We made breakfast and shivered a bit in the early season predawn before breaking camp at a reasonable hour of around 9am. We started up the trail towards the little pass that would lead us to Sunrise Lakes, with Miles and me leading the way. We arrive in Yosemite at dawn. 1-877-272-5032 Book Now. You’ll need a permit for Cathedral Lakes from Yosemite National Park. flower. We picked up our permit at the Big Oak Flat entrance before driving down into the valley proper. Can you send me the trail you did on a map? Both are lovely peaceful lakes surrounded by sharp granite peaks. I role-played bus driver skittering around Oakland picking up my three hiking companions and squeezing them into my little Honda Fit. Can nicely pair with doing a side trip up half dome setting up camp in little Yosemite valley. It does get a little bit crowded but it’s really nice! Expect to take 3 to 5 hours to complete this hike. We could see Cathedral Peak and the Matthes Crest. Yosemite requires that campsites be at least 4 miles from Tuolumne Meadows. Gratuitous glamour shot: Even though the spot we stopped wasn’t exactly the optimal spot I’d planned, we still had magnificent views, and not just of Miles. We decided to hang out for a bit and we’d found a lovely calm pool of the Merced where we could swim. We didn’t meet any on our way to camp, but I did spot some bear tracks along the trail. The trail through this area is the famous John Muir Trail, which sees high traffic all season. We were treated to views of trees growing on impossibly steep cliffs, seemingly clinging to just an inch of soil gathered here and there. The area is popular with rock climbers. After stashing the car, we did a final gear check and then caught a shuttle over to the main visitor center area of the valley. It is not crowded at all. I am still learning how to gauge how much people who aren’t used to backpacking can do comfortably, and this trip was a learning experience for me in that vein. I dropped my pack and waited for Miles. We followed the trail as it rose and descended cliffs alongside the Merced. We set up our tents and set about gathering firewood as dusk fell. I could tell some of the guys were gettin a bit tired by now, but I urged them to keep on trucking because lord knows I did *not* want to experience dusk in this valley. Box 578, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389 5.4 miles from Cathedral Lake Trail #2 Best Value of 410 places to stay in Yosemite National Park You can’t quite tell in this photo but I’m sure they were brimming over with excitement. probably not), we descended back to camp with a view of Mt Clark in the waning sunlight. Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley via Clouds Rest, Kepler Track in Fiordland National Park, New Zealand. For sure. Half-Day Hike: Hike in from Tioga Road on the Lower/Upper Cathedral Lakes Trail (John Muir Trail). Do not get suckered into an earlier, smaller path that follows the stream. We were naked and happy, dunking our bodies in the frigid water and then basking in the sun. Echo Creek to Happy Isles Camp at Cathedral Lakes. We ascended the pass on the way to Sunrise Lakes and then boot-skiied down a few snowfields on our way down to Sunrise Lakes, where we couldn’t help but take a mid-morning swim. Best 100 Miles: Cathedral Lakes to Happy Isles via Clouds Rest, Yosemite NP, CA These 21 miles of Yosemite highlights are among the best 100 miles of trail in the whole national park system. Want to do this trip yourself? 11 miles, +200ft/-3,300ft. I tried to keep their spirits high by recounting the encounters I’d had with two bear cubs at the oasis of a campsite I was leading us towards. In the night I got up to pee and noticed the amazing brilliance of the stars and the Milky Way on this moonless night. Near the top of the climb, it passes a spur trail to Lower Cathedral Lake (0.5 mile to lake). Day 0 Sunrise and sunset with the reflection of Cathedral Peak on the glassy water is the best way to end and begin your day on the trail. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Glorious. The trail cut up and down, finding the easiest path through this raw landscape. I’d gotten some Secret On the Down Low info from a dude I “know” from my favorite Sierra message board that it’d still be chill to camp there. I noted a stream not too far to the left of the trail and a series of slabby cliffy bits with altitude-stunted trees up to the right. Cathedral Lakes. The trail climbs steadily to Upper Cathedral Lakes. We drove from Oakland down to Yosemite Valley on a sunny Saturday, stopping for mango chili lollipops at a gas station in the central valley and encountering the usual high-season traffic driving into the park. Before too long, though, we arrived in Little Yosemite Valley proper, and were greeted by some deer friends. My wife and I are planning to make a similar hike in about two weeks from now, including the half Dome. We just had to descend to the valley, so it shouldn’t be too much of an adventure today. After our “rest” break, we packed up and descended through the burned out and gross upper reaches of Little Yosemite Valley. ( Log Out / She looked like the Indy Car driver Danica Patrick. I wonder if these are the same two cuties that I saw as cubs two years before in this same spot. Of course, the view to Mt Clark in the south didn’t disappoint either. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. The name of the game today was descent, and we marveled at the trail construction as we went down down down. Descending thousands of feet over miles and miles can wreak havoc on a person’s knees, and it’s important to train, even if you think you are in shape. After that sudden excitement, we needed a bit of relaxing humanity and friendship, so we built a (terrifyingly large imho) fire in the existing campfire ring at our site. We also visited my favorite campsite on Echo Creek, where we saw a pair of bears! The exposed trail gave us magnificent views across the Merced canyon above the Bunnell Cascade. Keep on the trail until it fades away near the base Cathedral Peak. We passed the time reading, chatting, and waiting for-fucking-ever for a pot of water for hot chocolate to boil atop this expertly built fire. I kept being like “Hey look it’s Clouds Rest! It was busy and full of tourists but not nearly as bad as Yosemite Valley. We weren’t alone. 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