Hike Clouds Rest

14.5 Miles Round Trip - 1775 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Tenaya Lake Trailhead - Search Nearby - 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.

Tags

Hiking
Forest
Scenic

Details

14.5 Miles
1775 ft elevation gain
Out-and-Back Trail

Stay Nearby

Wawona, California

Tuolumne Meadows

Tioga Rd, YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA 95389, USA

Tuolumne Meadows Lodge

From $143/night

Yosemite Valley, California

The Ahwahnee

From $386/night

Upper Pines Campground, California

Upper Pines

From $26/night

Nearby Adventures

Hike Clouds Rest to Half Dome

21 Miles Round Trip - 4000 ft gain

Backpack Sunrise Lakes to Clouds Rest

15.5 Miles Round Trip - 1775 ft gain

Hike the Half Dome & Clouds Rest Loop

26 Miles Round Trip - 7000 ft gain

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Tours

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Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Emily Noyd

about 3 years ago

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.

Paloma Hamlett

over 3 years ago

Midnight Hike 🌙

We left the trail head at 1 am and hiked beneath the stars, with our head lamps, to Clouds Rest for sunrise. The view of Orion at sunrise is amazing. 💫

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.