Luckily we realised our mistake quickly, when people are talking about the easier route on the left they just mean to the left side of the ridge, not left at the start of the ridge. Here’s everything you need to know about the Clouds Rest hike before you go. If you plan to take on one of Yosemite’s big hikes, chances are you have Half Dome or Clouds Rest on your list. This was one of the few hikes in Yosemite where we really felt the altitude. It’s a windy road though so it will probably take at least 1 hour 15 to get to. Was so ready to abort the mission when the alarm went off later on in the morning, but somehow did it. Read next: The Lembert Dome hike - for the best views of the Tuolomne Meadows. The trail is in the forest but it’s not dense so you get some views as you follow several switchbacks across very rocky terrain. Few peak-bagging efforts begin with a photographing frenzy, but this 6-mile hike to Clouds Rest starts right off with can't miss photo-ops. Let us know in the comments below! Sunrise Mountain can be seen prominently to the east. The main advantage of Clouds Rest is its proximity to the valley and great 360-degree views of the park. Be very careful where you choose as people drive incredibly fast round the corner here, so try to pick somewhere along the straighter part of the road! Please note: This web site and all images on this site are the property of Joe Braun ©2020. For the excitement factor, Half Dome wins in the sense that it has the cables and - love them or hate them - they certainly get everyone’s heartbeat going. So I took the shuttle to Happy Isles , where the JMT trail head is, filled up my Platypus, applied sunscreen and started the long adventure. Clouds Rest hike Clouds Rest hike stats. More. It’s pretty wide. The trail starts at 8,150ft, which may not seem so high at first, but it really kicks in when you start climbing. The final push up the narrow and exposed ridgeline is a thrilling experience. Hop on the Sunrise Trail for a flat, 1.6-mile warm-up to the glittering azure of Sunrise Lakes. This stretch of trail has a lot of intricate old tail work (steps, etc.) We're Cat and Joe, two travel fanatics from the U.K. We both caught the travel bug on solo trips in 2003 and have been hopelessly addicted ever since. Are you planning a trip to Yosemite? The road is closed due to snow for part of the year making hiking from Tenaya Lake impossible, we have more details in this post on visiting Yosemite in fall. A hike in from Tioga Road to the north makes for a more reasonable day hike through some beautiful wilderness scenery. Starting in Yosemite's High Country, this trail will take you to the top of Clouds Rest (10,000ft) and to the top of Half Dome (9,000ft). Extra parking can be found along the sides of the road but look out for any "no parking here" signs. Sunrise Trailhead: 8151' Clouds Rest summit: 9931' Seasons: Be careful not to sprain your shutter finger at Tenaya Lake, a beautiful, crystal-blue tarn gouged by glaciers eons ago. We hiked in fall and didn’t have to cross the river (which had obviously dried up but I’d read sometimes the water can be calf height). Starting at Sunrise car park by Tenaya Lake, the trail heads straight into the forest before coming to a riverbed. Miles: 12.5 miles round trip; Trip length: 10-12 hours; Difficulty: Strenuous; Altitude: 9,926 feet. Check them out on REI or Amazon. People die on this hike. All Rights Reserved. Check them out on REI or Amazon, Icebreaker Base Layer: What we always wear in the winter and makes a huge difference for keeping warm. It’s actually a sprawling area so you could spend quite a while up there. However, thankfully it was nothing like that! Early on in the hike, there are some watery obstacles. The hardest part at the summit is making the effort and deciding it’s probably time to make the long hike back! From the parking lot, follow the trail south and cross Tenaya Creek. share. ), The 23 best things to do in Banff for an unforgettable trip, Sentinel Dome Trail - Yosemite's best kept secret, The Lembert Dome hike - one of the best trails in the Tuolomne Meadows, The El Capitan Hike - how to walk to the top of Yosemite's icon, 14 Things No One Tells You About the Half Dome Hike, Upper Yosemite Falls hike - a stair master with epic views, 14 Things no one tells you about camping in Yosemite, The dream two day Yosemite itinerary for hikers, One day in Yosemite - the perfect itinerary and tips, 15 Yosemite photography spots to get the best views in the park, The North Dome hike - epic views on one of Yosemite's quietest trails, 16 Big mistakes to avoid in Yosemite National Park. The