Clouds Rest via Yosemite Valley

The second of three posts in a series of outings in Yosemite Valley is a trip to a favorite viewpoint, Clouds Rest. At 9,926 ft, Clouds Rest is not nearly the tallest mountain in Yosemite, but its close proximity and unobstructed perch above Yosemite Valley and Tenaya Canyon provides a spectacular viewpoint. The mountain is a colossal granite formation with striking prominence and a unique vantage of both the high country around Tuolumne Meadows and Yosemite Valley. In a 360 degree panorama, one can gaze over to Half Dome, the Clark Range, Tenaya Lake, and the Cathedral Range (including Mount Lyell, the highest point in Yosemite National Park). 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:

  • Via the Sunrise Lakes Trailhead (~8,160 ft) along Tioga Road: A 12+ mile roundtrip hike with ~2,500 ft of elevation gain
  • 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 close views of Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls. As one ascends beyond the falls there are great views beneath the towering cliffs of Half Dome. Higher up, there are several spectacular vistas along the ridge to the summit. Clouds Rest via Yosemite Valley is a great route and worth the extra efforts in my opinion. Here are some photos from this trip to Clouds Rest from the Valley. Strava route here.

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2 thoughts on “Clouds Rest via Yosemite Valley

  1. Very nice photos, Leor. Clouds Rest is also one of my favorite Yosemite views. Another favorite is the view from the top of the Cockscomb, which is visible to the right of the Echo Peaks in the last of your photos. From there you can see how the Tuolumne ice field overflowed into the Merced basin through the lower passes in the Cathedral Range, swelling the Merced Glacier and particularly the Tenaya Glacier, and so carving Yosemite Valley deeper and wider than it might otherwise have been without the extra ice. It is an interesting aspect in the formation of Yosemite’s features of which even many geologists are unaware.

  2. Pingback: 2013 Adventure Recap | Leor Pantilat's Adventures

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