As a self-proclaimed view hunter that’s been diligently exploring California and the Western U.S. with handfuls of cameras over the last few years, the views from the summit of Clouds Rest in the middle of the Yosemite Valley are nearly peerless in the Golden State. If space is no longer available for that trailhead, you can try to change your reservation to another date or another trailhead (as long as space is available). Join us on an epic hike to summit two of the most iconic peaks in Yosemite National Park, Half Dome and Clouds Rest. North and south-facing views provide viewsheds into the northern and southern expanses of the park (particularly views to the south). An advantage of choosing the Clouds Rest hike is that it is not an overnight trip, so you do not need to obtain a permit, which can be a long process. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from March until October. The Clouds Rest Trail winds its way through wildflower-covered meadows, forests and rocks before it starts the steep switchbacking (at times stair step) climb. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox. The cabin is generally open during the same time as the Badger Pass Ski Area, which is typically mid-December through March (as long as there is enough snow for skiing). A bonus to hiking in via the Sunrise Lake trail is you can hike the Clouds Rest trail (which requires no permit), and gives you incredible views of Half Dome. This limit on the number of people staying at the cabin provides for visitor safety and preserves natural, cultural, and wilderness values. Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous. In late summer it’s easy to skip across the meager trickle of water, but during wet peri… The trailheads report shows which trailheads are full for certain dates (as of the last-updated date shown at the top of the page). The hike fittingly known as Clouds Rest sits more than 1,000 feet above the iconic Half Dome and provides arguably the best view in all of Yosemite National Park. It’s considered one of the epic Yosemite hikes and is definitely worth the effort. We have more answers to frequently asked questions. Clouds Rest Trail via Tenaya Lake is a 13 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Yosemite Valley, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. If you plan to backpack and camp in the wilderness area around Clouds Rest, an overnight permit is required though. Any travel through Yosemite Valley invalidates the permit. Though popular trailheads may fill up, there is always space available on other trailheads in the park. The Half Dome Permit system, however necessary, is just an extra bureaucratic hoop that I’d rather not jump through. Since there are only a few designated campgrounds, you can camp anywhere you like, provided you follow all the regulations. As soon as the crowd starts to thin (depending on what time you start), the first push is an even, quality burn, and I’d recommend taking the John Muir Trial the first few miles up to Vernal Falls. Crossing a road by means of traditional wilderness travel (by foot or with stock) in continuation of a wilderness itinerary. Rest assured, though, that things get considerably easier after this point. Had to fight with the Half Dome day hikers some of the way. You couldn’t directly purchase airfare because of an oversaturated buyer’s market, so rather than receive an e-mail receipt to confirm your booking, you are entered into a ‘lottery’ in which you may or may not be able to travel to your planned destination…(As an NBA fan, I’ve always struggled with the idea of a truly randomized lottery). Additionally, the ascent up Clouds Rest is very challenging and is weather permitting. Additionally, due to increased popularity of the Snow Creek Cabin, a quota (six people per night) is in effect. A one-night stop in the Tuolumne Meadows Backpackers Campground as part of an ongoing and continuous long-distance hiking permit. Total 360. Of each daily quota for a trailhead, 60 percent can be reserved ahead of time. The Yosemite Wilderness has over 750 miles of trail to explore with a great range of elevation, ecological zones, and solitude. A wilderness permit is not required for day hikes (unless hiking to Half Dome) or for staying in lodging facilities and frontcountry campgrounds. Once in Yosemite Park, you can jump the shuttle (it runs from 7 AM to 10 PM), which will drop you off at the trailhead (Stop 16) for the Happy Isles/Mist Trail, which goes to Vernal Falls, Half Dome, Clouds Rest, and beyond. So, in planning a trip, it is important to find the right experience for your interests, timeframe, and abilities. Start out at the Tenaya Lake Trailhead, where you can head directly onto the trail for Clouds Rest or you can branch off after 2.7 miles to Sunrise Lakes. Sixty percent of reservations are available 24 weeks in advance; the remaining 40 percent are available two … A wilderness permit is required year-round for backpacking or any other overnight stay in the Yosemite Wilderness. For Clouds Rest, you need a permit for Sunrise Lakes, and we highly recommend reserving this one, as it’s