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)
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Share

Activities:

Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

8 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1100 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildlife

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

6 months ago

Gorgeous

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

6 months ago

8 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

8 months ago

almost 2 years ago

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

almost 2 years ago

More Adventures Nearby

Hike to The Tuttle Creek Ashram

Yosemite / Tuttle Creek Ashram Trailhead

The Tuttle Creek Ashram is an abandoned stone building, "church" or place of enlightenment tucked away in the beautiful Eastern Sierra.

Alex Anderson
2 Saves

Camp at Lone Pine Campground

Yosemite / Lone Pine Campground

The Lone Pine Campground is located 6 miles west of Lone Pine California, and 7 miles east of Mt Whitney Portal.

Alex Anderson
8 Saves

Watch the Sunset in El Capitan Meadow

Yosemite / El Capitan Meadow

After entering the park, keep driving the loop until you get onto Northside Drive, and then park once you are right below El Capitan (the 3,000ft granite monolith that is very hard to miss).

Breanne McNitt
6 Saves