From here I can make out the cables going almost impossibly and vertically straight up the granite monolith. But a small group just behind me misses the sign and start to walk along the base of the summit, and I later discover many people miss this junction. This is undoubtedly, the easiest route up Clouds Rest starts from Tenaya Lake, a 7-mile YDS class 1 route along hiking trails usually done as a dayhike. To get there you’ll have to take highway 120 up to Tioga Pass. Lake number two is located a short distance below the track, so I make the short detour down to the edge of the water. At the bottom of the valley is Sunrise Creek, and also the lowest elevation of the entire circuit I’m doing (around 2,195m or 7,200 feet above sea level). Tenaya Lake – Sunrise Trailhead – Clouds Rest Trail [< ----- 0.62 Mile ----- >] Tanaya Lake – Sunrise Lakes Trailhead 8,150 ft elev. Heading towards Clouds Rest will take you down about 300 feet. Eichorn Pinnacle via Cathedral Peak Climber's Approach. EASY 3.8 mi. Being mid afternoon, on a sunny fall day, we were hot by the time we made it back to camp around 3:30pm.  The lake was simply too enticing so after dropping our gear we went for a “refreshing” dip….. OK, so maybe it was just downright cold, but it felt good to clean up and cool off.  Finding a warm rock to rest and dry out on, a nap took hold.  With dinner and sunset watching the next order of business, we put a close to a remarkable day. There’s no path or signage from here – but none is needed. Remarkable trip…… Relatively easy with plenty of time to rest and enjoy what the park has to offer. Hop on the Sunrise Trail for a flat, 1.6-mile warm-up to the glittering azure of Sunrise Lakes. I make an early start to hopefully avoid the crowds, leaving Tuolumne Meadows Lodge just after sunrise for the Sunrise Lakes Trailhead. At this landing, there are several options.  The trailhead to the left, will take you to Sunrise Lakes and beyond to Sunrise Lakes High Sierra Camp.  The trailhead straight (as you hit the top), will take you to Clouds Rest…… Pro Tip:  To the right there is an unmarked trail (two actually) that will take you to one of the best views of the Valley in Yosemite.  The best spot is up and to the right so…… of the two unmarked trails to the right, take the first one that goes up a bit.  Either one, if you go up (slightly right) and then out to the edge you will know exactly what I am talking about.  Would make a wonderful campsite, except the closest water is a half mile away at Sunrise Lakes. DIFFICULT 2.6 mi. There are two trails that leave from Tenaya Lake, one that leads to the north and one to the south. Here’s another sign for Clouds Rest at the junction. Reach the Clouds Rest summit (9,926 feet). It starts with the first 2.7 miles of the Sunrise Trail, followed by 2.3 miles of the Forsyth Trail, and finally the actual Clouds Rest Trail for 2 miles. Drive to Sunrise trailhead (We will be leaving one car at Yosemite Valley). 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. It's amazing how accessible Cloud's Rest is. Eventually the trail reaches the base of Sunrise Mountain, where for a mercifully short distance it ascends very steeply via a series of switchbacks. Monday 9/10/18 (3.5 miles, 108 feet gain): With yet another early rise, we were packed up and on the move by 8:00am.  Time to bid camp farewell and make our way back to the car/trailhead.  Being essentially all downhill, we made quick work of it stopping only briefly to watch a Grouse as it wandered across the trail. There’s just 2.5 miles left to get back to the car at the Sunrise Lakes trailhead. You will meet your Lasting Adventures Guide here. Take it to Little Yosemite Valley, where hordes of Half Dome hopefuls gather for a shot at peak views similar to the ones you just earned (join them if your backcountry permit allows it). There’s one tent up neat the track, while the previous lake had a cluster of tents at the northern end. The trail to Sunrise Lakes is around 3.5 miles.  At this time of year, there was no water between the trailhead and the Lake.  The trail is well groomed, initially rather flat with only slight undulations, and consists of fairly soft footings.  There are brief moments where the trail turns rocky, but never are the rocks loose, and there is plenty of shade.  At about 1.5 miles, the ascent begins and with its gain of about 1000 feet in a mile, it is a heart pumping climb.  This terrain becomes steps of various sorts with travel along switchbacks to ease some of the pain.  When the heart starts pumping, and the lungs start burning, stop and take a look behind you as the views of Tenaya Canyon and the opposite Mountain range begin to come into view.  All well worth the effort.  During one of these rests, I was lucky enough to watch a tiny ground squirrel jump up on a rock, stand on his hind feet, grab hold of the top of a small grain weed, pull it towards him and eat the tiny little morsels; Very cute.  Carrying a 40 lb pack, I was starting to feel it just as the ridge line came into view…… Yes!  As you reach the top, you will most likely find many who went before you resting.  Drop your packs, drink some water and grab a snack.  Hold the snacks tightly, though, because the ground squirrels have grown quite accustomed to eating up there …… They are cute, but bold. And I use the word “narrow” somewhat loosely: I’ve read descriptions such as “a narrow and knife-edged ridge”. BUY PHOTO: It’s a popular spot for campers, and there are a number of tents already set-up at around the edges of the enormous meadow. We crossed paths with many more day hikers than we had seen previously. Other than a thin strip of green along the creek, it’s also much drier than I expected. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Behold: an endless mid-angle slab climb of truly epic proportions! After a bit less than a mile of gradual descent, I reach a small spur that faces Half Dome on the other side of the valley. I’m back at the car at 10pm, having walked the last hour and a half in the dark. Here I finally get a sense of the altitude gained, with filtered views of distant mountains through the towering trees. The trail now descends via a series of switchbacks down to the valley; it’s getting warm and I’m glad to be going downhill (but less thrilled at the thought that eventually I will need to regain all of this altitude). Lower Cathedral Lake via John Muir Trail. Break Free From Your Story. Range, Yosemite Valley, Half Dome and more. Some people camp at Sunrise lakes, which isn't super far from Tenaya lakes. Multiple steep ascents. It doesn’t take too long until the path starts climbing, and I overtake a few groups of hikes that have also started early (as a result of Half Dome permits being hard to obtain, Clouds Rest is one of the popular alternatives). The fastest way to day hike Cloud's Rest starts from the Sunrise Lakes trailhead on Tioga Road near Tenaya Lake. The of the first part of my journey is almost over, as I reach the base of the summit. Moral of the story…. A hiking blog with a little something extra. The peak off to the left is Sunrise Mountain, not Clouds Rest, and you don’t have to hike up it. Be prepared with a map, plenty of water, and whatever you will be comfortable spending the night in should things not go as planned. 5.0 This is actually the easiest part of the hike and only the end is a bit steep but not nearly as much of a sweat as the first part of the hike with the switchbacks. More. Sunrise Trailhead: 8151' Clouds Rest summit: 9931' Seasons: I enjoy my last break of the day as the light fades and the sky darkens. ... via John Muir Trail. 9. We decided not to extend the length, but instead headed onto the Cathedral Lakes trailhead back towards Tuoloumne Meadows. There are two trails that leave from Tenaya Lake, one that leads to the north and one to the south. 2. From Clouds Rest's airy and cozy summit, the most undeniable natural feature is the Northwest Face, a stunning 5000-foot drop into Tenaya Canyon. 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