a … ... both of the trails you referenced make it quite difficult to get to clouds rest in a 4 day hike. Whitney, various parts of the Grand Canyon and Zion Narrows, etc.). Andrew Johnson So, practically, it's not possible to get permits for popular trailheads except at the priority permit station. With no water source near the summit of Cloud’s Rest, we needed to bring enough water for our hike in, that evening’s dinner, the next morning’s breakfast, and the next afternoon’s hike out. The adrenaline rush you get as you climb the narrow rocky ridge that leads to the Clouds Rest summit is one of the many reasons hiking enthusiasts choose this trail. As the park’s zenith, it offers wildly sweeping panoramic vistas of the park. Once past the falls, which makes for a natural rest stop, you’ll continue on (the trails briefly merge after Vernal Falls, so as long as you’re generally heading north/northeast, you’re in good shape), and just past the backpacker’s camp, you’ll come to a figurative fork in the road. That would make holiday travel pretty tough. You must go to the Valley Visitor Center to pick up a wilderness permit (if available) and current combination for the cabin's lock. It’s really a beautiful hike. The trailhead information page has additional information, including quotas for each trailhead, parking information, and other details. Please explore responsibly! (The wilderness permit office will know whether water is flowing, so you can ask when you pick up your permit.) All the glacier-carved wonder of Little Yosemite Valley and the surrounding peaks unfolds at the top of Clouds Rest (9,926 ft.). Like virtual reality, but without the virtual part. Setup camp at the Clouds Rest - Half Dome trail junction. West-facing views offer gorgeously unobstructed lines of sight to Half Dome and throughout the valley floor. Yep, us too. Wilderness permit reservations are available (and strongly recommended) up to 24 weeks (168 days) in advance, and up until nine before your hike. Behold: an endless mid-angle slab climb of truly epic proportions! Clouds Rest is an arête, a thin, almost knife-like, ridge of rock formed when glaciers eroded away solid rock to form Tenaya Canyon and Little Yosemite Valley. It’s really a beautiful hike. If the date or trailhead isn't listed, space is available for at least one person (but not necessarily for your entire group). Cloud's Rest: No permit required no brainer day hike - See 64 traveler reviews, 91 candid photos, and great deals for Yosemite National Park, CA, at Tripadvisor. Once all permits are secured, it’s a good idea to reserve bus tickets from Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows. The trek down from Clouds Rest is a steep winding descent to Sunrise Creek; along the way stunning views of Half Dome with El Capitan in the distance are framed by massive ancient junipers. This process is subject to change based on COVID-19 situation in 2021. Only one permit is required. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/clouds-rest-trail Total 360. From the summit, hike down 5 miles to Sunrise Creek for the final night of camping. Exiting the wilderness at any time during a wilderness itinerary invalidates the wilderness permit. Reservations are available fewer than 168 days in advance (but not fewer than two days in advance), although popular trailheads fill up the first day reservations are available. This allows you to break up the hike, spend a night relaxing and help you have an early start back on the trail. Like virtual reality, but without the virtual part. This final ascent climbs steadily to a challenging elevation, but isn't as steep as the climb you conquered to reach the Sunrise Lakes fork. Hug the eastern edge of the mountainside and muscle your way through the 500-foot climb to the summit. To the extent you can carve the time, I’d recommend researching the lottery period for your desired route/location, and having each person in your party independently enter to maximize your chances of obtaining a permit. And unlike Half Dome, for the Clouds Rest hike, no permit is needed, the distance and climbing is manageable, and you don’t have to navigate anything like the anxiety-inducing cables section. It’s a little less travelled, provides nice middleground views of the falls and the backside of Half Dome, and is fairly shaded in the morning (for those traveling during warmer months; I last went in late May, and it was almost 90 degrees on the valley floor and about 40 degrees at the summit). Wilderness permit holders may spend one night prior to, and one night after, a backpacking trip in a backpackers' campground (summer only). If there is, I’m really not sure what it is. Literally, no good reason as to why it took me so long to hike to Clouds Rest. All reservations (same day and next day) and same-day unreserved permits may still be picked up when the wilderness center opens for the day. Don’t be scurred, though, people be people J. *Route Variation - Our specific hiking route and campsites on each departure are dependent upon permit availability. These are two of the most spectacular and famous peaks in Yosemite