Cathedral Peak and Upper Cathedral Lake at Sunset, Yosemite National Park

By May 9, 2021July 9th, 2021Sierra Nevada, Yosemite

Cathedral Peak rising above Upper Cathedral Lake is one of the most beautiful views in all of Yosemite National Park.  From the trailhead to the point on the promontory above Upper Cathedral Lake where I shot this photo is about a 9 mile round trip hike.  I made it most recently in the summer of 2020 — Covid Summer — when Yosemite was limiting visitors through a permit system.  I did a lot of hiking in Yosemite that summer and really enjoyed covering miles of trail with almost nobody else around.  This day I reached Upper Cathedral Lake late in the afternoon, and made my way around the lake and up onto the promontory to relax and boil water for an early dinner.  There were no mosquitoes and no people.  A fast moving squall came through with lightning so I got off the exposed rock until it passed.  Eventually the clouds opened allowing the waning sun to light the entire lake and peak shortly before it set, presenting me with this simple scene, my favorite image of Cathedral Peak.  I left as the sun dipped below the mountain behind me and set off back toward Tuolumne Meadows at a good clip since I knew I would not reach my car until dark.  I didn’t encounter a single person on the 4.5 miles back to my car and experienced that wonderful stillness where all I could hear were my own footsteps and the occasional bird or animal moving among the trees.  My aging eyes did well in the dwindling light and I never had to use my light.  I reached my car well after all color had left the sky, and drove through the park to a warm bed waiting for me back at Bass Lake.  Cheers, and thanks for looking.

Cathedral Peak and Upper Cathedral Lake at Sunset, Yosemite National Park

Cathedral Peak and Upper Cathedral Lake at Sunset, Yosemite National Park.
Image ID: 36419
Location: Yosemite National Park, California, USA