Clouds Rest Trail from Tenaya Lake

HARD 199 reviews
#9 of 174 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
3904 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

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
7 days ago

Out and back in 7hrs. Started off Tioga road, Sunrise Trail head. Hike is actually around 16 miles there and back. Great hike, incredible views from top. Some nice scenery throughout the hike.

1 month ago

Couldn't hike this trail. Roads are closed to tioga pass. Sign said closed Oct 15. So I hiked the mist trail hoping to get there by trail junction but the trail to clouds rest was closed from there too I'll try again next year.

2 months ago

Amazing view from the top. Well worth the hike. Less traveled than most hikes in the park. Walking back in the dark with flashlights was doable.

trail running
2 months ago

It showed as 13 miles and 3200’ on my tracker. I’m ok with that. It was challenging, and spectacular!

hiking
2 months ago

Did this hike when I worked in Yosemite a few years ago. Great gorgeous peaceful hike. You start at the lake and u cross a little stream and a mile or so is pretty much flat then for a mile or so u ascend up switchbacks which seemed forever but really wasn’t then go back down the other side where it’s flat again for a while u pass a little pond/lake (nice stream right before it for some good water) then u start ascending again. U get to a junction where u can go to high Sierra camp or continue to clouds rest. Junction is a great place to rest or camp. A little more ascending which is a little difficult because it’s good elevation while ur hiking up to higher elevation. Eventually u will see the rocks where u scramble and get great views all the way to the top which might be the best view in all the park. Camped on top of clouds rest that night and u could see tioga road with cars on it and a town far far in the distance

2 months ago

Went Oct 28th. Lots of switchbacks. The first ascend and the last ascend is the hardest in my opinion. It’s a challenging hike but with the right energy and mindset completely doable. I had plenty of Tylenol and carbs with me. I was also on the first day of menstrual cycle. Got about 6 hours of sleep. If I can do it so can you! Started at 11am. Got back to the trailhead at 830pm since we took our time.

hiking
2 months ago

No overnight parking at the trailhead after October 15. 1-2 inches of snow in many spots of the trail. Watched the sunset from Clouds Rest then hiked the whole thing back by head lamp. The smoke in the air made for a dramatic sunset. Some of the trail was icing over which made things dicy descending the switch back. Back to the trailhead at 10:30pm and it was 30F.

hiking
2 months ago

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

3 months 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!

3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months ago

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

hiking
3 months 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
3 months ago

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

3 months ago

Phenomenal! We hit the trail at 6:50am and it took us about 3h to get to the top. The steps were HARD, be prepared to curse a bit because they will wear you out. After the steps it all seemed easy until we got closer to the summit and then it was a bit tough climbing up, take your time! We stayed at the top for an hour and the views were unbelievable, well worth the tough hike. We didn't see anyone on the trail until about 12:30pm so we had the summit to ourselves for a while which was cool. Hiking down was easy and beautiful. It took us about 3h to get down, we stopped at the lake for a brake and it was gorgeous.

*We did this hike because we could not get the permit for half dome. So glad we did Clouds Rest, it was unbelievable.

3 months ago

I've hiked this trail twice and while it is a difficult hike, serious elevation gain and dramatic heights at the summit, I would definitely do it again and again! Probably one of the best vistas in all of Yosemite!

backpacking
4 months ago

Spectacular scenery!

hiking
4 months ago

What an amazing achievement! This hike is not a cakewalk. The first elevation gain is brutal. Then it's back downhill only to find yourself pushing hard to make the next few inclines. The summit is worth it.

Bring lots of water and a purifier as there are several streams you can pull water from. I went through 3.5-4 liters.

It's a yosemite must do!

4 months ago

Amazing!!

backpacking
4 months ago

Amazing views. Best view of the valley in my opinion.

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