Cathedral Lake Trail

Cathedral Lake Trail, Yosemite National Park: Address, Cathedral Lake Trail Reviews: 4.5/5

Cathedral Lake Trail
4.5

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4.5
26 reviews
Excellent
12
Very good
12
Average
1
Poor
1
Terrible
0

ogol17
Joshua Tree, CA750 contributions
Hard but rewarding
Jun 2021 • Solo
The climb to the lakes is long and pretty steep, but the forest is nice to walk in. Both lakes are beautiful, though I found the upper one to be more secluded and special. A walk around the lower lake is recommended.
Written June 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

JPatti1
Chicago, IL123 contributions
So-so hike to a spectacular mountain lake
Jul 2020
The hike is a tedious average upward sloping hike through the woods (though pretty woods) and so it is the destination that makes this a five star hike. The first lake in particular is a beauty, almost rivaling Lake Solitude in the Tetons. Definitely walk to the far side of the lake to get the view, including over Tenaya Lake, and plan on a picnic on the rock on the front shore.

Note that this area can have clouds and rain (and even sleet and hail) when the lower parts of the park are sunny and dry. In late July, we were hailed upon during our return hike and then (thankfully after arriving at the car) it starting hailing buckets and felt like a winter storm had ridden in on the winds. Be prepared and check the weather carefully.
Written July 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Katie Hinkle
2 contributions
Drank from what looked like a natural spring, can’t find any info on if it actually was or not.
Jun 2020 • Friends
Trail was awesome! Found what looked to be a fresh water spring like fern spring along the hike. Drank a whole water bottle full. Now I’m worried that it wasn’t what I thought. I can’t seem to find any info about the spring. The water came right out of the ground and was bubbling through sediment. When compared to water from fern spring later there was a clear different, I don’t know if that should warrant concern though.
Written June 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Backpacker
San Luis Obispo, CA775 contributions
Didn't like Lower Cathedral Lakes, but did like Upper Cathedral Lakes!
Sep 2019
Didn't like Lower Cathedral Lakes, but did like Upper Cathedral Lakes! Less people, and more foliage. Upper Cathedral Lakes really is beautiful!
Written January 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Darcy M
34 contributions
Beautiful
Sep 2018 • Couples
This trail felt longer than I thought it would be but the ending of it is worth it. The Lake and surrounding area is beautiful and absolutely peaceful. I would highly recommend it. If you walk around the lake (on the right side) you can get a great view of Lake Tenaya (at least in September when the waters are low)
Written October 2, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

pingaroo
Chicago, IL2,190 contributions
Beautiful lakes but boring trail and too many mosquitos
Jun 2018 • Couples
Cathedral Lakes Trail is 7 mi /11.3 km roundtrip with an elevation change of 1000 ft/300 m with a 1 mi/1.6 km roundtrip spur trail to the Lower Cathedral Lake. The trail is like a staircase: the first 0.8 mi ascends 600 ft, the next 0.7 mi is level, the next 0.6 mi ascends 600 ft, the last 0.7 mi before the junction descends 100 ft. At he junction, the 0.5 mi to the lower lake descends a further 100 ft while the 0.7 mi to the upper lake ascends 200 ft. Trail condition is mixed gravel/granite and contains some roots as the trail mostly winds through the forest. There are small meadows around the lakes with good views of the Cathedral Range. There is only road-side parking at the trailhead on Tioga Road.

My husband and I started this trail around 4pm on a Sunday in June. Since most people were finishing their hike, we found a parking spot easily. We brought 4L of water for 2 people, which was sufficient on a 90 deg F/32 deg C day. The trail was not crowded as we encountered about 30 people. We found the trail boring because there isn't much view until you reach the lakes. Due to the snow melt, the meadows around the lakes were full of bugs and mosquitoes so you couldn't fully appreciate the views. We wanted to enjoy the beautiful view of Cathedral Peak by the lower lake but would have been eaten alive by the hungry insects. Although we applied bug spray, we still received a couple bites.

This hike was not challenging by Yosemite standards. However, if you're not acclimatized to the High Sierra elevation (8500 - 9500 ft on this trail), you will tire easily. Since we live near sea level, we started with the moderately-strenuous hikes such as Cathedral Lakes on the first day (ideally, you should plan for a acclimatizing day but who has time for that). Although we're fit and avid hikers, we felt the altitude on this hike and finished the hike in 4 hours.
Written July 11, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

EdiBa683
Switzerland1,226 contributions
Challenging hike to picturesque lake
Sep 2017 • Friends
The start to this trail is near Tuolume Meadows. There are parking lots along the street to Tioga Pass. The hike to the Cathedral Lake in the High Sierra was quite challenging the end of September but great. The trail climbs up steadily and the first snow and ice on the trail made it more difficult because it was slippery. As long as you walk carefully and look were you step, it’s now problem. What you expect in the end is amazing. . The breathtaking view at the Lower Cathedral Lake was unbelievable. It was a great spot for a lunch break. The challenging 7 to 8 miles hike was it well worth and you won’t meet lots of guys on this trail. To go back you have to walk the same way. That was much easier because the ice had melted. For this hike you need sturdy shoes and clothes for warm and cold weather condition. It’s a beautiful hike but don’t walk alone.
Written December 26, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

JohnAnnColumbia_MD
Columbia, MD1,695 contributions
Have lunch & enjoy the view!
Sep 2017 • Couples
We did this hike on a nice sunny Thurs., 9/14/17. After the drive from El Portal and stops at Olmstead Point and the Tuolumne Visitors Center we parked off the shoulder of Tioga Road near the port-a-pots by the trail head at about 1030. There are a lot of places to park along the road. The trail here is part of the John Muir Trail passing through Yosemite and is popular with backpackers which you see frequently on the trail. Traffic here is considerably less than on the trails near Yosemite Valley. It was a bit more of a climb than we anticipated. It’s a 1,560’ gain for the first 2.1 mi. to the lakes and a 270’ walk downhill to the lower lake. The tail vanishes as you walk out onto the marshy meadow which precedes the shore of the lower lake. Somewhat near the left center of the meadow there is a narrow spot in the creek which allows you to cross by stepping on some shaky stones. Hiking poles are helpful here. We were back to our car by 3:30 pm taking 5 hr.s to do the 7 mi. hike, have a ½ hr. lunch and take photos.
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Written October 28, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Allan T
Pittsburgh, PA66 contributions
Beautiful vistas
Oct 2017 • Couples
Nice hike from 8000-9600 feet, approx 2 hours each way, cathedral lake is pretty, the hike is most difficult for the first one mile then gets easier
Written October 18, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Wanderdogs
Palo Alto, CA823 contributions
Nice hike if you go all the way to the lake
Sep 2017 • Couples
This is a fairly long hike to get to this lake. For me, if i wanted to do a day hike in Tuolumne meadows, I would just hike up and back on the john muir trail up the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River - pretty views, no climbing, can sit with your feet in the stream and watch the clouds pass over the neighboring peaks - or go up Lembert Dome - the views from up there are very nice. For nearly all of this hike, until the last half mile, the views aren't as spectacular as elsewhere, and it is a fair bit of climbing in the woods. Still, if you do get to the lake, it is very pretty up there.
Written September 21, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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