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Cathedral Lakes

Wawona, California

based on 4 reviews



9.04 miles

Elevation Gain

1100 ft

Route Type



Added by Addison Klinke

Take in views of the 10,900 foot Cathedral Peak. Explore lush green meadow surrounding a high alpine lake with amazing solitude for Yosemite.

Starting at the Cathedral Lakes Trailhead near the Tuolumne Meadows parking lot (if parking is full at the TH), this trail wanders through the classic High Sierra forest with large white granite boulders and pine trees. After approximately 4 miles of quiet solitude in the forest, you will reach Cathedral Lakes: a pair of high alpine lakes surrounded by the quintessential green meadows that Yosemite is famous for.

Head left here at the split and continue another half mile to Upper Cathedral Lake. This last stretch is well worth the improved views of Cathedral Peak. On the west side of the upper lake, take an easy scramble up some boulders for a higher perspective on the lake and Cathedral Peak plus views of the surrounding valleys. This makes a great spot for dinner if you're spending the night! If you're into photography, this is also a prime place to catch the evening sun glowing on Cathedral Peak.

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Cathedral Lakes Reviews

This hike begins a lot like Clouds Rest as it switchbacks up through the forest between Fairview Dome and Cathedral Peak toward the lakes. Take your time here and don’t let the incline and elevation deter you, the payoff is worth the effort! We did the upper lake first thinking we wanted to get all elevation gain out of the way but either order would be fine. On the upper lake trail you get closer views of Cathedral Peak and which towers over the area. Lower lake is bigger and arguably more impressive, especially because of the meadow with a feeder stream winding through it. Both great places to have a picnic or backcountry camp.

One of my favorite places to camp in the park. Sunrise/Sunset are incredible and the mountain reflection on the lake is breath-taking.

This is a perfect spot to get away from the crowds. Great area for sunrise and sunsets too. There are great spots to chill on south side of the lake

Set up your tent due left on the little patch of land when you reach the lake.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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