5 Day Cathedral Lakes to Clouds Rest & Half Dome

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Kick off your Yosemite backpacking experience with one of the most iconic sections of the John Muir Trail, weaving between majestic alpine lakes to the summits of Clouds Rest and Half Dome! Camp the first night at Cathedral Lakes amid the spirit of the true high country, then hike the JMT up and over Cathedral Pass with stunning views of alpine peaks along the way. Set up camp in the Sunrise Lakes area for Night 3, and from there, tackle the Clouds Rest summit (9,926’) for one of the most spectacular views of Yosemite Valley in the park! Your adventure culminates with the summit of Half Dome (8,836’) before returning to Yosemite Valley on the Mist Trail passing two spectacular waterfalls. This trip’s strenuous itinerary is well worth it! If you’re looking for an authentic Yosemite experience, this is the adventure for you! As the calendar is confusing, our 2022 dates are: 5/29 - 6/2 7/18 - 7/22 7/22 - 7/26 8/7 - 8/11 8/15 - 8/19 8/25 - 8/29 9/18 - 9/22 9/29 - 10/3

Itinerary Details

Operated by: Lasting Adventures

This is a typical itinerary for this product

Day 1 Day 1

Stop At: Yosemite Valley

Meet your guide in Half Dome Village at 3:00 PM. Get acquainted with the group and with gear. If time allows before dinner, walk to some of the Valley’s iconic destinations. Eat dinner at one of the park’s numerous restaurants. (Food in the front-country is not included.) Camp in the Yosemite Valley Backpacker’s Camp.

Duration: 9 hour

Day 2 Day 2

Stop At:

After grabbing breakfast in Curry Village, take the morning shuttle to the Cathedral Lakes Trailhead. Catch your first glimpse of the high country while hiking 3.2 moderate miles up to Lower Cathedral Lake (9,288′). Upon arrival, have lunch lakeside and set up camp with a stunning view, then spend the rest of the day exploring this iconic alpine lake area, with the option for another short hike up to Upper Cathedral Lake. We’ll return to camp this evening and enjoy a delicious hot meal and tea before bedding down beneath the stars. Also at this location: swimming, relaxing, and taking in an amazing sunset. Today’s mileage: 6 mi / +800-1,000′, -800-1,000′; Camp Location: Lower Cathedral Lake.

Duration: 24 hour

Day 3 Day 3

Stop At: Sunrise Lakes

Hike the JMT up and over Cathedral Pass (9,700) for some of the trips most spectacular views, passing Matthes Crest, Tressider Peak, Echo Peaks, and Columbia Finger on the way to Sunrise Lakes. Find your reward for a full day of hiking at the top with a relaxing evening at camp beside Sunrise Lake, complete with a spectacular alpenglow sunset. Today’s mileage: 7 mi / +666′, -500′; Camp Location: Sunrise Lakes.

Duration: 24 hour

Day 4 Day 4

Stop At: Cloud's Rest

After a hearty breakfast, hike approximately 3.5 miles to the summit of Clouds Rest at 9,926′. Enjoy lunch at the top while soaking in one of Yosemite’s most renowned panoramic views. From the summit, hike down 5 miles to Sunrise Creek for the final night of camping. Today’s mileage: 7.3 mi / +800′, -2,800′; Camp Location: Sunrise Creek/John Muir Trail Junction.

Duration: 24 hour

Day 5 Day 5

Stop At: Half Dome

Wake early and hike 2.5 miles to top of Half Dome at 8,836′ (carrying only lightweight daypacks). Take in the views and descend the 2.5 miles back to camp before hiking out another 5.5 miles to Yosemite Valley via the Mist Trail. En route, experience two of the park’s most spectacular waterfalls. Our goal is typically to be finished between 2:00 and 3:00 PM if not sooner.

Duration: 15 hour
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