Hike Clouds Rest
Yosemite › Tenaya Lake Trailhead
Added by Addison Klinke
Enjoy incredible panoramic views of Yosemite Valley. This hike is far less crowded than Half Dome and doesn't require permits for day hiking.
The "younger" brother of the world famous Half Dome, Clouds Rest is in fact a solid 1,000 feet taller despite receiving significantly less attention. If you know about this hidden gem however, you're in luck. Starting out from the Tenaya Lake trailhead will save you crowds on the trail and the trouble of driving into the congested Yosemite Valley and fighting for parking spaces.
At the start, the trail climbs quickly through the High Sierra, passing pine trees and monstrous white granite boulders along the way. Eventually, you will reach a plateau slightly before the turnoff to Sunrise Lakes. This gradual terrain continues until the final 2 miles when the real climbing starts. At this point you will be going up the backbone of Clouds Rest. The trail does become quite exposed towards the top, but is still wide enough to be comfortable (unless you have an extreme fear of heights).
At the top, you will be looking SE into Yosemite Valley with stunning views of Half Dome all the way out to El Capitan in the distance. Not to mention the views back towards Tuolumne Meadows aren't too shabby either. You'll definitely want to stay on the summit a while to soak in the panorama, so get an early start on this hike and bring plenty of sunscreen because there's no shade once you're up on top.
- 10 Essentials
- Good hiking boots
- Plenty of water (little on the trail especially towards the end)
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
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
ReviewsLeave a Review
Better than Half Dome
This is my #1 recommended day hike for visitors who are denied Half Dome cable permits. It's a similar difficulty level, perhaps even easier because there's less elevation gain. It's a spectacular view, made even better with a view of Half Dome's backside! Watch out for the persistent chipmunks at the top. Early morning or later evening makes this hike way less crowded. Typically the trail will have snow until May, so be prepared with spikes or poles if traveling in spring.
One of a kind!
Half Dome get's all of the attention but this trail is highly underrated. We reached the summit on a partly cloudy day and it was amazing to see Half Dome and the tunnel floor when the clouds would clear. Don't skip out on Cloud's Rest if you are headed to Yosemite.
Worth All The Effort - Try Going In The Spring
Echoing all that has been said, this is one of the highlight hikes of Yosemite. The views from the summit is truly something...even life changing based on my own experiences. If you are able to do this hike in the Spring (March-April), you will catch the snow peaks in the Sierra Nevada. However, at times the trail can still be covered in snow, so follow the yellow signs marked in trees! Also, the river water tend to be higher in the Spring, so forking the river might be necessary. Take your shoes off and use the stepping stones!
The Panoramic views from the summit of clouds rest are some of my favorite in Yosemite. Spectacular views out to the east into the Clark range may be seen on a clear day. One can also spot Tenya Lake to the North. The hike is quite long and strenuous, and will take a full day, but the reward of walking along the Cloud's Rest Summit Ridge makes it all worth it.
I've been planning a road trip for after college for a while now, and Yosemite was always going to be a stop on that trip. But, this adventure makes me want to go just that much more! Plus, I've honestly never heard of Clouds Rest but now I want to do this just as much as Half Dome. Thank You!
More Adventures Nearby
Backpack the Little Five & Big Five Lakes Loop
Yosemite / Sawtooth Trailhead
Day 1: A long, rewarding day. Over the course of 11.5 miles you will complete around 10,000ft of elevation change.
Hike the Shadow of the Giants Trail
Yosemite / Shadow of the Giants Trail
The Shadow of the Giants National Recreation trail is an amazing 1.1 mile self-guided hike through the heart of Nelder Grove.