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Cathedral Lake Basin Route

Difficult

Trail

0.8 mile 1.4 kilometer point to point
95% Runnable
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 153' 47 m
Descent: -35' -11 m
High: 10,803' 3,293 m
Low: 10,650' 3,246 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 9% (5°)

Dogs

Unknown
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Trail shared by Lee Watts

A short off-trail route up a sharp ridge that leads to the beautiful Cathedral, Chapel, and Midway Lakes.

Lee Watts

Features Lake · Swimming · Views

Wilderness permits are required and there are daily quotas, but walk-in permits are easier to get for this area than many other regions in the Sierras. Walk-in permits can be obtained from the ranger station in Prather.

Description

Although it is possible to go directly up the cliff, following the stream between Portal and Midways Lakes, this off-trail route is easier and is the one taken by most runners.

From Pearl Lake, climb the ridge to the south and then make a short traverse to reach a point just above Chapel Lake. The slopes are steep, but if you choose your route carefully, it is possible for a non-rock climber to do this fairly safely. It is easier to find the right route when coming from Pearl Lake than when going back, so try to keep track of how you got there.

Once you reach Chapel Lake, you can wander among the three lakes as you please. All three are great camping locations.

The route up Finger Col starts from Cathedral Lake. This is beyond my comfort level, even though it is rated as Class 2.

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We need help with the following missing trail information:

Need to Know, Dogs Allowed, Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes

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Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#13665

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  4.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#1,496

in California

#13,665

Overall
2 Views Last Month
83 Since May 23, 2017
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Photos

Chapel Lake is gorgeous with Finger Col and Finger Peak just over the ridge.
May 23, 2017 near Big Pine, CA
Cathedral Lake and Finger Col glimmer in the evening light.
May 23, 2017 near Big Pine, CA

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