Cathedral Lakes Trailhead

A dual pointed peak rises above a surrounding forest near a lake. Puffy clouds fill the sky.

Quick Facts

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Spend a day at this glistening lake that reflects its grand backdrop, the Cathedral Peak.

The shimmering waters of Cathedral Lakes rest below Cathedral Peak, named by the California Geological Survey (CGS) in 1863.

The trail climbs steadily to Upper Cathedral Lake. Near the top of the climb, it passes a spur trail to Lower Cathedral Lake (0.5 mile to lake). The return hike follows the same route. This is one of the busiest trails in the Tuolumne Meadows area. Since parking at the trailhead is limited, consider taking the shuttle bus.

Cathedral Lakes (moderately strenuous)
7 miles (11.3 km) round-trip; 4-6 hours
1,000 ft (305 m) elevation gain

Other hiking destinations accessible from this trailhead include Sunrise High Sierra Camp and Yosemite Valley.

For hiking and trail information, please visit a wilderness center or visitor center.

Accessible only while Tioga Road is open to vehicles, from late May or early June to sometime in November.

Getting Here:
Begin at Cathedral Lakes trailhead, a half mile west of the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center.

Rules & Regulations:
Stay on established trails
Pets are not allowed on hiking trails
Pack out what you pack in
Overnight backpackers need a wilderness permit, which can be obtained at the Yosemite Valley Wilderness Center.
Bear canisters are required for wilderness food storage for overnight hikers.
Bears and other wildlife can be present on trails at any time of the day or night. Feeding and approaching wildlife is dangerous and illegal! Be sure to properly store your food.
Tioga Road closes after the first significant snowfall. Overnight parking on this road ends October 15. For current road and weather information, please call 209/372-0200.

Hazards & Warnings:
Carry (and drink) plenty of water: a leading cause of injuries on the trail is dehydration. Be sure to treat river, stream, lake, or spring water.
Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them, and wear sturdy footwear with good traction.
Be prepared for sudden changes in weather and conditions.

This trail is not accessible.

Yosemite National Park

Last updated: November 7, 2021