Backpack Cathedral Lakes

Yosemite Tuolumne Meadows Visitor's Center

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 from the Tuolumne Meadows parking lot, 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.

Pack List

  • Ten Essentials
  • Good hiking boots
  • Plenty of water and filter
  • Photography gear
  • Appropriate overnight gear (plus permits reserved through Yosemite National Park)
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Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



8 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1100 Feet




Are we missing something?

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How to Get There

about 1 month ago


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

about 1 month ago

3 months ago

Great for seclusion

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

3 months ago

over 1 year ago

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

over 1 year ago

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