The conditions of the trail will vary on the time of the year. During the winter, the surrounding area receives a significant amount of snowfall. As temperatures warm, snowmelt can increase muddy patches throughout the lower elevations of the trail, particularly through meadows. There is a small stream that runs through a portion of the trail and also a small pond. These areas could be quite muddy during snowmelt periods.
In the higher elevations, melting snow or ice could make portions of the trail slippery. During the summer, there is always the threat for thunderstorms with hail and lightening. Be aware of weather conditions and the weather can rapidly deteriorate in this area.
As for the trail conditions themselves, the trail is in great condition and is lightly to moderately trafficked by both people and animals (mostly people). The trailhead begins near the parking lot for Tenaya Lake. The trail then goes through some lengthy meadows and then to about a one thousand foot elevation gain in three-quarters of a mile of distance. In my opinion, this elevation gain is the toughest part of the trail. The elevation gain goes up a granite peak and features many switchbacks.
Once at the top, the trail then goes back down into a valley with a small lake, drainage stream, and meadows. Once through the valley the trail starts ascending up to the top of Clouds Rest. The trail becomes more exposed to the sun as the elevation increases. As the trail nears the granite peak of Clouds Rest, the trees thin out and make way for the ridge line that leads to the top of Clouds Rest.
The ridge line is the next most difficult part of the trail; not because of elevation but because of the thin trail line and steep canyons that are a few thousand feet deep on both sides. One wrong slip on ice or tripping here could be incredibly dangerous.
Once at the peak of Clouds Rest, there are many large flat granite rocks to sit on and enjoy the view. If you have binoculars, check out the climbers making their way up Half Dome. From there, you can turn around and visit Tenaya Lake one last time.
The trail to Clousd Rest via Tenaya lake does intersect with a few other trails. Fortunately, signs are posted along the trail to steer you along the right trail. If you don’t want to deal with worrying about different trails, use a GPS finder; there is no cell phone reception.
Keep an eye out for poison oak
, and other larger wild animals like bears and mountain lions.