Cathedral Rocks, Yosemite National Park

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Cathedral Rocks

Cathedral Rocks and their twin, Cathedral Spires, tower 2,000 feet over Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, providing inspiring views of some of the most fascinating formations within the park.

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  • Cathedral Rocks tower 2,000 feet over Yosemite Valley
  • These pinnacles are on the south rim of Yosemite Valley, opposite El Capitan
  • Hike the Spires Gully Trail to really get a taste of the adventure this attraction offers
  • Try one of the popular rock climbing routes to the top

Overview

Cathedral Rocks Yosemite tower over the south side of Yosemite Valley, a prominent collection of pinnacles, cliffs and buttresses. There are three major summits that are called Higher, Middle and Lower Cathedral Rocks, providing an awesome sight for all visitors.

Location & Information

Yosemite Cathedral Rocks are on the south rim of Yosemite Valley, opposite El Capitan. You can pull out on any of the various turnouts along Southside Drive. The Bridalveil Fall Trail, which takes you to the base of these rocks, is located west of the Highway 41 and Southside junction.

Yosemite Valley is accessible all year, but if you want to hike the Bridalveil Falls Trail to the base of Cathedral Rocks, you’ll have to go from mid-April to mid-December.

Contact information: 209-372-0200

Activities

  • Hiking
    One Cathedral Rocks trail that takes you to the top is the Spires Gully Trail. It doesn’t take any special equipment, but you will have to do some scrambling over rocks. To make this trek, you should allow about a half day. Take another Cathedral Rocks trail Yosemite, the Bridalveil Falls Trail, if you only want to get to the base of this incredible formation.
  • Rock Climbing
    For a true adventure, rock climbing can’t be beat. These cliffs were first climbed as early as the 1930s. You’ll discover some adventurous Class 5 climbs here, thus you must be familiar with the various equipment and knowledge of climbing. Some of the popular routes are Stoner’s Highway, East Buttress and Central Pillar of Frenzy.
  • Camping
    There are three campgrounds within a 2-mile hike from the base of Cathedral Rocks. With plenty of sites, including RV spaces, you can find a spot that will be the perfect home base of all your Yosemite adventures.

Fun Facts

After the Civil War, John Hittell wrote about the beautiful pinnacles of the Cathedral Rocks, and mentioned in his writings that indigenous people called these formations Poosenachucka, meaning “large acorn cache.” When you visit, you can study these rocks and see why they were named this way.