Cathedral Range

Cathedral Range, Yosemite National Park: Tickets, Tours, Address, Cathedral Range Reviews: 5/5

Cathedral Range
5
About
Hiking up this steep seven-kilometer ridge, it might occur to hikers that its name, Cathedral Range, derives either from the spectacular view if offers or from the fact that it feels like you’re scaling a cathedral.
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Tours and Tickets


5.0
13 reviews
Excellent
12
Very good
1
Average
0
Poor
0
Terrible
0

Linda D
Portland, ME2,534 contributions
Great views
May 2018 • Couples
Every area within Yosemite (except the narrow,hairpin turn roads) is fabulous.Cathedral Range is viewed from a distance and great photo op.
Written May 3, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

bagelsnob
198 contributions
Cathedral Lakes — Spectacular
Aug 2017
Granite meets glacial carved lakes. The scenery is astounding and the air fresh and clean. If you love jagged peaks, pristine glacial lakes and maybe the occasional bear sighting, this is the area for you.
Written December 22, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

koigirl31
Maryville, TN147 contributions
Beautiful lake, diverse trail.
Jul 2017 • Friends
This was an interesting trail switching between dry areas, wetland zones, and snowy areas. Watch out for the Mosquitoes, they are huge and numerous. The little pools at the stream close to the lake were so clear I wanted to stop and swim. Along the trail were numerous wildflowers, and springs. We picnicked at the lower lake on the smooth rock shore and the breeze coming off the water was cool and enjoyable. Once the breeze stopped the mosquitoes came out in force so be sure to pack the bug spray.
Written August 1, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

intelligentgirls
Bedfordshire, UK220 contributions
Strenuous, great when you get there
Jun 2016
Quite strenuous and hard work getting up there and worse down for bad knees BUT cathedral lake is stunning. The upper lake is also beautiful and different so probably only an extra 45 min return.
Written July 17, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

sc120
Phila, PA155 contributions
Almost missed the upper lake
Jul 2015 • Solo
The hike to the lower lake was nice. There were more bugs than on any other trail I was on. After that, I took the other fork to the upper lake but had a hard time finding it. I knew it was only 0.5 miles from the split but no real trail to the lake, I believe due to restoration. It wasn't too crowded and at the end I had hail and freezing rain (in July) so expect anything.
Written August 2, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

André
Berlin, Germany58 contributions
Wonderful place for hiking
Sep 2014 • Friends
Backpacking is recommended. You can get farther, it's less crouded, and you are surrounded by beautiful mountains and can witness wonderful sunsets and sunrises. Spending the night near Lower or Upper Cathedral Lake is both fine.
Written January 10, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

JRinGeorgia
Atlanta area1,370 contributions
great...but don't just go to Lower Cathedral Lake
Jul 2013 • Solo
How to rate this hike depends a lot on exactly what parts of this trail you want to cover. It seems other reviewers are only considering the hike from Tuolumne Meadows to Lower Cathedral Lake and back, but there's a lot more to see than that.

To start, you leave out from Tuolumne Meadows south on the John Muir Trail. The first two miles or so of the trail are steadily uphill and heavily forested, so no views. Eventually you will start to see the north tip of Cathedral Peak come into view over the trees. After ascending about 1,000 feet the trail gradually levels off, and you begin to wind around the western flank of Cathedral Peak -- still forested, so no views off to the north, west or south, with Cathedral Peak to your east is a bit more visible through the thinning trees.

At about 3 miles you will come to a fork in the trail. To the right will take you to Lower Cathedral Lake, so let me describe that. From the fork you will descend, still forested, a few hundred feet. At this point you have had very little in the way of views except for looking up at Cathedral Peak. But as you emerge from the forest into the meadow at Lower Cathedral Lake the payoff is delivered.

Stick to the trench-like trail to preserve the meadow. You will soon come to Lower Cathedral Lake, which is a wrapped in a beautiful granite bowl on the north and east sides. Wander around the lake, be sure to go all the way to the west end to look down on Tenaya Lake. From the fork back up on the main trail it is perhaps a half-mile to the lake, or 3.5 from the start at Tuolumne Meadows, and then depending how much you want to explore around the lake. For a day hike, many people come to Lower Cathedral Lake and then return for about 7 miles total. I would rate that hike about 4 out of 5, great views at the end but no views for the majority of the hike.

Back up at that fork in the trail, coming from Tuolumne Meadows if you had gone left instead of down to the Lower lake, you would continue south on the JMT. I highly, highly, highly recommend you do so. From this point if you continue on, the views are non-stop and the trail relatively flat, so a great and relatively easy hike, raising my rating out of five stars to about a 12.

Continuing from the fork, Upper Cathedral Lake is about another half-mile. The main trail to the lake was closed (July 2013) for meadow restoration, but there are ways to get to get around the back side of the lake if you want. Continuing south on the JMT the forest thins out and gives way to a huge, gorgeous meadow. From here you have wide open views of Cathedral Peak, Echo Peaks, Matthes Crest, Tresidder Peak and eventually Columbia Finger. The trail follows the meadow for perhaps a half-mile to a mile and then starts to ascend under Columbia Finger, until reaching the Cathedral Pass at the far end of the meadow at about 10,000 feet. From here you can see the Cathedral Range, the mountains to the north of Tuolumne Meadows way off in the distance, and turn around to see the Clark Range to the South, a span of 30+ miles. Incredible views. From Tuolumne Meadows to this spot is about 5 miles or 10 miles roundtrip, if you detoured to Lower Cathedral Lake and back add another mile.

But if you are going to put in that many miles, I'd suggest you start at Tuolumne Meadows, come up through the Cathedral Pass, then continue south on the JMT down to Sunrise High Sierra Camp, take the Sunrise Trail through the Sunrise Lakes area, and end the trip at Tenaya Lake. About 13 miles total but you won't be doubling back so the scenery will be constantly fresh. The park runs a shuttle bus seasonally up and down Tioga Rd, so if you plan well you can do this and get back to your car no worries.

Be sure to cover up from the sun and bring plenty of water, your hike starts around 8500 feet and goes up from there to as much as 10,000 feet depending exactly where you go. There is water at a few spots along the trail (most notably the lakes themselves), but only drink this If you filter it first.
Written September 21, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

LesJ831
Madera, CA48 contributions
Worth the hike!
The views are spectacular! The lake is everything you would want in a high altitude lake. The trail was a good gain in elevation but definately worth while.
Written August 23, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

David W
Bishop, CA12 contributions
Cathedral range hikes
Dec 2011
The Cathedral range is the prototypical High Sierra granite range with spectacular views. Cathedral lake is one of my favorite day hike destinations with granite slabs sloping into the lake and fantastic views up to Cathedral Spire and down to Tenya lake. The terrain in this region is great for off-trail hiking and exploration. Take a walk to the top of a dome to experience the beauty and freedom of wondering off on your own.
Written May 25, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

L1NK
SF Bay Area32 contributions
Gorgeous area. Worth the hike!
The Cathedral Range is heavily impacted with hikers, climbers and backpackers. Very popular. With good reason. Easy hike to get right up into it from Tioga Road in Tuolumne Meadows. I suggest day hiking when possible to minimize your impact on this lovely area. Can be incredibly buggy.
Written January 3, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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