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Our Clouds Rest day hike is the ultimate bucket-list Yosemite adventure! The summit of Clouds Rest is the neighboring peak to Half Dome, located immediately to the North and peaking over 1,000 feet higher. When looking at Half Dome from the valley, you can see Clouds Rest immediately to the left. At 9,926’ in elevation, the summit offers one of the best views in the park, and an unparalleled vantage of Half Dome and Yosemite Valley. This challenging 14.5-mile day hike is a favorite for guests and guides alike, making it among our most popular day tours. All Clouds Rest day hike tours are private.
Meeting Location: Sunrise Lakes Trailhead at 8,150′
High Point: Clouds Rest Summit: 9926′
Elevation Gain: 1,776′
The Clouds Rest hike begins at 7 am at the Sunrise Trailhead parking along the west shore of Tenaya Lake. This is right off of Higway 120/Tioga Road between Olmstead Point and Tenaya Lake. You will meet your Lasting Adventures Guide here.
The distance of the Clouds Rest hike is approximately 14.5 miles round trip from Tenaya Lake in the Yosemite high country with a total elevation gain of 1,776′. The trail begins at an elevation of about 8,150 and the first 1.5 miles is gradual before miles 1.5-2.5 which offers one of the more difficult climbs of the day. The reward at the top of this first climb is an awesome hidden viewpoint down the length of Tenaya Canyon seeing the valley in the distance past both Clouds Rest and Half Dome.
The next few miles are a combination of some downhill and gradual uphills before the last climb to the summit. Views of the high country in a less crowded area are abundant as we pass by a pond and break at a stream. After the break we start winding uphill again as we gain a view of the Clouds Rest summit and more views up the Merced River Canyon. The last 1/4 mile or so to the summit we call ‘The Spine’, a narrow ridge with a steep drop off to the west of about 4,000 feet and a lesser drop to the east of around 1,000 feet. This provides an exciting adrenaline rush at the end, but is certainly more low key than summiting Half Dome.
The reward at the summit is one of the best 360 degree views in the park. From this viewpoint you can see many famous Yosemite icons such as Half Dome, El Capitan, Glacier Point, Mt. Watkins, North Dome, Sentinel Dome, Mount Hoffman, Mount Lyell, Mount Conness, Mount Dana, Merced lake, Tenaya Lake … and the list goes on.