Range, Yosemite Valley, Half Dome and more. A bit further on there’s a small plateauand another junction, this time a trail to Merced Lakes. The completely still water reflects the sky and surrounding pine trees, and makes a good spot for a brief stop. From Sunrise Lakes, we retraced our steps back to the trail junction with all the signs. There are two ways to get to the summit of Clouds Rest: A 7.2-mile hike from Tioga Pass Road via the Sunrise Lakes Trailhead or a 9.4-mile hike from Happy Isles by way of Little Yosemite Valley. Saturday 9/8/18 (3.5 miles, 1132 feet gain):Â Man did we feel lucky by the clear skies and warm weather predicted in Yosemite.Â Hard to tell, initially, as we left home at 4:30am in total darkness.Â With this departure time, we made it to the Big Oak Flat Ranger station at 8:00am to pick up our permits.Â For those who don’t know, permits are required to camp in the back Country of Yosemite.Â Despite our being there at 8:00am, we were still #3 in line with others before us hoping to score available permits that day.Â While understandable, I was terribly disappointed to learn Yosemite has a current ban on all camp fires.Â It seems the 10 recent lightening strike fires are keeping them plenty busy.Â Guess I brought the marshmellows for nothing.Â We were back on the road around 8:30am and ready to roll at the Sunrise Lake Trailhead (near Tenaya Lake) at 9:30am. I can see why Yosemite draws such big crowds and I’ve enjoyed my hike, but I’d avoid June-August in future and visit when there’s a few less people around! The Sunrise Lakes trailhead is one of the busiest in the Tuolumne area because it’s the shortest way to Clouds Rest, and close to the shore of Tenaya Lake, a popular stopping point on Highway 120. Sunrise Trailhead: 8151' Clouds Rest summit: 9931' Seasons: Some people camp at Sunrise lakes, which isn't super far from Tenaya lakes. Clouds Rest is a large granite peak within Yosemite National Park. Next hike to the bottom Cloud's Rest (get water on the way), and find a camping spot. The path descends gradually through tall pine forest, soon meeting again wth the main trail that makes its way to Half Dome (my intended next destination) and then onto Yosemite Valley. This is Yosemite glacial geology at its finest. DIFFICULT 24.1 mi. The Forsyth Trail descended sharply for the first half mile, winding down a granite staircase through stands of wildflowers. Although you can make the ridge appear somewhat dramatic with the right camera angle, it’s not knife-edged and there’s absolutely no exposure. From here I can make out the cables going almost impossibly and vertically straight up the granite monolith. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Trailhead to Summit Lake #2 & Lunch. There’s no path or signage from here – but none is needed. Nearby Hiking Trails. The trail to Sunrise Lakes is around 3.5 miles.Â At this time of year, there was no water between the trailhead and the Lake.Â The trail is well groomed, initially rather flat with only slight undulations, and consists of fairly soft footings.Â There are brief moments where the trail turns rocky, but never are the rocks loose, and there is plenty of shade.Â At about 1.5 miles, the ascent begins and with its gain of about 1000 feet inÂ a mile, it is a heart pumping climb.Â This terrain becomes steps of various sorts with travel along switchbacks to ease some of the pain.Â When the heart starts pumping, and the lungs start burning, stop and take a look behind you as the views of Tenaya Canyon and the opposite Mountain range begin to come into view.Â All well worth the effort.Â During one of these rests, I was lucky enough to watch a tiny ground squirrel jump up on a rock, stand on his hind feet, grab hold of the top of a small grain weed, pull it towards him and eat the tiny little morsels; Very cute.Â Carrying a 40 lb pack, I was starting to feel it just as the ridge line came into view…… Yes!Â As you reach the top, you will most likely find many who went before you resting.Â Drop your packs, drink some water and grab a snack.Â Hold the snacks tightly, though, because the ground squirrels have grown quite accustomed to eating up thereÂ …… They areÂ cute, but bold. 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