Cathedral Lakes Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"The hike to the two Cathedral Lakes is probably the most popular of any in the Tuolumne area (not counting the High Sierra Camp Loop) so wilderness permits are hard to come by, and the trail and lakeside show signs of overuse. Still, the setting of the lakes in the heart of the Cathedral Range is almost too picturesque to be real, and the distance from the Tioga Road is short. Cathedral Pass, above the upper lake, is a convenient route between Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows, and is part of the John Muir Trail. The bears consider these lakes their local supermarket, so keep your canister locked."
--Suzanne Swedo, Hiking Yosemite National Park (Falcon Guides).
"Cathedral Lakes are a popular hiking destination along the John Muir Trail in Tuolumne Meadows. Just about anyone with a little gumption can reach one or both of these alpine lakes, though the average person might be tired after the trek to both. The trail, frequented by horses and backpackers as well as day hikers, follows an even gradient. Most of its ups and downs are relatively gentle, and there are plenty of large trees, rocky dome spires, and even spots of lightning damage to look at."
--Allen Riedel, 100 Classic Hikes in Southern California (The Mountaineers Books).
"From the stately spires of Cathedral Peak cleaving the deep blue sky to the serene lakes in broad granite saucers, the lavish scenery on the Cathedral Lakes Trail is guaranteed to please even the most jaded hiker. The Cathedral Lakes Trail offers hikers a choice of scenic destinations. The Cathedral Lakes are an ideal destination for a day hike or a low-mileage backpack. Hikers looking for a longer trip may continue on to campsites at the Sunrise High Sierra Camp (HSC) and then complete their trip by making a semi-loop to Tenaya Lake. The summer shuttle bus will solve any transportation difficulties involved in starting and ending at different trailheads."
--Vicky Spring & Tom Kirkendall, 100 Hikes in California's Central Sierra & Coast Range (The Mountaineers Books).
"The Upper and Lower Cathedral Lakes are two alpine jewels glistening amidst the grandeur of their namesake mountain range. A 1,000-foot climb from Tuolumne Meadows, the gorgeous sister lakes sit regally in a classic glacial cirque. The hike begins in the shade of lodgepole pines and other neighboring conifers before opening up to more expansive views. The climb is never more than a moderate ascent, but it can still feel unrelenting on a hot day. Your reward is a cool dip in these picture-perfect lakes, two of the region’s finest, with striking views of the surrounding peaks. Outstanding features: Upper and lower Cathedral Lakes; stunning views of the Cathedral Range, including Cathedral Peak, as well as Echo and Tresidder peaks"
--Kathleen Dodge, Day & Section Hikes: John Muir Trail (Menasha Ridge Press).
"Cathedral Peak, a steep horn rising to the south of the meadow, is one of the icons of Tuolumne Meadows. A well-worn climber’s trail to the base of the peak allows hikers to ascend to the remarkably flat saddle just south of Cathedral Peak and stare at granite peaks in all directions. This pass is one of my favorite perches in the Cathedral Range."
--Elizabeth Wenk, 50 Best Short Hikes: Yosemite National Park and Vicinity (Wilderness Press).
Sign in/up to upload photos.