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Re: Cathedral Lakes to Happy Isles, 4 day/3night

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Cathedral Lakes to Happy Isles, 4 day/3night
January 10, 2019 11:23AM
Hello! I have gotten some great advice from reading this forum already, but I'm looking for some more specific information about my upcoming trip. Thank you in advance for any help you can give!

This will be our first time in Yosemite, and as part of our honeymoon the new hubs and I are starting at Cathedral Lakes trailhead on September 30, 2019. I know it's late in the season and we're prepared with layers and warm sleeping bags!

Night 1 - sleep at Sunrise Lakes
Night 2 - sleep near Cloud's Rest
Night 3 - sleep near Little Yosemite Valley
Day 4 - hike to our car in the valley

Question 1 - we're on the hunt for campsites with great views each night. I don't think we'll struggle with finding good spots near Sunrise Lakes, but can anyone recommend good spots near CR? I know we can't camp on the summit, but we'd like somewhere close by with a view as we'll be doing some nighttime photography and would also love to catch the sunrise at the top of CR the next morning! Same question goes for LYV. Any spots with good views of the surrounding mountains near there, or is it all mostly wooded?

Question 2 - With it being so late in the season, will we have any trouble finding water? Particularly between Sunrise Lakes and LYV.

Thank you so much!
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes to Happy Isles, 4 day/3night
January 23, 2019 07:36AM
What has come of this forum?

Can no one help her?

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Cathedral Lakes to Happy Isles, 4 day/3night
January 23, 2019 08:30PM
Will give it a shot.

1. About 1/4 mile before the CR, there is a huge flat section off the trail that could work well for a campsite as well as provide some protection from winds. This is just after the trail curves to the left to ascend towards CR. About .5 - 0.75 miles before this is a creek crossing. not sure if it will have water around September 30th.
Don't know about LYV and I would recommend camping just before (50-100 yards) the junction of HD and CR trail. There are some good spots to the right of the trail with creek on the left side (50' away) off the trail.
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes to Happy Isles, 4 day/3night
January 24, 2019 12:41PM
I'll chime in too...

I'm aware that there are random spots off the trail as you approach the arête where you could camp off the shoulder of CR, just not familiar with anything specific, go with what nwhkr said.

In LYV you have to camp in the designated area and there are no views from there. You could walk downriver to the area near top of Nevada Fall for some views at sunset, it's a short, flat stroll there and back from LYV camping.

Water: On the way to CR from Sunrise, there is a small lake that will be on your right. This is about a mile after the Sunrise-CR trail junction. Then, about a quarter-mile further, or at this point about 2 before the CR summit, is a creek crossing, and Old Dood has assured me it flows year-round. If in doubt the lake certainly will have water. The lake and creek are marked with red arrows on this map. After these there won't be a water source until Sunrise Creek, which can dry up late in the season. Plenty of water in LYV at the Merced River.

Just FYI., your day 2 is awfully short, only about 4 miles.

Good luck, and congrats!

- Billy Joel
Re: Cathedral Lakes to Happy Isles, 4 day/3night
January 24, 2019 11:32PM
Thanks guys.
My vote would be to do a loop in the upper yosemite with sleeping close to CR, i.e. sunrise to CR and then out via Cathedral lakes or out further east on tioga pass around Vogelsang. If you really want to cover the falls to the valley, north to south (valley) is a great route too. I have only done a loop up north or last winter from valley to CR and back to the valley.

I have been to CR a few times, at least 2-3 times in the evening including a supermoon nite 4 years back, and have seen people planning to hunker down and stay there for the night. For the people who really respect the rules, staying 1/2 mile before and off the trail should be fine and less windy, especially if you plan to pitch a tent.

I believe I was referring to the creek that JRiG mentioned and that's probably 2 miles prior to CR. I have seen it flowing in late August and have read in the forum that it flows year-round. You Mileage May Wary

p.s.: you can than the birdie (chick-on) for all my comments smiling smiley
pps: great video Charlie! and the songs. Thanks for sharing it

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/24/2019 11:35PM by nwhkr.
Re: Cathedral Lakes to Happy Isles, 4 day/3night
January 24, 2019 10:17AM
You are going to love Yosemite! I was back for my 9th backpacking trip last summer (3rd consecutive) and I keep saying I need to branch out but still wind up back there. Your plan looks fine and water should not be an issue but water is different every year. Check with rangers when you pick up permit and adjust how much water you carry accordingly. Your trip involves a car shuttle or bus (which may not be running late September) and I've done it... and it sucks. It's 1.5 hours each way between Tuolumne and the Valley so 3+hrs R/T. Something to consider. If you are open to another option - a couple years ago I did a similar trip starting and ending in the valley. You plan also doesn't have any drop dead view camping options. I've never slept "near CR" but I'm sure you can find something. The closest I camped was Sunrise Lakes.

Day 1: Mirror lake trail to Snow Creek trail to gain the top of Tenaya Canyon. There is a camping spot up there that is AMAZING (but check web since it has also seen bear problems and rangers wanted to keep people away). If open, you camp near a ledge directly across from CR and HD. It is incredible! You can always find sites up there set back form the edge and if that’s where the rangers say to stay then do that and walk over for sunset. A word of cation: The Snow Creek trail up form mirror lake is brutal! I think much tougher than the Y Falls Trail. But just keep looking over at Half Dome and the pain goes away smiling smiley

Day 2 Snow Creek over past Olmstead Point to Tenaya Lake and then Cloud Rest trail to camp at Sunrise lakes – amazing place.

Day 3 Up over CR to the JMT. “Backtrack: on the JMT about 1/5 miles for some nice camping on the left side of the trail (up on a bluff – need to explore to find it, not seen form trail) It’s near Sunrise Creek so water nearby

Day 4: Wake up at 3:30-4am and catch sunrise on top of half dome. Leave camp set up, wake up and go with a light pack. Head back to camp, pack up and head down to the Valley and a well deserved beer on the pizza patio at Curry Village.

The whole loop is 30ish miles
Some photos here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGvbMYnGwTY&t=391s

I can send a CalTopo map if you DM me


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/24/2019 05:30PM by csmart64.
Re: Cathedral Lakes to Happy Isles, 4 day/3night
January 31, 2019 02:51PM
Roughly speaking, expect that all unmapped water sources will be dry, as well as the smaller mapped creeks. But it's hard to tell now, with so much of the snow season still ahead. Spring temperatures will also have a big effect -- an early melt means the groundwater runs out sooner. Check back in July or August.
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