ridgeline at the very top of Clouds Rest is very narrow and … The next year we went back, and hiked up Cloud's Rest from the trailhead at the west end of Tenaya Lake.The top is really fun---s sort of easy scramble on big pillow-sized boulders. This is the first really great view from the trail and a good place to stop for a break if you need to. The ridge is unlike anywhere in the park and the views from Clouds Rest are one of the best in Yosemite. We’ve both used these for over three years and they just keep going. The truth is that the ridge here is breathtaking. The hike from Sunrise Trailhead to Clouds Rest makes for a strenuous yet rewarding day in some classic Yosemite wilderness scenery. Luckily this is the hardest section of the whole trail so you know when’ve you’ve got up this bit you can make it the whole way. Geography. We were preparing for a scramble and a death defying traverse! In order to reach Clouds Rest, you will either have to hike 7 miles from the Tioga Pass Road or attempt the 9-mile trail from Happy Isles in Little Yosemite Valley. The Clouds Rest summit offers outstanding views, looking down on Half Dome - a place which is over 8839ft tall, Clouds Rest is over 1000ft taller It’s the perfect place to have lunch and explore. Life straw: Something that it useful on the longer hikes as you can fill up and drink from the creeks. The trails passes through meadows and forests, but expect to tackle very rocky, ankle-snapping sections of trail. We recommend starting early so you’re not in a rush. You feel like you’re on top of the world with arguably the best view in the whole of Yosemite. Second it’s very long and thirdly it’s very steep - especially at the start of the trail. The hardest thing to contend with on the Clouds Rest hike is the altitude (yep you read that correctly!). After all, everyone wants to look at Half Dome, which you clearly can’t do when you’re standing on it. We did choose the path to the left on the way there as that was what we were advised but on the way back we went straight down the middle and it wasn’t difficult at all. Otherwise it's a mostly downhill return hike to Sunrise Trailhead. Second it’s very long and thirdly it’s very steep - especially at the start of the trail. We started from the Tenaya Lake trailhead and had no problem finding a parking place early morning. We loved this hike and the chance to explore a completely different part of Yosemite away from the valley floor. You’ll have a slight downhill and then just over a mile of flat walking before the steep ascent begins. Roughly 2000-feet of elevation gain in two separate pushes with a 400-ft descent in between. The Sunrise Trailhead is located along Tioga Road, roughly 1.4 miles east of Olmsted Point at the south end of Tenaya Lake. Spent an hour there. This helps towards the costs of running our website. Started from the sunrise trailhead in CA-120 at 6:30 am and hiked up to cloud's rest. It was doable and boy was that view worth it! View, Sunrise Trailhead off of Tioga Road, just south of Tenaya Lake, 7-10 hours to summit of Clouds Rest and back. Imagine virgin Sierra Nevada granite, uplifted from its deep burial place by compressional tectonic forces, canyons eroded rapidly by generous spring runoff, and finally, the odd glacier to smooth the slope. If there is any threat of thunderstorms, get off of the summit and head for lower ground. It is more varied, with more to see for most of the hike. Length 20.5 miElevation gain 6302 ftRoute type Out & back We did this in September and snow had began to settle already, so having gear for cold conditions is highly recommended. Use caution when along the upper portion of the trail if there is snow or ice. You can check them out REI or Amazon. As you reach the south side of the meadow, the trail begins another 1000-foot ascent and after the next junction, the trail turns west to head for the Clouds Rest ridgeline. However, it’s definitely no walk in the park, you have to work for those views but it is definitely worth it and a must for your Yosemite itinerary. © 2020 - Walk My World. When it comes to the crowds, Clouds Rest - whilst still popular - is much quieter than Half Dome. Give yourself time and have plenty of breaks to catch your breath. Despite an elevation change of 2,700 feet, the biggest challenge on the hike was the extra weight in water we had to carry. So overall, we’d say if you’re looking for adventure and a scenic track, and don’t mind the less beautiful summit, go for Half Dome. It get’s a little steeper and rockier but it’s not a slippery path and by now you know you’re moments away from the much anticipated