Explore the most popular backpacking trails near Mariposa with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

This was my very first hike and it was spectacular! I started at 6:30 AM and quickly learned that the trail wouldn't be as easy as I had thought. The first 1.5 miles are a strenuous uphill walk. I was completely exhausted within the first 10 minutes but the reward at the end was worth it. I started at 6:30 AM and was back at the trailhead at 10:20 AM.

Lower Cathedral Lake was absolutely gorgeous. I was the only one at the lake so it was like my own retreat. I would definitely hike this trail again and I recommend this trail for beginner hikers. Just bring plenty of water. I went through 4 bottles.

Just hiked today. Got on trail at 6am, skies were crystal clear. Smoked moved in around 11am. Amazing at the top. Really challenging ups and downs. Sat on the edge of life and death.

Also not 1 mosquito in sight!!

Hiking Mt Dana was one of the most difficult hikes I've done, especially considering that it's not a really long hike. It only took me two more hours to hike from the top of the Grand Canyon to the bottom and back up again and that was close to 17 miles, not six! The altitude starting at 10,000 feet and ending at over 13,000 feet made it tough. Hiking up and down through scree made it that much tougher. For this flat lander, it was more technical than I'm used to and no one has ever called me a mountain goat for good reason.
The hike up Mt Dana was definitely worthwhile and I'm proud to say I've done it. I was slow, but I got 'er done.
We had also planned to do Half Dome, but the wildfires had closed Yosemite Valley.

August 6: to the couple of questions posed; there is no real stream crossing required, the rock path is fully exposed across the Tenaya Lake Egress so no wet feet at all. The park is mostly closed now due to Ferguson Fire. Tioga Pass and road is only open access, but would not recommend any hiking to Cloud's Rest for a while. Bad air quality and really bad views. Check here for latest conditions: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5927/ and Half Dome webcam: https://www.nps.gov/customcf/webcam/dsp_webcam_image.cfm?id=81B464BC-1DD8-B71B-0B0F6F15CBA4A034

To Anyone who recently hiked this trail, was the stream pretty low at the start of the trail to where your feet don’t get wet?

hiking
16 days ago

nice hike but not super scenic on the way. The lakes are beautiful, specially the upper one. Make sure you take a good mosquito spray. I have never seen so many mosquitoes in my life !

Mosquitoes everywhere. Got eaten alive but it was worth it because of the views at the end.

hiking
18 days ago

During Late-July, the weather was filled with clear and smoky skies. The Ferguson fire made a big impact on the conditions. Most of the day in Tuolumne Meadows, the skies were blue until around 3pm. At the trail head, park along the road. Find yourself hiking up the transverse. The elevation is pretty high for a valley person like me. Warming upwards, the hike is nice but very popular. The climb from the trail head to lower Cathedral Lake is around 1000 feet. Climb another 200 feet to the Upper Cathedral Lake which provided another good view. Throughout the hike, find flowers and foliage that are pretty. Overall, nice hike.

walking
19 days ago

beautiful scenic hike from trail head. lots of wild flowers and lakes for great photo opportunities. very hard the last two miles with constant climbing, but great panaromic view from the peak.

We did this hike last year and are planning to do it again in two weeks, please report on the smoke, thanks, I appreciate it, and the smoke around Toulemne Meadow, thanks! Love this hike, it has it all, views, granite, meadows, challenges, we did not find it too challenging, take your time and enjoy it.

Went on July 3rd with a smoky haze in the air from the nearby Ansel Adams Wilderness fire. We started at about 7:30AM and spent a total of about 8.5 hours on the trail, spending about an hour and a half at the top. The hike goes for about a mile and a half through the woods at the start, then becomes vertical for another mile to a ridge and trail intersection with the trail to the High Sierra Camps and Sunrise Lakes. From there the trail descends quite a bit [remember you'll be coming back this way] and flattens out, travels past a small pond and then begins a gradual climb through the forest. Finally we reached Cloud's Rest foot trail over the rocky fin to the top. The fin is plenty wide for anyone, just don't go crazy and you'll be fine. In fact, you'll be so acclimated to the elevation when you leave, you'll think the fin is really wide when you start down. Views of the surrounding Sierras are awesome and because of the fires, nearby peaks were a bit hazy and cast with a yellowish or blue tint. You can continue right up and over the rest area and down towards Half Dome if you want to go to the valley. It's amazing how rock has been chipped off in huge chunks over the years, leaving some cool formations below as you stand near the geodetic marker at the top close to the edge. On the way back, we hit the climb back to the ridge but wasn't as bad as the initial ridge climb. Several campers along the way. Saw some trees that had been hit by lightning and you want to make sure you leave early enough not to encounter T-storms at the top. This is easier than Half Dome. Enjoy, this is a great workout with a great payoff.

