Clouds Rest Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"Although Clouds Rest is higher than Half Dome, it is easier and safer to climb, and it provides far better views of the park than does popular, often overcrowded Half Dome. Except for its last 300 yards, the Clouds Rest Trail lacks the terrifying, potentially lethal drop-offs found along Half Dome’s shoulder and back side, thereby making it a good trail for acrophobic photographers. If you’re an avid photographer, you’ll want to start this trek at the crack of dawn in order to reach this summit before shadows become poor for photography. All hikers should strive to reach this summit by noon or thereabouts, for lightning storms are a real possibility in the mid-to-late afternoon."
--Jeffrey P. Schaffer, Top Trails Yosemite (Wilderness Press).
"A gargantuan presence looming in the background of countless Yosemite Valley views, Clouds Rest is both the highest point on the valley rim and the largest continuous rock slope in the Sierra Nevada. Its 9, 926-foot summit provides sublime vistas in all directions, especially down."
--Barry Parr, Hiking The Sierra Nevada (Falcon Guides).
"A one-of-a-kind peak and summit: a cross between a Tuolumne dome and a high-country mountain. This hike bridges the abyss between Tuolumne Meadows and Yosemite Valley, with this summit as its centerpiece. This is a classic mountain traverse, with the bonus of a view down onto the summit of Half Dome from a thousand feet above. Clouds Rest is an overlooked classic. Although a thousand feet higher than Half Dome, it nonetheless hides in the background and is often overlooked by hikers and mountaineers. There are several ways to approach the climb of Clouds Rest, and four are described here. The most aesthetic adventure takes a one-way, 24-mile route from Tuolumne Meadows to Clouds Rest and down to Yosemite Valley. A shorter one-way option starts at Tenaya Lake and ends in Yosemite Valley. Both of these routes require a car shuttle, or use of the bus from Yosemite Valley to the start of the hike. You also have the options of a round-trip route to Clouds Rest from Yosemite Valley or a round-trip hike from Tenaya Lake."
--Jay Anderson, Climbing California's Mountains (Falcon Guides).
"This summit not only has the loftiest name of the mountains that overlook Yosemite Valley, but it also has the most commanding view over the grandeur that is Yosemite. Half Dome sits well below the apex of Clouds Rest, and the jaw-dropping 360degree view encapsulates some of the finest vistas in the entire Sierra Nevada Range. Toward the trailhead, Tenaya Canyon adorns a tableau that resembles an ethereal painting more than reality. One might expect to see the colossal hand of god reaching down to create brushstrokes when staring into the east toward the canyon, the high Tuoloumne area, and Tenaya Lake."
--Allen Riedel, 100 Classic Hikes in Southern California (The Mountaineers Books).
"The narrow summit of Clouds Rest is the best seat in the house for enjoying the drama of Yosemite Valley and the country around it. From this vantage point, the star of the show, Half Dome, appears impossibly enormous as it thrusts its way up from the flat valley floor. The Sunrise Lakes trailhead at Tenaya Lake is the nearest and most direct route to Clouds Rest, but is still a hard workout as a day hike. Fortunately, you can spend the night near a tributary of Tenaya Creek about 4.5 miles from the start."
--Suzanne Swedo, Hiking Yosemite National Park (Falcon Guides).
"Most veteran Yosemite Park hikers consider the view from Clouds Rest to be the best in the park. What more needs to be said? This is a long trip, and many hikers prefer a backpack trip over a one-day marathon hike with a chance of thunderstorms rather than views at the end. No water is available on the dry ridge that leads to Clouds Rest. The closest water and comfortable campsites are located 3 miles below the summit, along a tributary of Tenaya Creek."
--Vicky Spring & Tom Kirkendall, 100 Hikes in California's Central Sierra & Coast Range (The Mountaineers Books).
"Let’s face it, Yosemite Valley is crazy. If the congestion there is too much for you, then you should be on the Tioga Road. And if you’re on the Tioga Road, you should be climbing Clouds Rest."
--Matt Heid, 101 Hikes in Northern California: Exploring Mountains, Valleys, and Seashore (Wilderness Press).
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