September 24, 2012

Great Hikes: Yosemite’s Upper Cathedral Lake


Yosemite's Cathedral Peak with Upper Cathedral Lake in the foreground
Yosemite’s Cathedral Peak with Upper Cathedral Lake in the foreground

The eight-mile (round-trip) hike  from Tuolumne Meadows to Cathedral Lakes is one of my favorite hikes in Yosemite National Park and a great trail for photographers.

For a not-quite-buffed soft body like me it’s “a bit arduous,” in the  words of a fellow I met huffing his way up the trail. The starting altitude of more than 8,000 feet got my heart pumping five minutes into the trek.  The gain of 1,000 feet in the four-mile span promises a good workout  even for gym rats.

But this hike along a section of the John Muir Trail is one of Yosemite’s best, and worth every blister. The reward at the end of the hike: a pristine alpine setting that I predict will stay with you forever. Cathedral peak, at almost 11,000 feet towers above the meadow, its reflection shimmering on the lake.

In addition to your camera, take a picnic and a book or sketch pad to loll away the afternoon. And don’t forget a sweater; even on hot summer days, it’s cool up here. The altitude and forest cover makes this a great hot-day hike.

Trail map and further details are here.


Photos ©Anne Sigmon, 2012









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Anne Sigmon

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