Hike: Lower Cathedral Lake, Yosemite

It’s official… my son has truly become a hiker!  While in Yosemite over the weekend, we decided to let our kindergartener choose which alpine lake we’d hike to… one that would require a three mile, a five-mile, or a seven-mile round-trip hike.  He excitedly exclaimed, “The seven mile one!”  We gave him a few chances to back out of his decision, but he was firm.  He wanted to go for it.

So the decision was made.  On Sunday, we hiked to Lower Cathedral Lake.  And this wasn’t just an ordinary hike… it was an adventure, with miles of snow to hike over, a thousand foot elevation gain, and fun creek crossings.  The kid was a total trooper.  He had a positive attitude through the whole hike, even though his shoes and socks were soaked for more than half of it.  The highlight for him?  Lots and lots of snowball fights!

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Interested in going?  The hike begins in the Tuolumne Meadows area.  The trailhead is located 1/2 miles west of the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center.  This is one of the most popular hikes in this section of the park, so it’s hard to miss.  There are usually a lot of cars parked near the trailhead, though the crowds here are light compared to what you’ll find in Yosemite Valley.  If you’d like to avoid the parking hassle, take the free shuttle bus and exit at Shuttle Stop #7.  Want to avoid the snow?  I recommend you wait until June to hike here, but, of course, this will vary by year.

For other hikes in the Tuolumne Meadows area, check out the Yosemite website… Day Hikes in Tuolumne Meadows.


  1. Chris says:

    Looks like a great hike!


    1. It’s a beautiful place. 🙂


  2. Alex Jones says:

    It looks like your son had a lot of fun.


  3. mmtread says:

    That looks AWESOME! It far outshines our modest 3-mile hike in the Buda Hills today, in just about every way. Looking forward to being within easy striking distance of the Pyrenees, though. 3 weeks!


    1. It really was an awesome hike! The Pyrenees are going to be fun for you to explore with your family… and all that beautiful Mediterranean coastline! The years I lived in Cologne, Germany, what I missed the most was the mountains.


  4. I think it’s just so exciting that your son is really developing such a love for hiking! He’s so young, and if it’s already seeping into his soul, just imagine where this will take him! It’s a wonderful thing to instill in a child!


    1. It’s a joy to watch his love of the outdoors develop. I see the benefits nature gives him now, and I’m sure it will serve him well as an adult. 🙂


  5. Forrest says:

    That’s pretty awesome, and the scenery looks like it was worth the seven miles! Tuolumne Meadows is gorgeous, I wish I’d had more chance to explore it.

    You might consider some clothes that aren’t cotton, though. Cotton absorbs a lot of water, and stops insulating in any way when it gets wet. And I don’t know the science behind this, but water will run “uphill” through cotton, like paper, so if your ankles get wet, it can travel up to the knees and make you cold. Which is obviously more of a concern high in the mountains than in day to day life…

    What is that mountain in the second to last photo? It looks a lot like our Prusik Peak.


    1. Thanks! Yes, we have all the right technical gear for me and my husband. Guess we need to invest in some non-cotton clothing for our son. 🙂 As soon as we saw all the snow, we suggested heading back and hiking here later in the season, but the kid refused to turn back. The snow was the highlight of the hike for our son. Luckily, the day was warm enough that he didn’t get chilled. I was most worried about his feet. He was wearing a pair of Merrell minimalist running shoes… super comfortable and great ventilation on a hot day, zero protection in the snow. Unfortunately, he’s outgrown his hiking boots. Time for new ones!

      The mountain is Cathedral Peak.


  6. So incredibly beautiful.


  7. paisstat says:

    Awesome shots. I wanted to make it up there for Memorial Day, but with short notice and all the campgrounds being booked, I opted for the Eastern Sierra instead. Maybe next time!


    1. With the Eastern Sierras as your fall-back plan, you’re doing OK. Hope you had a great trip! We’ll be heading to the East side as soon as we can!


      1. paisstat says:

        Yes, the trails up Rock Creek Lake and the Little Lakes Valley very very impressive!


  8. Andrew says:

    Tuolumne meadows is my favorite place to go. We’ll be up there in a couple of months with the grandkids.


    1. It’s one of our favorite places, too. We hope to visit a few more times this year. 🙂 Enjoy your trip with the grandchildren!


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