Cathedral Lakes Yosemite Day Hike | Lasting Adventures

Cathedral Lakes and Sunrise Lakes Loop

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Highlights: This hike can be done from either direction and features a high country tour which includes meadows, creeks, granite wrapped lakes, and iconic views of the high country. The Sunrise Lakes/Cathedral Lakes Yosemite loop is 13.5 miles.


Meeting Location: Cathedral Trailhead at 8,580′
High Point: Cathedral Pass at 9,700′
Elevation Gain: approx. 1,120′

Meeting time and location: 8:00am at the Cathedral trailhead on Tioga Rd (Hwy 120) between Tenaya Lake and Tuolumne Meadows. After a quick briefing and introductions, we will start on our first mild 3-mile section past Fairview Dome and the epic, gnarled peak of Cathedral to the first of two Cathedral Lakes, heading south and ascending only 850 feet or so. At this 3-mile junction, we can branch off to the west, hiking a half mile to get a closer look at the largest of the Cathedral Lakes (and hiking a half mile back to the junction). This will add 1 extra mile to the trip if you decide you’d enjoy the additional workout and stunning scenery. Once back on the main loop, we continue on for 4.5 miles, passing the second and smaller Cathedral Lake, up over our highest point of the trip through Cathedral Pass at 9700’ elevation, and down into Sunrise High Sierra Camp dropping down to 9320’ in elevation. We will break here for lunch.

After a short half-mile switchback section, we hit flat and mostly downhill terrain for 2 miles, which will bring us through the backcountry and past three high sierra Sunrise Lakes, each being very unique and beautiful. Upon passing the lakes, we will hit the Sunrise Lakes junction, where we will head north for our last 2.5 miles of the day. The first 1-1.5 miles is a steep series of switchbacks, descending almost 1000 vertical feet. Following these joint-jaunting switchbacks is a mellow and flat 1-1.5 miles to Sunrise Lakes trailhead parking lot through dense pine forest with one river crossing, which can be up to the waist depending on the amount of snowmelt and time of season, so be ready to de-boot! When we reach the Sunrise parking lot, we will catch a free half-hour long shuttle back to Cathedral Lakes parking lot, where your vehicle should be parked. And so ends our incredible journey into the backcountry of one of the most astonishing places on earth.

Guides carry first aid kits, water purification methods, toilet paper (for emergencies), suntan lotion and bug repellent. Please plan to bring your own lunch, snacks, water bottles, etc. Remember, all profits from our guided trips go towards supporting our youth summer camp program.

Note: Should weather, fire, and/or delayed seasonal openings affect the chosen itinerary, a different itinerary will be offered. You will be kept in contact throughout this process.

Don’t miss out on this Sunrise Lakes / Cathedral Lakes Yosemite day hike, as it is a 2016 bucket list adventure!

Trip Specifics:

Length: 7-9 hours
Mileage: 13.5 Miles
Rating: Strenuous
Meeting Location: Cathedral Trailhead
Meeting Time: 8:00am
Available: May-Oct
Cost: 1 person: $200
2 people: $120 each
3+ people: $90 each
2016 Dates: Choose a Date!