Clouds Rest Trail from Tenaya Lake is a 12.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mariposa, 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.
Hiking to Tenaya Lake Trailhead is worth to do especially if you want to enjoy the incredible panoramic views from the Clouds Rest, such as the Yosemite Valley and Little Yosemite Valley views. There, the place is a great spot to enjoy the overnight with the scenic view if you stay at the Sunrise Lakes.
The Starting Point
Start your trip at the Tenaya Lake Trailhead and after that head directly onto the trail to reach Clouds Rest. Another way is to branch off after hiking for 2.7 miles to the Sunrise Lakes. Break up the hike and spend a night there to relax. Doing this way will make you can start early hiking back on the trail.
Once you go back to the Clouds Rest trail, you will start a brief descent and you will come across the only lake, located on the CR Trail. During the hike, you also need to op across some streams and trickles to complete the trail.
It is also important to note that the second checkpoint on the trail has no sign that can point to the Clouds Rest. Thankfully, helpful hikers created a rock CR with the arrow points to the right. You should follow that sign so you can find the clear treeline. It is great to enjoy the views while keep hiking.
For the final trail sign, you can find it at the base of the scramble. The final takes 10 minutes of your ascent to the summit. At the summit, you will find the views of Little Valley Fire. The views are so beautiful that you can even see the valley and Half Dome.
If you do not mind to continue toward Little Yosemite Valley back, you can try it and get to the top of the Half Dome. Here, you need to spend a little time at Merced Lake. At this point, you should bring a lot of water because if you still want to continue hiking, you have to deal with the long and grueling hiking moment. Therefore, you can take another option that is to turn back and then follow the trail to the Tenaya Lake trailhead that even takes 2 to 3 hours.
Things To Bring For This Hike
Here are some items to bring if you have a plan to hike to Tenaya Lake Trailhead:
Sunscreen, hiking poles, 3-5 liters of water per person depends on the route, meals, sunglasses, layers, hat, and camera
This trail offers 15.5 miles of distance with 1775 feet in elevation gain. You can do backpacking, hiking, and camping here. Besides, the trail is perfect for intermediate hikers to visit in the summer. The out-and-back trail makes this place is perfect for family-friendly adventure. It is the ideal choice if you need scenic forest, wildlife, and picnic area.
What Previous Hikers Say About This Hike
We gain all feedbacks given by the previous hikers. We thanks to them that they even leave some valuable notes here:
- It is one of the best trails to visit in Yosemite with less traffic compared to other trails. You can camp at the Sunrise Lakes. Cloud Rest has phenomenal views that unmatched the Half Dome. You should reach the summit if you want to enjoy the beautiful sunrise. Besides, you can submit for the permit to Half Dome and then hit that on the way back to Yosemite Valley.
- Sunrise Lakes is still the beautiful detour of the High Sierra. Take your time to the third and the farthest lake since it is the most beautiful. The granite ridge northwest of the lake is also great to see.
- When you are backpacking, make sure that you have done with the Wilderness permits. If you think that the Sunrise trailhead is notorious for camping and hefty fines, try to backpack from Tioga to the Valley and take the YARTS bus back to your car.
- You cannot expect to be alone when you visit at Sunrise Lake. There is lots of people camp in this spot. Since the location is heavily used, you must be careful with some bear activity. It is awesome to see the granite slabs fall into the valley, which is 5,000 feet below and look down on the Half Dome.
- Camping north of the Clouds Rest will never make you disappointed if you don’t mind to stay there for overnight. There is a flat area of the trail offers the spectacular view of the sunset over the Yosemite Valley. The big reward is that you will be the first ones on the top of Clouds Rest the next morning. What you should do is to carry all your water up since there are no water sources up. Besides, your trip can be longer if you don’t mind to take the bus to Tuolumne Meadow and then take the John Muir Trail toward the Sunrise Lakes and then go to the Clouds Rest and back down to the Valley via the Mist Trail.
- You can complete this hike with your partner by considering the starting point is from the Lake Tenaya in the early morning. This can be your initial hiking experience with a little challenge of elevation gain about 1000 feet. At this point, you may have to deal with mosquitoes but they will disappear as you gain the elevation. After that, the trail flattens out for a bit and then the next portion will begin the elevation gain. The ascent to the summit offers spectacular views of the entire Yosemite. The descent down to the Yosemite Valley is also beautiful with the great views at the back side of the Half Dome. There are numerous waterfalls as well.
For those reasons, we think that it is good to include Tenaya Lake Trailhead on your list when you are planning for hiking in this year. Keep in mind that the experience you will get during your hiking depends on your preparation.