Sunrise Lakes has the unfortunate placing to be near the most spectacular lake in all of Yosemite, Tenaya Lakes. This, unfortunately, pulls crowds away to what many would call the true spectacle of this region, and puts this bunch of bite sized lakes in an awkward predicament. However, even with this placing, Sunrise Lakes do offer their own upsides which make them a good destination, particularly if you want to see all the lakes here in Yosemite. With a gorgeous hilly backdrop, reflective waters, and an interesting cluster shape that really makes these lakes something to see, this hiking trail is definitely one that is worth visiting, even with the inevitable comparisons to its nearby neighbor.
4-6 hours, with a 6.4 – 8.4 mile hike, depending on if you want to see all of the lakes. Keep this in mind when you are trying to decide if you want to do more than one hike the day you visit, because you might not have enough time in the day.
Surprisingly, this lake trail offers a pretty tough difficulty curve which may tire out some hikers. We label it a 6 out of 10, but watch out for the thousand feet gain of elevation on the second leg, much of which is gained through an interminable series of switchbacks that really make this a difficult hike.
Why should you Visit?
Other than their own merits, these lakes are also quite close to Tenaya Lakes, and there is actually an access point you can take to get there. If you want, you can avoid the switchbacks and just hang out by the fabulous west side of Tenaya, or you can continue on and enjoy the domed rock outcrops that surround the gorgeous Sunrise Lakes. It’s up to you, and either way is completely viable.