Two superb Yosemite lakes await you from the Cathedral Lakes trailhead at the side of Tioga Road, inviting you to swap the throngs of car-bound visitors for relative peace and tranquility of calm waters, pine forest and granite peaks.
• 1,300ft (from 8,600 - 9,600ft)
• Insects can be plentiful around the lakes, so be sure to pack the bug spray as well as the sunscreen.
• The lakes are popular for wildlife as well as hikers, so keep your eyes peeled for deer, and an occasional timid marmot.
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 the rightly famous Yosemite National Park landscape.
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).