Happy Isles to Clouds Rest
ElevationAscent: 5,782' 1,762 m
Descent: -5,782' -1,762 m
High: 9,729' 2,965 m
Low: 4,047' 1,233 m
GradeAvg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 62% (32°)
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“Run to Clouds Rest from the Yosemite Valley.”— Pushkar S
Clouds Rest is a great run if you are unable to secure a permit for Half Dome or if you are looking for a longer trail with more elevation gain. For the most part, the trail to Clouds Rest follows the Half Dome Trail, and then splits about 1.5 miles before the Half Dome summit.
Along the trail, you'll see up-close amazing views of two waterfalls—Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls—get to run across Little Yosemite Valley, and finally experience the beautiful summit with its expansive views.
The peak can also be reached using the Sunrise Lakes Trail from Tenaya Lake. The description below is for the longer run starting at the Yosemite Valley.
Start the route at Happy Isles, past the river from the bus stop. Run to the first bridge and then continue on JMT: Segment 1 - Happy Isles to Tuolumne Meadows. Shortly, you'll come to a fork and have to pick between the Mist Trail and the John Muir Trail. Both trails merge later at the top of Nevada Falls. If you pick the Mist Trail (open only in summer), you pass very close to Vernal Falls and get a great up close view of Nevada Falls as well. At the top of Nevada Falls, there is a restroom. This is where the two trails meet again.
Continue running as the trail gets flatter and reaches Little Yosemite Valley. At the end of Little Yosemite Valley, turn left as the trail start climbing up the hillside. The next important intersection is the fork between the Half Dome and the Clouds Rest Trail. Take the right fork which follows the John Muir Trail towards Clouds Rest. After a little bit of running, you'll pass a trailhead for Clouds Rest Trail on your left. Follow this, leaving the John Muir Trail, which continues to the right. Follow Clouds Rest Trail all the way to the summit of Clouds Rest.
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Land Manager: NPS - Yosemite