Clouds Rest Trail via Tenaya Lake

HARD 472 reviews
#6 of 234 trails in

Clouds Rest Trail via Tenaya Lake is a 12.3 mile moderately 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. Horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 12.3 miles Elevation Gain: 3,113 feet Route Type: Out & Back

backpacking

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

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.

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snow
10 hours ago

One thing I highly recommend is wearing pants, long sleeve, and a mosquito net over your head. The trail was swarming with so many mosquitoes! Mosquito repellent doesn’t have any affect on them at all! I started the hike at 3 a.m. and the mosquito were already biting at me when I stepped foot outside of my car.

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snow
19 hours ago

One the most challenging hikes I’ve ever done! The views are just, breath-taking! Lots of mosquitos because of the melting snow. I would recommend hiking up and back before noon, it gets really hot at the top once you’ve cleared the tree-line.

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snow
1 day ago

hiking
2 days ago

amazing hike. lots of different environments on the trail. lots of mosquitoes

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muddy
rocky
scramble
2 days ago

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rocky
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2 days ago

Awesome hike, despite the mass crowds. I would recommend the following... Start early, maybe you will beat some of the crowd. Bring ample bug spray and or a face net.

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
snow
4 days ago

What an amazing view up top!! Started at 8:30am and got to Clouds Rest at 12:00, took an hour on the top, and got back to my car at the trailhead at 4:00. I took some time wading in the water at the end, it felt amazing. First off, the mosquitos in the morning were absolutely treacherous. There are really no words to describe how prevalent they were. I wore a bug resistant long sleeve shirt with a hood, pants, a hat and tons of big spray. I would say that the first 4-5 miles for me were horrendous with mosquitos. You couldn’t stop to rest on the switchbacks without getting swarmed. Consider yourself warned. They seemed to clear up toward the top and on the way back I didn’t notice them nearly as much as on the way up. There are still snow in patches and lots of water run off (hence the bugs). Wear your sandals on the way in because you’ll cross a creek immediately that’s about shin high. At least on 7/18/19. The switchbacks are the hardest part, especially when bugs are around like today. But the view on the top is well worth the sweat and cardio. It is absolutely stunning. I can’t believe it. So pretty.

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bugs
muddy
no shade
rocky
washed out
4 days ago

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bugs
muddy
rocky
washed out
6 days ago

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bugs
muddy
snow
7 days ago

Hiked on 7/11/19 This is the best hike I’ve ever done in Yosemite, and I’ve done a lot. We started at 1:30am to get there in time for sunrise (which was spooky) and it took us a little less than 4 1/2 hours to summit, with a couple short breaks and stopping to find the trail. It was beautiful and totally worth it. Words of caution: as of 7/11 when we hiked, much of the first set of switchbacks are covered in snow. The part that isn’t, has water cascading down it. It makes the trail decently hard to follow on the way up (granted we did do it in the dark) but we had the AllTrails app and there were some cairns so we were fine. But allow yourself time for trail-finding. After that first ascent, the trail is easy to follow and just muddy in some places. Trekking poles were a big help and it would have been much harder without them. Give yourself enough time to hike this because it’s not easy, but the first switchbacks are definitely the hardest part and it’s not too bad after that. Beautiful views the whole way that we didn’t see until it was light outside on the way down :) Also, there is a creek crossing almost knee-deep at the beginning of the trail so just make sure you’re ready to take of your shoes! And BRING BUG REPELLANT. Wore a long-sleeve, pants, and a face net and still got over ten bites. Highly recommend this trail!

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