National Park. Today’s Mileage: 7.3 mi / +800′, -2,800′ + Save to a List. This is certainly closer water than the year-round creak flowing at a lower elevation. Hopefully, the photographs alone are a sufficient sales pitch (not that you really need one). Trailhead quotas are in effect during winter. Permits are available one day in advance of your trip. This backpacking trip, be it your first or fortieth, is a uniquely protected opportunity to provide maximum freedom to roam in Wilderness. Alternatively, depending on the park, you can outrun everyone to the starting line, and can often secure unused day and/or overnight permits on-site (where available), if you’re willing to line up outside the ranger station/visitor center at dawn. Wilderness permits are required in winter—but reservations aren't needed from November through April. You can also speak to a wilderness ranger by calling 209/372-0826 (Monday through Friday, 9 am to noon and 1 to 4:30 pm, from March through early October). You can add another person to your wilderness permit reservation for an additional fee as long as space is still available for that trailhead. Common examples: Continuous travel is a condition of a wilderness itinerary in which the user travels from a Yosemite National Park entry trailhead to the exit trailhead during the dates specified in the permit. You must pick up a wilderness permit at the permit station closest to your starting point (when these permit stations are closed for the season, permits are available on a self-registration basis). Following a brief descent, you'll get a couple miles of mostly flat hiking before starting up the slopes of Clouds Rest itself. After the first night, you may camp wherever you can hike to within the wilderness. Like, what if all vacationing and travel was like that? Now if we could just brainstorm a better way to provide egalitarian access to the summit…. Travel by vehicle or bus at any time during a wilderness itinerary invalidates the wilderness permit. If your starting trailhead is outside Yosemite National Park, get your permit from the land agency that manages that trailhead. © 2020 The Outbound Collective - Terms of Use - Privacy Policy. When I was first getting into camping, it took a few hard fails before I fully digested the importance of the permit application process and subsequent lottery. A wilderness permit is required year-round for backpacking or any other overnight stay in the Yosemite Wilderness. Half Dome Permits. There is a lottery system for day hikers, but it’s also possible to secure a permit when reserving the backpacking permit. Half Dome, Havasu Falls, Mt. Nobody else continued on to Clouds Rest. Tried summiting Half Dome but the closed down the cables right as we got to them because of a lightning storm rolling in. Day 4: After a hearty breakfast hike approximately 3.5 miles to the summit of Clouds Rest at 9,926′. Sunrise Lakes –> Clouds Rest –> Little Yosemite Valley –> Happy Isles; After faxing in my reservation request (if you’re not familiar with the permit requirements, visit here, we were lucky to get permits starting at May Lake, but without Half-Dome permits. Therefore, as part of the wilderness experience, park rangers can provide general guidance but will not plan a wilderness trip for you; you must plan your own trip. Submit your application as early as possible: popular trailheads fill up on the first day reservations are available and many other trailheads fill up almost as quickly. Get an ad-free experience, support The Outbound, and snag a bunch of other perks by subscribing for only $29.99/year. Thank you!! If you are starting a hike from a trailhead located outside of Yosemite National Park, obtain your permit from the trailhead's managing agency, even if camping in Yosemite. We scouted some turf, pitched our tents, and dropped our packs at the end of the tree line, just before the naked shoulder begins to emerge and crest into its exposed peak, hiking the final ~1.5 mile stretch with a couple of day packs and summit essentials. Right >>> Clouds Rest/Tenaya Lake/Tuolumne Meadows. This is Yosemite glacial geology at its finest. The Outbound works best with JavaScript enabled. Hiking Half Dome is an unforgettable experience, but I’d choose Clouds Rest any day of the week, if only for the solitude. For this reason alone, Clouds Rest should join your permit application lineup. You can take a day hike to Clouds Rest without a permit, or obtain a first-come, first-served backpacking permit at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center. This service is especially helpful for those who have gotten a first-come, first-served permit the day before beginning their hike. Day 2: Hike to lower Cathedral Lake (7 miles) and camp there. Reservations are not available. Although the Half Dome hike typically gets all the attention, hiking Clouds Rest actually takes you to a higher summit that offers a panoramic vista which includes an unbeatable view of Half Dome itself. West-facing views offer gorgeously unobstructed lines of sight to Half Dome and throughout the valley floor. If you missed out on snagging a