Clouds Rest Trail from Yosemite Valley [CLOSED]

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Yosemite National Park

Clouds Rest Trail from Yosemite Valley is a 20.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Yosemite Valley, 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.

Distance: 20.5 miles Elevation Gain: 6,302 feet Route Type: Out & Back

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

rocky

closed

no dogs

It has been reported this trail has a temporary closure due to COVID-19. Please see the park's website for up to date information. This hike is probably Yosemite’s ultimate dayhike. Much of this route is actually along the same trails as the more well-known Half Dome Hike. Many of the attractions along the way are the same (ie Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls, Mist Trail, Little Yosemite Valley, etc). But, things are different once you pass the cutoff to Half Dome. Much like Half Dome, the views from the summit are certainly worth the climb (and then some). It’s hard to say what is the better view out of this one vs Half Dome. But one definite advantage of Clouds Rest is the fact that it has a smaller summit. This allows you to see a better, 360 degree view from one place. You also get a direct view down into Yosemite’s ‘forbidden zone’, Tenaya Canyon. Unlike Half Dome, there is no permit or lottery for this hike. Just go to the trailhead and start hiking! This makes Clouds Rest an excellent choice for those who didn’t score a Half Dome permit - particularly if less crowded weekdays are not an option for you. Speaking of the lack of permits (and the ability to do this hike on a moment’s notice if desired), the distance (10 miles one way) and elevation gain (6000ft) are on a par with Mount Whitney. This, along with relative proximity to Northern California metropolitan areas, makes the hike from Happy Isles to Clouds Rest a GREAT (and very scenic) training hike for higher peaks like Whitney and Shasta.

I've never written a review for anything in my life, what the mileage on this trail is a lie and I felt compelled to forewarn everyone else. if you start tracking mileage from where the shuttle drops you off, this trail is at least 20 miles. From the first trail marker that you see it's 9.5 miles to the summit meaning that it is a minimum of 19 MI. Completed this yesterday on 3/14/20, the trail is very well maintained and easily marked throughout the whole trip, other than when we got to the top snow and ice completely covered the trail. If we did not have GPS coordinates preset, we would not have been able to find the official end of the trail due to the amount of snow and ice. That being said there was only snow and ice for about the last mile and a half. 10/10 would recommend.

hiking
3 months ago

Awesome hike and I was fortunate to have near perfect weather in February. I ran/hiked up this trail and it took me about 6 hours to complete in total. I rested up top for about an hour. This is well-worth the trek as it makes for a very long day being 18 miles in total with a lot of climbing (over 6K feet!). The view from Cloud's Rest is amazing though. As of 2/16/20, the last two miles can be pretty challenging as there were some bits of snow and ice. The last mile is mostly covered in snow, so I would recommend bringing some good water/snow proof shoes if you're thinking about hiking this one. Leave early in the morning and avoid the Yosemite Valley crowds!

hiking
snow
4 months ago

"I should bring my snow shoes. Naw, I won't need them," I said as I locked my car at 5 am and took off on the mist trail. There was a little bit of snow after Nevada Falls, then a little bit more, then a little bit more until it became knee deep, then waist deep. I was pretty upset at myself for leaving the snow shoes because A) I would have moved faster in the snow, B) gone up a little further up Half Dome (I decided to go up to Half Dome before I made my way to Clouds Rest, and C) I may have made it all the way to Clouds Rest. I had to turn around with less than one mile to go because of the snow levels. After Half Dome, I was the only person on the trail. I saw no one again until I got back to my car at 9:30 PM. I would definitely do this hike again whether it be spring, summer, fall, or winter. It was worth the pain and suffering and 16.5 hour hike. No regrets (except for leaving the motherf*&^ing snow shoes). If you're doing this in the next few days (after this review) or after a lot of snow has been dumped on the mountains, bring your snow shoes and more importantly, your cramp ons. The steps on Nevada falls is completely covered in ice.

hiking
5 months ago

Great Hike. Amazing views!

6 months ago

The price is the view from the summit. Probably the best views of Yosemite Valley you can get. I have done Half Dome several times so I am used to most of the trail. Once they split, the path to Clouds Rest is longer but much less strenuous than the remaining 1.8 miles to Half Dome. The last push up the summit is a scramble but nothing technical. I was just amazed at the beauty when I got up there. Most people seem to do this as a 2 day hike or approach from the lake, making it shorter. It was 21 miles and 6,000 feet for me since I started at the valley floor. Worth it!

hiking
rocky
scramble
6 months ago

The first 6 miles are the same trail as for Half Dome. It is an awesome area to hike but it turned into a real slog for me this time. Once in top, I made breakfast and took in the best views of Yosemite you can get. The price is definitely the views but also the few other people you meet along the way.

hiking
7 months ago

Another set of great views. Faster going down, but still tiring on the legs and knees. Will definitely bring trekking poles next time.

hiking
7 months ago

Very hard, especially since we had to pack water up. Tree cover almost the whole way, but great views at the top

hiking
rocky
scramble
7 months ago

It took me 6 hours to get up and 4 hours to get down. I also took the scenic route so possibly can be done faster! Total 10 hours - definitely feels like 38km. It’s pretty much uphill all the way to Clouds Rest from the Valley floor. I’ve done several hikes and this is definitely the best view but this was probably the most brutal hike I’ve done as of yet. The last portion when it says 3.8 miles left at the junction is the hardest, and at the end the trail gets confusing and rocky, requiring moderate scrambling. 10/10 would definitely do it again! Bring a friend because it is a long hike! If just want the view, start from Tenaya lake. It’s much easier and more popular route!

hiking
7 months ago

An absolute stunner from start to finish - easily the best (and hardest!) day walk I’ve done. Our trackers clocked 44km total. Did this in mid sept, weather was perfect (not too hot or cold), parked at trailhead at around 7am. Shelter from the sun but trees not dense enough to block your views. Bring 3 litres each of water and make sure your knees are prepared for some intense work! Took us 10.5 hours but didn’t stop for a swim at the top of the falls which I regret. Saw a bear on the way down too! Loved the whole thing!

