We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Cathedral Lakes, Yosemite NP

Worship the great outdoors from the heart of Yosemite National Park.

Content provided by

Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 8 miles
Duration: Half day

Overview :  Two superb Yosemite lakes await you from the Cathedral Lakes trailhead at the side of Tioga Road, inviting you to swap the throngs of ... more »

Take this guide with you!

Save to mobile
Get this guide & thousands of others on your mobile phone
EveryTrail guides are created by travelers like you.
  1. 1. Download the EveryTrail app from the App Store
  2. 2. Search for the Cathedral Lakes, Yosemite NP guide
  3. 3. Enjoy your self-guided tour
Get the app

Points of Interest

1. Trailhead (8,600 ft)

You’ll find plenty of parking at the trailhead, and be sure to empty your car of anything that smells like food and store it in the bear-proof lockers provided.

2. Stairmaster time!

The trail climbs gently upward at the outset and gains a thousand feet in the first mile, but since most of the rest of the hike is either on the level or downhill you can reassure yourself that this will be the hardest part of your hike. Much of the mileage covered is within sheltered evergreen forest, yet with ample opportunities to marvel in... More

3. [JCT] Decision time!

So, how much walking can you handle today? Tackle both lakes and you're looking at a 8.3 mile trek, but you can shorten your hike by visiting just the Upper Lake (7.2 miles total) or just the Lower Lake (7.0 miles).

4. Approaching Upper Cathedral Lake

There are several small trails which veer off from the main route and transport you to Lower Cathedral Lake. Head for the water's edge, or alternatively try a circuitous route of the lake.

5. Upper Cathedral Lake

This elevated and more enclosed lake sits in a bowl surrounded on all sides by towering granite landmarks including both the Cathedral and Tresidder Peaks.

6. Approaching Lower Cathedral Lake

If you fancy a great photo opportunity, be sure to take a look over your shoulder for great vistas of Cathedral Peak.

7. Lower Cathedral Lake

Rest on the open, sloping granite banks of Lower Cathedral Lake looking westerly over a great watery expanse towards Yosemite Valley and spot the deer grazing by the lake's edge.