planning on hiking this in 2 weeks. The first 2 times I did Clouds Rest, it was completely dry. If anyone has been on it after this post, please post your review. It is appreciated. Thanks.

hiking
5 days ago

After getting turned away from Half Dome because we didn't get a permit, my wife and I "settled" on Clouds Rest after reading all the reviews... was it ever worth it! On 7-13-17 we started at 730am and less than 100 yards from the parking lot came across the "water crossing" which was slightly above our knees. Make sure to bring/wear bug spray as we got swarmed by mosquitos (I thought MN was bad; this was a whole new extreme level) both on the way up and coming back. There was quite of bit of snow on the switchbacks which made seeing the trail difficult at times, however, not impossible. Pay attention to the cairns and you'll likely never stray too far off of the trail to the point you can't see it. The rest of the hike is up and down (until the top), but you'll enjoy beautiful scenery throughout most of the hike. The "narrow" section towards the top is narrow, but not THAT narrow, especially if you stay to the left side when going up. The top, IMO, had some of the most rewarding views I've ever seen. It took us about 8.5 hours to complete, including a half hour or so stay at the top and a lot of stops for water (brought 3.5L with me and drank it all) along the way.

hiking
8 days ago

8 days ago

AMAZING views at the top and beautiful trail along the way. We are pretty fast hikers and it took us 6 hours round-trip. You need lots of water and sunscreen (at least in July!) because there are lots of sunny areas. Also be prepared to do one river crossing (took our shoes off). It's long and a good climb but so worth it!!!

hiking
9 days ago

hiking
10 days ago

Stunning view and looking down on Half Dome makes it unique. Snow drifts make it somewhat difficult to navigate but just follow the cairns up if you don't have GPS (although I recommend you have one just in case). You'll get swarmed by chipmunks if you eat at the summit. On the way back down, at least check out the closest Sunrise lake if you don't have the energy or time to do all 3.

hiking
15 days ago

Hiked this trail alone (7/7/17) and I underestimate it. This trail felt more like a 3,000 feet gain from at the ups and downs. Some of the trails were covered with snow, had lost the trail numerous times, other than that it was a great hike. I'm not a regular hiker and it took me almost 10 hours to complete, some of it was due to trying to find the trail from the snow and plus being outta shape doesn't help. I started late at 11:20ish am and didn't get back til night fall 9pm. Also I didnt bring enough water, so I was trying conserve. And being high up in elevation makes breathing difficult.

My recommendation is to train for it and bring lots of water. Also start EARLY and bring a friend.

hiking
15 days ago

We hiked the trail on 7/8/17 and there was still so much snow on the steep incline we completely lost the trail. Luckily we weren't the ones and were able to meet back up with it.
Well worth it though, everyone talks about the views but I thought the best part was the journey. The streams, rock formations, forest then finally cloud's rest itself.

17 days ago

hiking
17 days ago

Great. But a bit early after this big winter (July 6). Still a lot of snow and mud. Views are crazy though once you are up there.

hiking
19 days ago

There was still a lot of snow on the trail and snow melt that made it very difficult to stay on the trail. I lost the trail more than a few times because of these obstacles. There is not normally this much snow and water at this time of year. Hope to make it all the way to the top next time. Only did a 10 mile loop in about 8 hours. I didn't start recording until part way through the snow. Full 13 mile loop should take about 10-11 hrs. Bring at least 4 liters of water and lots of snacks.

You need to cross Tenaya Creek at the start and finish of the hike. Be sure to bring a spare pair of shoes or sandals and clothing. There are stepping stones, but the water can be anywhere from your shins up to your chest depending on the amount of snow melt that has already happened. There are also multiple river crossings throughout the trail that don't have a clear dry way to cross.

19 days ago

The view at the top is amazing. What is not amazing are the current trail conditions. There's still a ton of snow, and large portions of the trail are under snowpack. The climb up the ridge is pretty dicey under the snow right now. Make sure you have a gps to keep you on trail. Also if you cross the river from the east lot, know that by the end of the day the water could easily be chest deep.

hiking
20 days ago

hiking
21 days ago

hiking
21 days ago

Way more snow then I thought there would be the trail was covered on much of the way making it very easy to stay lost but holy cow beautiful !!!!!

hiking
22 days ago

2 months ago

Great hike! Grueling with snow in the ground, but you have the trail to your self.

hiking
3 months ago

5 months ago

One of my favorite trails in Yosemite

6 months ago