Hiked on 7/24. LOTS of smoke from the Ferguson fire. Trail has a small rocky section (around mile 3.5) that may be hard for small children/adults with balance issues. Lakes totally worth the climb. BRING WATER.

Very hard at the beginning but so nice !

longer than expected... well worth the walk! beautiful views. clear paths. well marked.

Second time and still my favorite trail

Did this on 6/23. Boy was it incredible! 3,100 feet elevation gain and 7.5 miles each way. Definitely not for the mildly out of shape or the scared of heights. It felt like it was straight uphill for the whole hike. I started at 6:30 AM and that was the perfect time to start. Any later and you'd be walking up in the sun. 6.5 total hours of hiking. By far, best hike I've ever been on! Gorgeous. Harder and better view than Half Dome

backpacking
25 days ago

I hiked the JMT solo in 2015, but got off the trail in mile 180 (Kearsarge Pass Jct) because of ankle and knee injuries. In 2015, I resupplied twice: Reds Meadow and Muir Trail Ranch (estimated 9 days of food until Whitney Portal). I finished the last 31 miles in 2016 starting from Cottonwood Lakes to Kearsarge Pass (it’s about 72 miles including Mt. Whitney, Lake Charlotte, and Kearsarge Pass Trail). I didn’t resupply for this 7 day hike. Final thoughts about the JMT: challenging, nonetheless it was an amazing experience. Trail easy to navigate in low snow year, plenty of water sources on the trail, mozzies are relentless, beautiful views, mountains and lakes for days, and great people on the trail.

Transportation set up: I left my car in Lone spine and hitched a ride to Yose for my 2015 hike and to Horseshoe Meadows trailhead in 2016. Getting back to my car from Kearsarge Pass, I hired a shuttle service to take me back to Lone Pine. Reasonable rate.

Did this on Friday morning of July 20th, starting at 7:42 am from the Tioga Pass entrance and summited less than 3 hours later. Had to almost run all the way back down when I heard thunder from the clouds getting darker, even though it was clear skies when I started. Aside from that, it was a fantastic hike as the smoke from the Ferguson Fire wasn’t a problem that day, and visibility was great in every direction, giving some great panoramas! Starts off gradually then gets steep as you clear the trees to the meadow, then it’s steep scrambling almost all the way to the top. The trail is well beaten into and is clearly marked by cairns when it fades into the loose rocks on the final ascent. Would definitely recommend if there are no clouds or storms forecasted!

The view from the top of Clouds Rest must be an Earth-top-ten-view.
From the Sunrise Lakes trailhead plan on 7 miles to the peak. No real water sources. Very lightly trafficked trail on a Friday in July. Started at 6:30am, we were at the top by 11. We had 3 liters of water per person (some may want more but our early start gave us shade and sky was overcast in the afternoon) and several candy bars, and we always take Fritos. We have hiked a lot in Yosemite and this is my favorite. I like it better than the hike up Half Dome, though there's some great parts to that hike too. We took our three kids and at the top they all scampered ahead of me, no fear, but I had to take it nice and slow. That last few hundred feet (sheer, sheer drop offs on both sides) are very doable but about the last 15 feet I had to get on all fours and crawl because of the narrowness of the trail and the sheer drop offs on both sides. That part, there is only room for one person at a time, and the people waiting to go down as I crawled across that last fifteen feet all cheered me on. Really spectacular people on this trail. At the top there is plenty of room to relax and take in the views. And you will want to.
(*side note. Though we started at Tenaya lake, from the top we took the trail down to the valley floor. This made our hike almost 18 miles in one day. We thought it would be nice to see Vernal and Nevada falls on the way down but it was too much. Next time I'll definitely just return to Tenaya lake.)

hiking
28 days ago

Love this trail. Beautiful scenery along the trail that finally opens up to an amazing meadow, the likes of which I had never seen growing up in Vegas. I don't think we actually made it to the upper lake because we couldn't really tell where the trail continued from, but we were certainly satisfied with what we did see. The first climb at the beginning can be hard, but then it gets pretty easy.

The top falls are worth the hike. Smoke every where right now because of the Ferguson Fire. south part of the park a little bit better.