7 months ago

I tracked it at 21 miles and the sign says 10.5 from the start in Yosemite Valley. Round trip took me 10 hrs. and was def. a tough but fun and well worth hike to do!

hiking
7 months ago

Definitely at least 22 miles not 18 lol. According to my phone we did 24 miles from the parking at the trailhead and back. The first 7 or so miles are great but the when you get to the “3.8 miles left” sign it’s just brutally uphill. Hardest hike I’ve ever done but 10000% worth it. The view is amazing. It took us about 5.5h to get to the top and 4h to get down. We hiked down mist trail but should have gone down John Muir. Bring hiking poles bc it is rough on your knees. Elevation gain is crazy and I got a little lightheaded and nauseous but I’ve never hiked an elevation gain before so it could be something that just goes away with experience/exposure.

Quite the hike! Did it in one day and took about 12 hours out and back. It's actually longer than what is listed and is about 24 miles in total. Definitely not a hike for beginners because of the length and elevation gain.

hiking
8 months ago

very tough hike and longer than alltrails suggests. not sure if it is worth it much beyond the Half Dome trail head as Half Dome only becomes further away the higher you hike. the top is also very crowded with hikers from Tenaya lake

hiking
8 months ago

Hiked this trail in 2007 curry village to summit and back 16hr day. Great hike.

hiking
8 months ago

This was a tough one day hike. It is really a special hike that passes through some extraordinary sights along the way. I was utterly floored by the view from the top and walking the ridge of Clouds Rest was something I will never forget.

hiking
8 months ago

This is an awesome, but strenuous hike. From the trail head parking, it took 24 miles round trip and 6400' ascent. Not sure where the 18 mile is coming from. Secondly, if you are hiking in dark, avoid taking mist trail, especially on the way back. Walking down on those rocky stairs in dark is not fun. Take JMT instead.

hiking
8 months ago

Hiked in early August, 2019. No snow, and not much water after the trail Leaves Little Yosemite Valley. This trail kicked my butt, but it was worth it for the best views in the park. I wrote up a detailed trail report over at Hike the Planet! Check it out: https://hikethepla.net/yosemite-clouds-rest/

hiking
9 months ago

We logged 23 miles from the Trailhead Parking Lot, very long amazing day hike. Bring plenty of water and a filter to refill of needed.

hiking
9 months ago

It’ said 18 miles but my pacer had me at 24 miles. It was a day hike only took us 11 hrs to hike from Yosemite valley to clouds rest and back. The scenery is awesome, u can go at ur own pace. Several switchbacks and moderate incline until that last 3 miles to the top of clouds rest. It was hard and steep but so worth it once you’re up there.

hiking
10 months ago

hiked on 11th July 2019. An excellent but long hike. Would have preferred to go via Tenaya Lake but reports of snow on that route unfavourable. However met a number of people on the top who had hiked in via Tenaya Lake who said it wasn’t a problem at all. Set off 5:45 am, great drive in and no queues. Parked Trailhead. Other than the last 200 feet, the walk was technically easy, and well marked, but LONG, especially on the way back. Up via the mist trail, down via John Muir. Still a reasonable number of half domers around at the start, but much quieter past the Half Dome turnoff. We took our time with plenty of rest and feeing stops, meaning we didn’t get to the top of Clouds Rest till midday, and on the way down, the top of Nevada Falls about 5:30 pm, however it was quiet by them and fantastic light from early evening sun. Used 5.5l between 2 of us, including 600ml of Coke for the last hr for energy!!! A few streams on the way up as far as Half Dome turnoff, but may not run all year. Overall a fantastic day hike, with amazing views, and met enough other other walkers to be sociable but not busy. But it’s a very long walk and the last hr or so was a bit wearing!!! We are both 58yrs old and reasonably fit

hiking
11 months ago

Hiked from Yosemite Lodge to Cloud’s Rest Friday. Departed 5:30am before shuttles were running and summited 11am. Opted for John Muir trail both ways to keep dry, albeit adding to mileage. Didn’t rest until I hit the top because was on tight timeline. Reached the lodge at 3:55pm. 29mi+ Super challenging, especially since I was at sea level 18hrs prior. I had 3.75L of water and ran out about 1000’ shy of summit. But very worthwhile. Absolutely amazing experience.

hiking
muddy
no shade
rocky
11 months ago

This hike is very challenging and long if you want to do it in 1 day. Marker on trailhead mentioned hike is 10.5 miles one-way, so overall 21 miles. I have submitted a change request on all trails to update it to 21 miles. We started from parking lot so overall we hiked around 24 miles. We took vernal falls - mist trail - Nevada falls route. Started hike around 5:30 AM and there was plenty parking available at trailhead parking lot. We reached at halfdome-cloudsrest divergent intersection at 10:30 AM. Its 4 miles from that spot. But it very strenuous and uphill in last 2 miles. Reached at peak at 1:30 PM. Started descending at 2:15 PM and reached trailhead around 7:30 PM. I was carrying 5-1/2 lt of water and only 1/2 was left when I was back at trailhead. I think 4-1/2 lt should be sufficient water for this hike. Few of our group member had headache (ams) but nothing major, headache didn’t lasted long as we were taking short break and giving ample time to body to rest and recover. Overall my Garmin shows Distance: 23.96mi (from parking lot) Time Overall: 14 hours Move Time: 8 hrs. 40 min Elevation: 6673 ft I will upload my gpx in recording for more details.

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