Join us for a spectacular overnight backpacking trek from Yosemite's Tuolumne Meadows up to the popular and awe inspiring Cathedral Lake where we will camp for the night. We will return to the trailhead the following day. This will be a small group of 5 people plus me as the guide. The total we won in the wilderness permit lottery is for 6 people total. The price is $395 per person including gear and food.


We can provide gear including backpacking packs, tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads. Food and dinnerware is also provided on the tour at no additional charge.


The Cathedral Lakes Trail which is also a part of the John Muir Trail is one of the most popular backpacking treks from Tuolumne Meadows with spectacular views views of Fairview Dome on the hike in and Cathedral Peak and Cathedral Lake from the campsite.


It is no wonder that this is one of the most popular backpacking destinations in Yosemite. We have already obtained these hard to get wilderness permits for this date leaving from the Cathedral Lakes Trailhead and camping by Cathedral Lake.


We will meet at 10AM at the Trailhead on Tioga Road in Tuolumne Meadows. The hike will cover approximately 4 miles to camp but don't assume it will be easy with the altitude. We start at approximately 8,500 feet and climb up to around 9,500 feet which will provide plenty challenge with a backpacking pack weighing 25 to 30 pounds.


The beginning of the hike is heavily forested providing plenty shade but still offering several views of Fairview Dome between the trees. Once we have climbed approximately 1,000 feet we will turn off of the JMT and follow the trail about a half mile to Cathedral Meadow and Cathedral Lake.


The picturesque Cathedral Lake is wrapped in a granite bowl on the north and east sides. Walking around the lake reveals incredible views of Cathedral Peak above the lake to the East. Once at Cathedral Lake we'll make camp and take in the fantastic views. I will cook an incredible dinner for everyone. Did you know guides must have a California food handlers card to cook in Yosemite? I have one. 


The west side of Cathedral Lake reveals the amazing but often missed view of Tenaya Lake far below.


This hike could be challenging for those who are not in good physical shape. This trip is for adults at least 18 years old. The altitude of up to 9,500 feet can cause many to become tired faster than expected. I will set a pace that allows everyone to keep up and take as many breaks as needed.


Everyone will need to carry a backpacking pack with their gear and some gear shared among the group like food and dinnerware. The pack normally weighs 25 to 30 pounds. Please bring a personal water bottle which can be refilled with filtered water.


Eating plenty of high energy foods, staying hydrated before and during the hike and sleeping the night before at a high altitude will all help you stay energized and motivated during this trek.


The group leader will bring a water filter for the group to refill their water bottles at Cathedral Lake. Some limited amount of snacks like Clif bars will be brought for the group to share but please bring your own snacks as well. You will burn a lot of calories and need more food than normal to keep your energy high. Snack and water breaks should allow everyone to stay energized and motivated.


We'll begin our trip at 10 AM at the Cathedral Lakes Trailhead sign on Tioga Road. Which is located just west of the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center in Tuolumne Meadows. Participants must be at least 18 years old and must sign an acknowledgement of risks and photo release form.



  • Wilderness Camping Permits
  • Experienced guide certified as Wilderness First Responder (medical training), Leave No Trace Trainer (environmental training), and California Food Handlers Card (proper food handling).
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Backpacking pack
  • Dinnerware
  • Food
  • Directions to meeting spot.
  • Printed Map of hiking route.


Not Included

  • Transportation to meeting spot not included.
  • Yosemite National Park entrance fees.
  • Clothing, sunhat, personal water bottles (refills provided).


July 28th & 29th (Sat & Sun) Backpacking Yosemite's Cathedral Lake