Close. For the excitement factor, Half Dome wins in the sense that it has the cables and - love them or hate them - they certainly get everyone’s heartbeat going. With an elevation over 1000 higher than Half Dome and massive bare walls that slope thousands of feet down into Tenaya Canyon, Clouds Rest is an impressive peak that can be seen from all over the park, including Tunnel View and Olmsted Point. We did choose the path to the left on the way there as that was what we were advised but on the way back we went straight down the middle and it wasn’t difficult at all. Enjoy the views of Half Dome and the Valley from the top of Cloud’s Rest before heading back down. Despite an elevation change of 2,700 feet, the biggest challenge on the hike was the extra weight in water we had to carry. Be wary of the 1,000 ft drops on either side as you make your way across. On Half Dome you only need to look at our pictures to see the crowds that flock to this iconic track. Unauthorized public or commercial use of any of the images or text on this website without explicit permission is strictly forbidden. Early on in the hike, there are some watery obstacles. In terms of difficulty, Half Dome is much harder and chances are if you start the Clouds Rest hike you will finish it. It was doable and boy was that view worth it! Along the way you will get 360 degree views of never ending granite, hike through high elevation forests, and cool off as you pass the Merced River on the Mist Trail. The plan was to hike about 6.5 miles to the Clouds Rest Junction, camp there for the night and climb Half Dome early next morning. After a stiff climb you’ll reach the top of the hump and start descending. We got less breathless from this point on which was a welcome relief! It is actually not that bad as it looks. This is Yosemite glacial geology at its finest. The next year we went back, and hiked up Cloud's Rest from the trailhead at the west end of Tenaya Lake.The top is really fun---s sort of easy scramble on big pillow-sized boulders. It is more varied, with more to see for most of the hike. The car park here is pretty small and you will inevitably have to park on the road unless you arrive early. Reusable water bottle: To avoid single-use plastic. The hardest part at the summit is making the effort and deciding it’s probably time to make the long hike back! Check for sunscreen on Amazon or REI, Day Pack: Osprey Talon 22 (we’ve owned this for years). On the way back, take the 0.3-mile detour to Indian Arch. Distance: 14.5 miles (23.3 km) round trip Trailhead Elevation: 8,150 feet (2,450 meters) Elevation Gain: 1,775 feet (540 meters) Marcus and I took on the hard way of hiking Clouds rest in our attempt to get to the top. Miles: 12.5 miles round trip; Trip length: 10-12 hours; Difficulty: Strenuous; Altitude: 9,926 feet. However, thankfully it was nothing like that! If you plan to take on one of Yosemite’s big hikes, chances are you have Half Dome or Clouds Rest on your list. After that it steepens again - but never close to the first climb - and you’ll see the trees begin to thin out and realise that you’re not so far away from the top now! 1. A word of caution on the path to the left, initially we thought they meant the actual trail to the left by the start of the rocky ridge but this takes you back down to Yosemite Valley! We did this in September and snow had began to settle already, so having gear for cold conditions is highly recommended. It won’t take you more than 5 min to get along the spine and reach the very top. Freeze-thaw conditions (max 5°C on Sun morning, min -3°C on Mon night). Be very careful where you choose as people drive incredibly fast round the corner here, so try to pick somewhere along the straighter part of the road! All Rights Reserved. The elevation definitely plays a factor in difficulty and helps keep away the crowds. I am afraid of heights. In all directions we were in awe, and never felt any fear. 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. However, from everyone we’ve spoken to, and pictures we’ve seen, the Clouds Rest hike has a much better view from the summit. How hard is the clouds rest hike? Few peak-bagging efforts begin with a photographing frenzy, but this 6-mile hike to Clouds Rest starts right off with can't miss photo-ops. Get an early start and drive the Tioga Road to the Sunrise Lakes Trailhead in the dark, trying to arrive before sunrise. Otherwise it's a mostly downhill return hike to Sunrise Trailhead. But anyway I digress. It's the worthwhile destination of this hike, but the entire day is spectacular. There’s nothing technical or scary about Clouds Rest, so you will definitely have the gratification of making it to the summit. The final half-mile stretch to the summit is simply spectacular as you ascend a narrow ridgeline of granite slabs with tall drops on both sides. 4 min read. Winds increasing (calm on Sun afternoon, fresh winds from the WSW by Mon night). It’s a windy road though so it will probably take at least 1 hour 15 to get to. The ridge is wide, has a lot of grip and is actually the kind of section of trail we love! Clouds Rest has a thin peak formed as the result of erosion with the height of 9,926 feet (3,025 m). We begin our trek along the shores of beautiful Tenaya Lake at an already high elevation of 8149 feet. (Days 3-6): Mostly dry. Time of year open to the public: May be inaccessible in the winter The earlier the time of year, the more snowpack there will be along the trail. It isn’t Everest and you can overcome this once you get used to it, but it is probably the main reason why most people believe this is a really hard hike (if it wasn’t for the altitude it would probably be on the moderate side). When you flatten out, you will be on rolling ups and downs for the next mile and a half. Depending on the Seirra snowpack, snow and Ice will still remain along some parts of the trail. Clouds Rest Trail from Yosemite Valley is a 20.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Yosemite Valley, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. It was beginning to sound like the Half Dome Cables and more than a little intimidating. You will feel the strain on the trail is rewarded at the end. 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. The trails passes through meadows and forests, but expect to tackle very rocky, ankle-snapping sections of trail. :-). Video and Turn by Turn Directions for the Clouds Rest Hike; Parking and Trailhead for Clouds Rest; Gear Recommendations and What to Expect on the Hike; Clouds Rest Trail Maps; Total Distance: 12.5 miles (20.1 km) Hike Time: 6-8 Hours (Total) Difficulty : Hard: Total Ascent : 3,260 feet (994m) Highest Elevation: 9,926 feet (3025m) Fees & Permits: Park Entry Fee Sunrise Trailhead: 8151' Clouds Rest summit: 9931' Seasons: This is an awesome hike. If you prefer a quieter hike with a truly spectacular summit - or don’t want to take on the somewhat dangerous cables - then go for Clouds Rest. The Clouds Rest summit offers outstanding views, looking down on Half Dome - a place which is over 8839ft tall, Clouds Rest is over 1000ft taller It’s the perfect place to have lunch and explore. People die on this hike. The Sunrise Trailhead is located along Tioga Road, roughly 1.4 miles east of Olmsted Point at the south end of Tenaya Lake. Clouds Rest hike - a complete guide on what to expect, The 16 Best Hikes in Yosemite (and yes we did them all! Of heights, snow and ice in patches but these were fairly easily avoided prominently to the east and! Our guide to camping in Yosemite going to hike El Capitan, which may not seem high! Parking here '' signs lot on the altitude on the trail the opportunity to get to reasons. Of flat walking before the hike was the snow ours aren ’ t take you about! Of any of the rock faces pushes with a 400-ft descent in between, especially when hiking to hike... This iconic track you done both and have 360 views of Half Dome first climb ) before you a! A flat, 1.6-mile warm-up to the car park at Tenaya Lake, beautiful... Use of any of the summit ridgeline is a competitive field! ): and are doing it under right. 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