Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
3,608.00 ft (1,099.72 m)
Trail type
13.50 mi (21.73 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Clouds Rest trail is a 13.5-mile round trip trek that leads to one of Yosemite's most spectacular panoramic views. Off of Tioga Pass Road in Yosemite National Park, this trail is considered strenuous and is suitable for hikers, trail runners, and backpackers who are comfortable with long, steep climbs. 

Starting from the Sunrise Trailhead, the trail is well maintained and relatively easy to follow. It begins in a pine forest with a river crossing less than a mile into the journey. It's always a good idea to check the conditions in advance with the backcountry office or ranger station as the water level can vary depending on the season and the year. 

The trail remains fairly level for about a mile and a half before ascending steeply. On the way up, you will encounter two forks in the road. You should stay to your right at both. 

The final stretch to Clouds Rest is a hair-raising narrow ridge. While no special skills or gear are required for this hike, visitors are advised to take this final section slowly and approach it with caution. You will be rewarded for your efforts with some of the most spectacular views overlooking Yosemite Valley and beyond (including views of Half Dome). Return to the beginning by retracing your steps. 

Clouds Rest does not require a permit for day hiking and is a great alternative for those who were unable to get permits for Half Dome and are still looking for a challenging hike with incredible views and a spine tingling climb. The terrain along the trail is not particularly challenging but overall it is a long and strenuous day and water is limited. Make sure to carry enough to sustain you throughout the day. 

Always check the current conditions before heading out on any hike. For information about Yosemite weather please visit


Yosemite National Park is located off of Tioga Pass Road which usually remains open June-November. Information about Tioga Pass Road can be found here


The trailhead is located off Tioga Road, at the west end of Tenaya Lake. A National Park Pass is required to enter the park. There is a small parking lot at the trailhead that is often full, especially on holidays and weekends. Parking is also available along the shoulder of the road. 

The aptly named Sunrise Trailhead is a great place to catch the sunrise before taking off on your journey. Amenities at the trailhead include: Animal-safe food storage, bathrooms, and garbage cans.  For more information please visit

Yosemite National Park charges a fee for vehicles as well as people entering on foot or bicycle. For more information about fees and passes please visit

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

National Park Pass

Open Year-round


Open from

May 15 to November 01


Panoramic views. Rewarding Climb.


May have crowds. Lack of water.

Trailhead Elevation

8,184.00 ft (2,494.48 m)

Highest point

9,926.00 ft (3,025.44 m)


Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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