ridge. However, the hard work is worth it. Archived. Clouds Rest is at a higher elevation, so we felt more breathless at first, but otherwise it is significantly shorter and easier than Half Dome. Close. Firstly the trail is one of the highest in Yosemite, making those uphill climbs even harder! We did do this hike last year so I've experienced that mileage/elevation gain, but there was no snow at the time. Others asked if we thought we were going to make it! The air is thinner here than the valley floor, so you feel breathless a lot more. Time of year open to the public: May be inaccessible in the winter Read next: The North Dome hike - a quiet gem in Yosemite. The lake is about the midway point of the hike, and offers a little more flat ground before it is uphill all the way to the top! Clouds Rest hike - a complete guide on what to expect, The 16 Best Hikes in Yosemite (and yes we did them all! although much of it has crumbled over time. NOTE: There is an old alternate trail that wanders around the east side of Clouds Rest avoiding the actual summit, although it may be a bit washed out and hard to follow in parts. It’s not awful but it is tiring after all you’ve already done! That’s the reason why it’s one of the most popular hikes in the park - the stellar views that make you feel like you’re towering above giants like Half Dome and El Capitan. I am afraid of heights. Having the right gear can make a huge difference, especially when hiking to Clouds Rest. Most emails are boring, ours aren’t! VIEW THE PHOTOGRAPHS! The remaining 40 percent are available on a first-come, first-served basis no earlier than 11 am the day before your hike begins as long as permits are available. This is not a hike for folks looking for a leisurely stroll! We were actually quite impressed with our pace although we certainly weren’t trying to rush the hike. At about 2.5 miles, you'll reach an intersection with the Sunrise Lakes Trail that heads off to the east. Then the soul destroying climb begins. On Half Dome you only need to look at our pictures to see the crowds that flock to this iconic track. Scott was extremely knowledgeable about the park and was able to provide great stories about past hikes, history of the park, and great general commentary. The trailhead is just under 50 miles from Yosemite Valley, along the Tioga Pass Road. How hard is the clouds rest hike? With Half Dome you may or you may not get to the summit, as around 30% of people hiking on our day didn’t get up the cables due to fear of slipping on the smooth granite (and the fact a woman had tragically fallen to her death two weeks before which had everyone rattled). hide. Reusable water bottle: To avoid single-use plastic. In all directions we were in awe, and never felt any fear. We’d love to hear it! Thinking about doing this hike around August 3rd! This is an awesome hike. It isn’t as relentlessly steep as the start and feels a lot easier for the next mile. Once at the summit, you can get a wonderful 360-degree view all around Yosemite. Those photos look awesome, but given that I don't have a a lot of experience hiking in snow, it is more snow than I'd be comfortable walking through near the Clouds Rest summit :) I will call up the rangers to ask about current conditions and suggested gear. Our first hike of the trip was a 15 mile roundtrip trek to Clouds Rest. The Clouds Rest hike is one of the hardest in Yosemite for a few reasons. Once the trail hits the first exposed teaser view down into Tenaya Canyon, the effort will all seem worth it. The trailhead for Clouds Rest is at Sunshine at Tenaya Lake. 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. It is truly one of the best views in the whole of Yosemite (which is a competitive field!). (Early in the season, there may be a few spots where your feet may get wet.). The trick is not to look down and take the left side. At the saddle and junction with the trail to Sunrise High Sierra Camp, continue south as the trail starts its descent into a forested meadow. Soon enough we have our first big push of the hike as the trail ascends roughly 1000 feet to gain the ridgeline east of Tenaya Canyon. With an elevation over 1000 higher than Half Dome and massive bare walls that slope thousands of feet down into Tenaya Canyon, Clouds Rest is an impressive peak that can be seen from all over the park, including Tunnel View and Olmsted Point. To be closer you could camp at Tuolomne Meadows, here’s our guide to camping in Yosemite to help you with booking. Chances are if you do n't mind the exposure, hiking along the trail is one of trip. 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