Sunset Lakes to Cloud’s Rest, Yosemite National Park

Skill level

Normal-Difficult

Activities

Hike, Camp, Swim (optional)

Length

Overnight or day hike: 3-5 hours direct to Cloud’s Rest or 6-7 if you stop at Sunrise Lakes

What to expect

  • Steep initial climb
  • 13.2 miles from Tenaya Lake to Cloud’s Rest (additional 2.5 miles with Sunrise Lakes loop)
  • Amazing views at the top
  • Day hike or overnight with permit

Starting Point: Toiga Road

The fastest way to hike Cloud’s Rest starts from the Sunrise Lakes trailhead on Tioga Road near Tenaya Lake on the southwest end and 7 miles west of Tuolumne Meadows.

We headed down on Friday night and stayed the night in Tuolumne Meadows. We got out pretty early on Saturday morning to avoid getting caught in crowds and parked at the trailhead around 7:30am.  There should be parking here on both sides of the road but it gets pretty crowded on weekends. Given we were staying overnight up on Cloud’s Rest, we left a note on the car that said “hiking for the night” just in case.

First part of our hike was about 2.7 miles, which actually is the most strenuous part of the hike with steep switchbacks up to the Sunrise Lakes and Cloud’s Rest juncture.

Once you get to the top of the steep hike up, you will see a juncture with signs to a few different paths to Clouds Rest, Yosemite Valley, and Sunrise Lakes.

If you want to go straight up to Cloud’s Rest then continue straight and it is about 4.7 more miles to the top. However, if you if you are staying the night or there at an early hour (before noonish), we would definetly recommend taking a detour to Sunrise lakes. From the juncture, it is about a 0.5 mile to first lake and the other two are each spaced another half mile apart afterwards.

The first and third lakes are right on the trail, but the second lake will be off to your left, about a hundred meters off the trail.

Sunrise Lakes

We walked past two of the beautiful lakes and decided to head straight to the third lake. It was the perfect halfway point for a stop to relax, swim, eat and quick snooze. We probably spent two hours there.

Cloud's Rest

We left Sunrise Lakes at about 2 or 3pm and headed back to the sign juncture to continue on the Cloud’s Rest path. This is actually the easiest part of the hike and only the end is a bit steep but not nearly as much of a sweat as the first part of the hike with the switchbacks.

About half a mile from the top on the right, you will see this beautiful view. Be sure not to miss it!

After incredible views on both sides going up, we arrived at the top at about 5:30pm.

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Once we got to the base, we decided to drop our packs to walk the remaining few hundred yards to the top and check it out.

Honestly, we think this might be the best view in the Yosemite. You can’t beat it at sunset!! You can enjoy the spectacular views of Half Dome, Tenaya Canyon and surrounding mountains.

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We set up camp at the edge of the peak, which is not as scary as it looks especially after some whisky courage.

We didn’t have that much wind and felt safe in the tent. We had about 4 other folks camping out on the top but everyone is spread out.

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The next morning we headed back the same way we came at about 8am.

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