Did this hike on July 8. The beginning of this hike was beautiful! Lots a wild flowers and ponds! The ending sucked! It’s all loose rock! Once you get closer to the peak we saw sky pilot, which is a flower that only blooms at certain elevations! It was pretty cold at the top so bring a jacket.
One of the hardest short hikes I’ve ever done!!

Spectacular lake. Easy walking trail, but made more challenging by the fact that it is at 9,000 feet.

Hiking to the top of Clouds Rest if you’re afraid of heights can be prohibitive, but if you’re willing to push past your fear, the views are phenomenal!

Was great!

backpacking
1 month ago

We (four fit moms) covered this trail in 4.5 hours (one way) with one lunch break. It was beautiful and do-able. But wouldn’t recommend it without a strong sense of adventure and direction as the trail often disappears. This app was crucial in helping us find and stay on the trail. The trip can be two days easy with tons of down time. And if you love the quiet, wilderness and few to NO people this place is for you. We left on Friday and didn’t see anyone else til we headed back on Saturday - around Elizabeth Lake.

I started the trail at Tenaya Lake (AKA Sunrise Lakes trailhead) and thought to myself "wow this trail has it all!" Beautiful meadows, small stream crossings, lakes, wildflowers galore, steep switchbacks that seem like they go on for days, sparking granite (because you came to Yosemite to see granite, DUH!), thrills, and most important, views for days!! This hike seems really daunting, but it's actually not that bad. Yes, it has some steep climbing sections, but a lot of downs and flat areas to rest up in between. The first two miles are probably the hardest part of the entire trail, so if you can do that section then you can surely finish! It does get a little rough towards the approach on the spine, but take as many breaks as you need as this isn't a race. I thought the spine was a little over-hyped, but I've been told I have an unhealthy obsession with heights...Be sure to keep an eye on Tenaya Lake as you ascend to keep track of how far you've come! Be sure to make plenty of time to rest up at the top, because you'll need some extra energy for the long trek down, remember those downs I mentioned earlier? Anyways, bring plenty of food and water, this is a longer hike. I did this hike yesterday, (6/14/18) and the Tenaya Lake crossing was completely manageable in my regular hiking boots. However, this is not always the case...

backpacking
1 month ago

we had a great time doing this trail, although it was warm and humid the 1st day, we ended up on top of El Capitan, the view was spectacular. The Yosemite Falls was beautiful, boys did some swimming while enjoy the view, the downside is the crowd. the creeks start to dry out in this time of the yr ( mid July)

backpacking
1 month ago

Absolutely LOVED this hike! we love hiking on vacation every year, but being from Florida means that's about the only time we are able to do it. We are not in amazing shape, but not horrible either. I will say that the hike in (via Dog Lake Trail) was pretty intense for us. We were praying for no more uphill climbing & begging for the lake to finally come into view! We still have a hard time believing that the mountain trail distance markers are right...they sure do seem like the longest miles on the face of the planet! Lol We got a pretty late start (about 1pm) so it was a bit hotter than we liked. However, majority of the time there was a nice breeze and the woods kept a nice comfortable temp. I have to say that this was one of the prettiest hikes throughout the entire trail that we have done. Some trails are all about the destination. This one was beautiful the entire time. The destination did not disappoint by any stretch of the imagination! The lakes were absolutely breathtaking! I definitely recommend not setting up camp immediately when entering the area around the lake. As tired as we were, we decided to hike around the lake a bit to look for the best spot. We crossed the falling creek about 1/4 of the way around the lake and found "the perfect" hard spot just up in the trees. Nobody else camped on that side of the creek. So we were pretty much all by ourselves over there with the sound of the waterfalls on the creek to lull us to sleep at night. We also had our own flat rock on the lake to go sit out on every night and every morning. Couldn't have asked for a better more tranquil setting! Then the hike up to the 2 other upper lakes was just as if not more awe inspiring than the 1st lake! The hike out via Glen Aulin trail was a very gradual decent and very picturesque as well. We spent 3 days total...Day 1 (started super late) hiked in from 1pm - 5pm then set up camp & just enjoyed the area. Day 2 we hiked up to the upper lakes from about 8am until about 3pm. Did some fishing back at the bottom lake & just relaxed rest of the day. Day 3 we packed up and headed out about 8am and arrived at our car at 11:30am. Absolutely the most peaceful and relaxing backpacking trip we have ever done! Well worth the work!

The next time I'm introducing an out-of-towner to Yosemite, this is the hike we'll do. The view from North Dome of Half Dome and the valley is stunning.

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