Back to index Sunrise High Sierra Camp to Tuolumne Meadows Hike
Trip Date:  08/24/2015

: 8.5 Miles

Vertical Gain: 750

Group Size: 6
Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard   Strenuous
Sunrise HSC to Tuolumne Meadows
Download GPX GPX for this trip
Sunrise HSC to Tuolumne Meadows Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 37 52.699, W 119 20.315 (parking near Tuolumne Meadows Lodge)     End Coordinates:   Same as Start Coordinates

Car Shuttle Req'd:   No Parking Directions:   Take Highway 395 south from Monitor Pass toward Mono Lake.  At Lee Vining, turn on Highway 120 (Tioga Pass) and enter Yosemite Park on the east side.  About 10 miles into the park turn at the Wilderness Permit area (Tuolumne Meadows Lodge Road) and continue to the parking coordinates for backpacker vehicles.
Hazards of Note:   None. Crowd Factor:   Moderate.  The section from Sunrise HSC to Cathedral Lakes is relatively lightly travelled, but once at the Lake to the end there are many day-hikers enjoying the scenery in this part of the park.
General Notes:
From the Sunrise High Sierra Camp, the trail picks back up on the John Muir trail for the majority of the entire trek.  The first couple miles gradually increase elevation gain, crossing over to the south of pointed Tresidder Peak and then gaining elevation until you reach a viewpoint for the expanse of the Clark Range before crossing over into the Cathedral Lakes valley area.  The viewpoint here is not to be missed, as on a clear day you can see nearly forever.   Continuing on with Tresidder Peak on your left, you will soon see Matthes Crest and then Cathedral Peak come into view.  Between the two is a junction to the left down to Upper Cathedral Lake, a perfect spot for a lunch break along the way.  Rising to your Northeast is the imposing spire of Cathedral peak, on which you can often spot rock climbers on a clear day.  
Past the peak you will follow the trail through mostly forested area as it follows the Cathedral River along the way, and then branches to the right and eventually follows along Budd creek.  Once at the junction for Tuolumne Meadows, you can choose to hike a few miles back toward the backpacker parking area, or you can continue out to Highway 120 and pick up a free Yosemite shuttle bus that will take you to your destination.

Clark Range Panorama
Our camping spot on the rocks overlooking Sunrise Meadow afforded a fantastic series of views of the sun coming up over the mountains. Morning at Sunrise
Looking toward Mt. Vogelsang and Mt. Lyell in the early dawn.
Toward Vogelsang
Sunrise starting to slowly warm up the meadows below us. Sunrise
The morning view toward Mt. Clark, which the locals affectionately called "Mt. Doom" from the Lord of the Rings. Mt. Clark Mt. Doom
sThe aptly named Sunrise Mountain across the meadow from our camp.
Sunrise Mountain 
Heading up the John Muir Trail toward Tresidder Peak in the distance. Heading up the JMT to Tresidder 
A view of Mt. Clark from the trail, with the beginnings of smoke from a forest fire to the south about to envelope the mountain.
Clark Mountain
Our group enjoying our last day of our 6 day backpacking adventure from the Clark Range overlook. Our group 
Taking a quick break as we get set to hike down into the Cathedral Lakes area. Cathedral area
Matthes Crest and Cathedral Peak dominate the trail for the next few miles of the journey. Cathedral Peak
Don and Phil discussing some of the amazing scenery that we are witness to along this entire stretch. Adventurers
Cathedral Peak is impressive from here, but must be even more so from those rock climbers who we spotted at the top. Cathedral Peak
Rock climbers at the top of Cathedral Peak as seen through the telephoto lens from Upper Cathedral Lake. Adventurous
Enjoying lunch at Upper Cathedral Lake, with a view of the peak to the north.  Lunch at the lake 
Almost back to Tuolumne Meadows, there is the choice of walking out the rest or picking up a bus shuttle just a little further up te trail. Almost Done 
GPS Track of the full hike. GPS Track of Hike