Summary: Located in Wawona, Chilnualna Falls is one of Yosemite's lesser-known treasures, at least it was to me. With all of the tourists heading to Yosemite Valley, that leaves this area pretty well un-occupied, by Yosemite standards. As with all of Yosemite waterfall hikes, this one has you climbing nearly the whole way, but it's low elevation, tree cover and ocasional flat stretches make this one more enjoyable. Be sure to bring plenty of water or plan to filter it as it can be pretty hot along the trail. As always, don't forget that camera!
For more details and photos visit my website The Backcountry: Chilnualna Falls.
Trailhead: Depending on your location, enter Yosemite National Park via Highway 41, 120 or 140. Be prepared to pay $20 for the entrance fee. Once in the park head to Wawona. From Wawona drive approximately 2 miles on the Chilnualna Falls Road until it ends. The road is located at the north end of the bridge crossing the Merced river. Park in the dirt "lot" to the right or along the road. (Lat:37.56441 Lon:-119.61563)
Trail Guides for Chilnualna Falls, Yosemite NP:
Yosemite National Park
by Jeffrey P. Schaffer (Wilderness Press)
by Tom Stienstra & Ann Marie Brown (Foghorn Press)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Yosemite Wilderness Center (209) 372-0740
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Mike Matenkosky, who has posted 18 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 2 of 2 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Nelson on 10/25/2004
I hiked this trail on 10/23/2004 just days after a major storm that left 8 to 10 inches at nearby Mariposa Grove. This trail however was free of snow until we went above the falls. We spent a rainy night not far beyond the falls and was rewared with amazing views of rain clouds, mist, and fog over the Wawona valley and around Wowona Dome on the decent the next day.
Reviewed by Cameron on 9/24/2004
We hit the trail pretty late in the season (24 Aug 04), so the falls weren't gushing. That was fine by us as we got to witness the beautiful trickle between the small basins carved out of the granite slab normally hidden under the torrent of water earlier in the season. The hike was great, and the late afternoon moon complimented Wawona Dome on the walk down. Photos at offyonder.com.
Reviewed by James O on 3/16/2004
Last Sunday morning was my 9th time up this trail - it's one of my favorite spring warm up hikes. Make sure you take time to stop and inhale the beautiful scent of the mountain misery (a small shrub that blankets beautiful meadow like open areas beneath large pines on the way up). As I live less than 20 minutes from the south gate - it's easy (and a real rush) to hit the trail early. Up and down with 20 minutes at the top is only 3 and 1/2 hours. The aroma of the woods is best around 8-9 a.m. as the sun burns the dew of the ground.
Reviewed by Steve A. on 2/20/2004
Our family of five made this hike in mid-February in mid-50 degree temperatures. Our kids (ages 11 to 16) had no problem with it, despite some of the trail being wet from an overnight shower. The falls and surrounding vistas are beautiful. This is a very nice hike that we'll make again!
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: California Hiking, California Trails, California Hikes, Mariposa County Hiking, Mariposa County Trails, Mariposa County Hikes