Clouds Rest via Yosemite Valley

Clouds Rest is a colossal granite formation with striking prominence. At 9,926 ft, it is not nearly the tallest mountain in Yosemite, but it’s close proximity and unobstructed perch above Yosemite Valley provides spectacular views and a unique vantage of both the high country and the valley. In a 360 degree panorama, one can gaze over to Half Dome, the Clark Range, Tuolumne Meadows. The most impressive feature of Clouds Rest is its northwest face, an immense granite slab polished by glaciers and descending 5,000 ft below to the base of Tenaya Canyon. One can gain the summit of Clouds Rest by two trail routes:

  1. Via the Sunrise Lakes Trailhead (~8,160 ft) along Tioga Road: A 14.5 roundtrip hike; ~2,000 ft of elevation gain
  2. Via Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley (4,105 ft): 20 miles roundtrip; 6,000+ ft elevation gain.
While the route from Yosemite Valley entails more mileage and much more elevation gain, it is more aesthetic, including the iconic Mist Trail with passage next to Vernal and Nevada Falls. As one ascends beyond the falls there are great views beneath the towering cliffs of Half Dome and higher up, there are several spectacular vistas along the ridge to the summit. I have hiked up Clouds Rest previously via Tioga Rd, but this was my first time via Yosemite Valley and it’s a great route and worth the extra efforts. Here are some photos from this trip to Clouds Rest from the Valley. Many more photos here and here.

Many more photos here and here.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Josh says:

    Nice work. I did this same trip last October, in the snow unfortunately. It’s a good one.

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