Half Dome permit and are looking for a great alternative hike, then the Clouds Rest trail is a great choice. The summit can be reached by a 7.2-mile (11.6 km) trail hike from Tioga Pass Road or a 13-mile (21 km) trail hike from Happy Isles by way of Little Yosemite Valley.There are also several technical routes available. Make sure to take in the view as you gain elevation on your way up to Sunrise Lakes. Take in some of the best view points in Yosemite National Park on a guided backpacking tour to the summits of Half Dome and Clouds Rest with Discovery Treks.Climb the Half Dome cables and enjoy the fresh air at 9,930 at the summit of Clouds Rest. After that, it’s left, right, left (*foot after foot, not directional turning) – all the way to the top, which, at 9,996 feet, is the highest point in Yosemite. Permits and reservations: No permits are required for hiking up to Clouds Rest or to the top of the Lembert Dome. The trailhead quota system limits use based on where you begin your hike, and in some cases, on where you camp the first night of your trip. Permit check by a floating park ranger should be in and around this area. Even if you plan to spend every night of a Wilderness trip inside Yosemite but your entry trailhead is outside Yosemite, you do not get the permit from Yosemite. Left >>> Half Dome. From November through April, wilderness permits are available without a reservation. And CA has so many diverse and harmonious views – both known, and those yet to be discovered…with its urban centers, topographical variety, vast ranges and whatnot (Fun fact: California shares its climate with a few global regions: Western Australia, Costal Chile, and parts of the Mediterranean Rim). Summit both Half Dome and Clouds Rest on this guided backpacking trip! Imagine virgin Sierra Nevada granite, uplifted from its deep burial place by compressional tectonic forces, canyons eroded rapidly by generous spring runoff, and finally, the odd glacier to smooth the slope. Registration includes: Guided backpacking trip, park entry (as needed), bear-proof canister rental, Yosemite Wilderness permit, and tent camping at shared group sites before and after the trip. Adventure Details. This is not a hike for folks looking for a leisurely stroll! For this reason alone, Clouds Rest should join your permit application lineup. The remaining 40 percent are available on a first-come, first-served basis no earlier than 11 am the day before your hike begins as long as permits are available. The trails passes through meadows and forests, but expect to tackle very rocky, ankle-snapping sections of trail. Day 1: Hike up from Tenaya Lake TH to Clouds Rest (6 miles) enjoy the views, turn around and go back to the trail junction (3.5 miles) and then on to beautiful Middle Sunrise Lake (1 mile) where you set up camp for the night. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Facing east (depicted in the cover shot), you can see Tenaya Lake, Tuolumne Meadows, the Sierra Nevadas and, if you strain your eyes, parts of northern Wisconsin. Difficulty of the hike will also vary based on the route change. Views from Clouds Rest are as worthy as they come in the State of California. However, if you are planning to stay overnight in a Yosemite campsite, apply for a permit months prior to your trip. Geography. That said, in order to plan for a few of the more-oft visited destinations throughout the southwestern United States, it’s necessary to pipeline the permit application windows for those travel spots that do require a permit (i.e. Clouds Rest is a massive granite peak just northeast of Half Dome.The peak can be seen from Yosemite Valley, and at 9,930 ft. is about 1,080 ft. higher than the more famous Half Dome.The peak offers excellent views of Half Dome and the surrounding area. You’ll start on Tioga Road at the west end of Tenaya Lake (Sunrise trailhead), and begin the hike with a view of the lake on the left. Check out our Yosemite - Two Summits guided backpacking adventure for details! A wilderness permit is not required for day hikes (unless hiking to Half Dome) or for staying in lodging facilities and frontcountry campgrounds. At about 2.5 miles, you'll reach an intersection with the Sunrise Lakes Trail that heads off to the east. The hike up to Clouds Rest is a difficult yet rewarding one. The exceptions are near the five High Sierra Camps and in the Little Yosemite Valley area, where you must you camp at the designated campgrounds. Wilderness permit reservations are processed by lottery 24 weeks (168 days) in advance of the hiking start date from mid-November through October. From Clouds Rest's airy and cozy summit, the most undeniable natural feature is the Northwest Face, a stunning 5000-foot drop into Tenaya Canyon. Yeah, neither do we, but it keeps the lights on. A good planning process will enhance your understanding of the park and your safety. Some especially popular areas have additional application procedures: Once you know where you want to begin your hike from, use the trailheads map [1.5 MB PDF] to determine the name of your trailhead. 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